What’s Coming Up in December?

The year of 2017 is drawing to a close, which means that another year of YP Insight is coming to a close as well.  After celebrating our first birthday in January with Poetic Insight, crowdfunding during April and May, putting on TCFT Croydon in August and changing the name of our forums to The Kickback in October, we are coming to our final event of the year.

On December 19th, The Kickback will join with Poetic Insight for the first time for ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’.

This the time of the year when we look back at everything that has taken place and give insight into what we liked, what worked well and what we think could have gone better.  We’ll also be looking into how we will be moving forward next, deciding on topics for The Kickback and Poetic Insight, as well what improvements need to be made.

Poetry and spoken word will also be added into the mix to break up the conversation and get you inspired throughout the night.  Performance slots are filling up fast, so if you would like to share some poetry or spoken word on the day, please email shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or send a message to 07910092565.

We’ll be at Project B from 6.30-9pm this time, enjoying good conversation, amazing poetry and tasty snacks.  Make sure you’ve got the correct time in your notes or diaries, because you won’t want to miss any of it.  Let us know you’re coming by registering here: http://bit.ly/lookingback-movingforward

Also, if you haven’t managed to see the amazing poem written by Alana, Ashan and Jennelle yet for ‘Croydon’s Festive Fantasia’, don’t miss the chance to see the giant animation on North End or the Croydon High Street before it stops showing on December 23rd.

We’re also making plans for our second birthday celebrations next year, so if you would like to be involved somehow, please please email shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or get in touch through social media.  YP Insight is all about collaborating and coming together to make change.  I look forward to seeing you soon.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

Relationships Formed at Poetic Insight

Relationships was the theme for Poetic Insight on November 28th, aptly following on from the topic of Online Dating at The Kickback a week before.  However, I wanted to emphasise that relationships are more than just romance, which let to a great mixture of poems on different types of relationships.

As you probably know by now, we love welcoming new performers to the Poetic Insight stage and this month was no different, with three individuals coming to the stage for the first time.  Diego was the first person to take to the stage, sharing a really sweet poem based on that elusive phrase, “I miss you.”  On the other hand, Kris closed out the show with a fire piece of spoken word about his relationship with London.

Newcomer, Chantelle, used poetical language to give us a very honest insight into a relationship she had with another poet.  Considering it was her first time at Poetic Insight, it was amazing at how open and honest she was with us.  Mahmoud was also incredibly open with us,  as we welcomed him back for the second time,  sharing a poem about a romantic relationship he had engaged in relatively recently.

Completing the line up for the night were what I would now call Poetic Insight veterans.  Rhianna graced the stage twice, first letting us know that she would always be there and then she got into a situation that a lot of us girls have experienced with guys who are not interested in relationships, but just casual hook ups.

Alana took to the stage twice as well, with two pieces of spoken word that focused on relationships that are often bypassed.  Her initial poem focused on developing the relationship she has with herself and the second one touched on our relationships with each other, as she urged us to integrate and show love to one another.

Annotate only came on stage once, but he shared two moving poems about family relationships.  The first was a beautiful poem about an estranged sister he misses, which he followed up with ‘Gratitude’, a really special poem about his younger brother who has autism and Down’s Syndrome.

We also had Kat from the production company, Electric Ray, present on the night.  Kat took the Poetic Insight stage towards the beginning to tell us about a project she is working on, which is all about estranged family relationships and possibly rebuilding those connections.  If you are interested in learning more, please email kat.airy@electricray.com

It was a really enjoyable night filled with talent and amazing people in the room, which I am continuing to forge and develop relationships with, and I can’t wait to carry these relationships forward.

Poetic Insight will combine with The Kickback on December 19th for our final event of 2017.  We’ll be ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’ as I continue to develop Young People Insight going into its second year.  However, there is no theme for the poetry, so you can speak out on whatever you want, but you need to get in touch with me ASAP if you would like to perform, because performance slots are limited.  Email me at shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or send a message to 07910092565 to let me know.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

What are your thoughts on online dating?

Online Dating was the topic of conversation at The Kickback on November 21st, chosen by regular participant Stephen, who also took the lead this month.  His experience with online dating and desire to talk about it made him the ideal individual to start off and navigate the conversation, making the night a lot of fun.

Stephen got the conversation warmed up by telling us a little bit about why he started online dating.  If you didn’t know, Stephen is American, and he said that coming from a different country to the UK “with no social circle, I found it hard meeting people.”

After explaining to us why he began using online dating, he asked if we had ever used something that is specifically designed for us to find a partner.  Most said yes, with some having used most of the online dating websites and apps out there, while a couple of us said no.

There seemed to have been a mixture of experiences when using the apps or websites, with some saying that it wasn’t the best experience and others saying that it had been okay.  Thuy believes that there’s some bad ones, but “generally it’s positive.  You get to meet cool people you never would have met.”

Stephen shared one of his negative online dating experiences with us, which was a story he can laugh about now, but at the time wasn’t funny – “With online dating, it can be a bad experience or a good experience,” he said.

We later spoken about whether we see online dating effecting how we meet people in 10 years time.  It seemed that a lot of us were unsure and thought that social media would probably have a greater effect on dating.  Chris thought that Tinder might become quite corny for the younger generation and Stephen thinks that “even now, it’s starting to become a joke.”  Thuy also added, “I don’t like this whole thing of messaging for ages and not arranging to meet up.  Like, I don’t want a pen pal.”

For those of us who don’t use online dating, Stephen asked why that was.  I said that it’s not really my thing and I prefer to do things in a relatively old-fashioned way.  Alana said that she’s a 1950s vibe kind of girl and she would like for man to ask her out on a date.  She also finds online dating quite threatening, because of catfishes and some people who only want one-night stands.

We then went on to have an interesting discussion on how we felt about girls approaching guys, attraction and guys with topless photos on their dating profiles.  It seems that our interest in guys with topless photos would depend on how we were feeling at the time and what their bio may be saying, but we all agreed that we don’t feel when guys are taking themselves too seriously in their topless photos.

Speaking about looks led on to whether believe in preferences.  Gus gave a strong, assured yes when answering, while Rhianna also agreed.  However, Rhianna later added, “I don’t feel like anyone has a set preference.  They know what they don’t like.”  Gus responded to that point with, “If they know what they don’t like, they must know what they do like… Certain boxes may be ticked.”

Stephen made the point, “What we’re all dating for, I’m hoping, is a long-term relationship.”  For Chris, he said that he’s always upfront with what he wants from the outset, as “there’s so much more to relationships that so many people don’t talk about.”

The final question Stephen asked us was, do you think online dating has made people force things?  Is there added pressure?  Gus would say social media as a whole is adding pressure – “It’s all intertwined.  It’s a double-edged sword.”  Thuy thinks that you’ve got to put a lot of effort into it and that getting the balance right on the profile is tricky.

Chris made a thought-provoking point about everything “converging into that Instagram world.”  He believes that there will eventually be a service to create the perfect profile and photo for online dating.  “It’s anxiety inducting as well, like all social media,” he also added.

We also got onto a very interesting discussion about online dating bios, questioning whether it is important to have a bio or not, and perceptions others may have on you based on that.  Does no bio mean you’re not trying or do you simply want people to ask you questions organically, rather than focusing on what is already in your bio?  Also, is all that in a person’s bio necessarily true – “Everything is a half-truth,” said Alana.

As we spoke more about personality, characteristics and physicality, we came back to simply being humans.  Alana said, “Every human is on their own path and makes their own mistakes.  Some paths are longer than others.”

This was later followed by a statement from Chris, which was a great way of summing up all that we had been talking about on the night:  “You’ve got to be empathetic to the other gender.”

The Kickback will join forces with Poetic Insight on December 19th for our final event of the year, when we’ll be ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’.  This is a chance for you to make known what you’ve enjoyed about YP Insight this year and what improvements you’d like to see made for next year.  Make sure you save the date, because you will not want to miss it.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

What’s Coming Up in November?

We’re officially into the penultimate month of the year and beginning to head into the festive season, which should be a lot of fun.  November is already proving to be a more relaxed month than October, but we still have some great things coming up for you this month.

This month, I was asked to be part of ‘Croydon’s Festive Fantasia’ and contribute a poem celebrating Croydon that would be projected onto a number of buildings in the town centre.  Three amazing poets who have performed at Poetic Insight – Ashan, Alana (aka Authentic Alanie) and Jennelle – created three gorgeous poems that I combined into one and had the privilege of recording.

The projected poem will premier on Saturday 18th November at 5pm in North End, along with the five other giant animations, but you will then be able to see them between 4.30pm and 9.30pm until Saturday, 23rd December.  So if you can, come along to the launch on Saturday and look out for the special poem by these talented ladies.

On November 21st, The Kickback returns for another dynamic, mind-opening conversation.  We’ll be talking Online Dating, as suggested by the wonderful Stephen who spoke to our hearts at the end of last week’s Poetic Insight.  Stephen will also be taking the lead this month, which will be an exciting change.

If you haven’t yet, save the date now, come down to Project B from 6.30-8.30pm and have your say on Online Dating.  You can register for the event here: http://bit.ly/letstalkaboutonlinedating

A week later we’ll be at Poetic Insight and the theme for November is Relationships, which is open for personal interpretation – relationships don’t have to mean romance.  If you’re a young poet or spoken word artist, come ready to make your voice on relationships.  If you want to perform, send a message to 07910092565 or get in touch with us on social media.

Again, save the date and join us in Project B from 7-9pm.  I think it will be another beautiful night.  Register for your free tickets here: http://bit.ly/poeticinsight-relationships

And just in case you didn’t know, I was named the winner of Young Achiever of the Year award at the 2017 Mayor of Croydon Civic Awards last month, which was a special and emotional moment for me.  I genuinely did not expect to win, but I could not have won without all of you who have been involved with Young People Insight.  I appreciate you and look forward to seeing you soon.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

On Our Black-Ish at Poetic Insight

On October 31st, we saw out Black History Month at another special Poetic Insight.  Our theme for the night was Black-Ish, which led to a variety of beautiful, powerful and inspiring poetry delivered by young talent.

First we heard from Nyasha, who returned to the Poetic Insight stage after some time away and celebrated the beauty of natural hair, which I’m sure many females in the audience could relate to.

Poetic Insight regular, Authentic Alanie, shared a poem inspired by two of her favourite things, Autumn and Africa, which resulted in some gorgeous imagery.  Mahmoud took to our stage for the first time, passionately expressing his African heritage and the life he’s living, and also inspired us with a poem he wrote just 15 minutes earlier.

Gus made us all think with a variety of poems, which got deep into the beauty of blackness, and Natalie graced our stage for the first time to remind us that it’s time to unite through a thoughtful spoken word piece.

Sid returned to perform a Poetic Insight favourite, ‘Prayer for the Oppressed’, reminding us of the importance to have consideration, respect and care for all.  Aaron was also back after some time away, sharing a powerful spoken word piece about unhealthy information, while also letting us know that skin colours shouldn’t be divided.

The final performance of the night was from Annotate, who brought the house down with a spoken word piece about the divides and horror of humanity.  It was fire.

However, what made the night even more special was a point of poignancy from Stephen, who urged us to reach out and speak to the teenagers around us in a bid to ease some of the tensions in society.  He emphasised the point with a personal anecdote of his own, which moved all of us and caused us to think about what we could do to make a little difference in our community.

Moments like this are what Young People Insight is all about as we work towards being the change we want to see.

Poetic Insight returns on November 28th when the theme will be Relationships, which is open to interpretation – relationships aren’t always about romance after all.  Save the date and if you’re a young poet or spoken word artist wanting to perform, email me at shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or send a message to 07910092565.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

What does culture mean to you?

Culture.  A word that has the ability to instantly spark discussions and create waves.  This is how I knew that The Kickback on October 24th was set to be a brilliant one and it did not disappoint – this was definitely one of our best conversations yet.

The conversation was led by Paul Macey, a man of mixed race who grew up in Burnley and was adopted by a white family.   He started off the night by sharing his own cultural experience growing up – “I started off by being identified as half-caste and coloured.  Then it was mixed race.  Then it was dual identity.”  Paul emphasised that culture is something that we can too easily get fixed on and that it should be quite fluid – “Black is not one thing, it is many things.  Asian is not one thing.”

Paul then opened up the conversation for everyone else to get involved, asking what we feel the difference is between generations.  Jenniah was the first to speak, telling us that he thinks you’ll see an imposition of what black culture really is through the media.  Tegan spoke next, saying “I think it would be important for us to define what culture is… You [Paul] said something really interesting about culture being fluid.”

For Alana, talking about culture is not about race.  “I see people based on the character of their soul… Culture is more spiritual,” she explained to us.  When it came to Gus he said, “One thing I’d say about culture is it’s very hard to define,” as he thinks that things are always being tampered with and taken to different places.  However, Susan thinks that culture is finding your own true self.

Picking up on a point Gus made about cultural appropriation, Tegan expressed that “there’s a difference between appreciation and appropriation.”  She referred to cultural appropriation as a nuance and gave the example of Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus using black women as props in their music videos.

Paul later gave us food for thought, saying, “It’s interesting how much culture can flourish in the face of discrimination” and “Sometimes culture is silenced.”

As we spoke more about the perception of culture or blackness, Andrae raised the question, “What does black sound like?”  He also provided an answer to his own question, saying, “I think we have to adopt to society” and that it seems like slang is more associated with black people.

The conversation later shifted to what it’s like being black British.  Susan thinks that it can be really difficult for black-British people and African-Americans to find out who you are, as you can go to school and be at home, and have to be different people.  I shared that although I may see myself as British, I do not see myself as European and refer to myself as West Indian.  However, Tegan does not even see herself as British, but rather as a Londoner.

As we spoke more about identity, Boy Nash strongly expressed, “We live in a society and in a system that does not work.”  He told us that it’s up to you to find your strength, define your standards and define your truth, as “we all have our own truth.”

Boy Nash also believes “culture has divided us to some extent” and he thinks that “maybe we should help push each other’s culture and respect each other’s culture.”  Alana thinks that most of the problems we see would be solved if there was less segregation and more love.  Jenniah also made a very interesting point in regards to love: “Being kind and loving is a  powerful tool.  Weakness comes when we don’t combine love and knowledge with the game.”

Paul later asked us how we felt about Black History Month and if we think it helps the conversation.  Tegan thinks that Black History Month could be important for non-black people, while Jenniah thinks it gives time for reflection and that we need to shape the discussion.  Tamar said, “I don’t feel like it added any value to who my identity is… [but] we have to start teaching our children and our youth about their history from a very early age.”

Gus feels Black History Month is a double-edged sword, and Hakeem does not think that it has helped the cause – “I feel like we’re settling.”  Susan believes that it depends on how you perceive Black History Month, seeing it as “us organising events together”

However, Jenniah said, “The dangerous thing is that it dissociates us from general history.  We start to see ourselves as bubble-wrapped and disenfranchised from knowledge.”  Boy Nash also counteracted this point by saying, “We have to play the game here.  The system is cooked.  We have to use that one month wisely.”

To finish up the conversation, Paul asked us to share a positive word on culture that could empower and inspire others.  I’m going to end on some of those gems, which I hope will inspire all of you:

  • “Pressure makes diamonds.” – Gus
  • Be proud of who you are everyday.  Don’t just wait until October.  Everyone’s unique.  Just find the uniqueness within yourself. – Mac
  • “I’m not here to fit into your world.  I’m here to build mine.” – Alana
  • “You’re powerful.” – Jenniah
  • “Knowledge isn’t power.  Applied knowledge is power.” – Boy Nash
  • Know thyself and love thyself.  It’s only through self-love that we’ll heal our people. – Tamar

The Kickback will return on November 21st when we’ll be talking Online Dating, which I’m sure will be an incredibly different but also interesting conversation.  I’m looking forward to it already.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, liking Young People Insight on Facebook and subscribing to the Young People Insight YouTube channel.

And the new name is…

As you probably know, one of the key changes I have wanted to make to Young People Insight is the name of the YP Insight Forums.

I think that the term forum can come across as quite formal to some young people, which is not the impression I want you to have – these are relaxed, informal conversations giving you the chance to speak your mind.  I also get a little confused when I see the term forum myself, as it can mean a number of different things or take various forms, so it is definitely time for a change.

After asking for your name suggestions, I shortlisted four of my favourites, which I also believed would have an impact when marketing these events.  The four I chose were:

  • Woke Nights
  • The Kickback
  • The Chat Room
  • Free Your Mind

Once I’d made my choices, it was of the utmost importance that the final decision be made by you, so I started a Twitter poll that would give you the chance to vote for your favourites over the course of a week.

It was interesting to watch the changing trends, with Woke Nights starting out in front before Free Your Mind crept up to take the lead, which then had to fight it out with The Kickback.  Weirdly enough tough, Woke Nights finished with the lowest votes, even behind The Chat Room, which never led once.

However, I am happy to announce The Kickback as the winner, which will be the newest addition to our repertoire of names that of course includes Poetic Insight, Come Out to Play and Get Together.

Thank you to everyone who suggested names and also to everyone who voted – it would also be great to know whoever it was who suggested The Kickback in the first place, so send us a DM or email shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk

Now all there is to say is see you at The Kickback on October 24th when we’ll be talking all about Culture.  I for one can’t wait.