Celebrating 3 Years of Young People Insight

It was time to celebrate 3 years of Young People Insight on January 15th, looking back on how the platform had come into being and all the memories shared.  It was a special night in a room filled with warmth and love.

Although The Kickback and Poetic Insight were not combining for the first time, I tried out a new format for the first time, which I will be using again in future.  Rather than doing half and half, I interspersed the poetry between the conversation, which I think kept everyone’s brains engaged.

As we were a larger number than usual, I decided to do something that I had gotten from Charles Handy at an away weekend last year, which he called ‘The Empty Chair’.  There is an empty chair on either side of you and when someone feels inclined to speak, they sit in one of the chairs to share a thought, and if someone wants to respond or share their own thought, they wait in the other empty chair.

I sat in the middle chair, speaking about all things YPI, but coaxing others to sit in the chairs was tough.  Sid was brave enough to take to the empty chair first, responding to me talking about The Kickback.

“I came to my first Kickback and we were talking about something along the lines of change and why people don’t see change as a good thing… We, as a collective group, had many different opinions,” Sid told us.  He emphasised the importance of people going that extra step to ask questions, as “it would put them at ease rather than them making assumptions in their own head… Getting into conversations is a very healthy thing.”

Si-Ann also spoke about The Kickback, letting us know, “Coming to The Kickback about Peace was really kind of therapeutic.  At the end, I kind of felt at peace… These sessions are a kind of therapy.”

Adam (also known as AadamSpeaks) later came forward to speak about Poetic Insight, which he attended for the first time early last year – “It was about my fourth or fifth performance.”  Adam let us know that he always says to his friends, “We have to go to YPI,” as “these kind of environments are the places where you can grow.”

Liam (better known as Annotate) also spoke about Poetic Insight – “My first time coming to Poetic Insight was two years ago.  I was a very nervous poet and read off my phone.” He told us that he remembered being so moved by Sid’s performance that he decided to step up his game and start memorizing his poems, as “I felt to get to that next level, I needed to drop the phone.”  However, it was his last phrase that touched my heart: “It’s a pleasure to be part of this, as you call it, family.”

Elisha brought up speaking at Poetic Insight during Thornton Heath Arts Week and learning that “I had so many things to share.”  And Demi told us that she performed poetry she had been writing for 10 years for the first time at Poetic Insight two years ago –  “I saw Annotate perform and I was bewildered… but it gave me a lot more confidence.”

I later asked everyone what they think makes YPI special, which led to many beautiful, heartwarming words being shared that are almost making me tear up now.  Darren expressing he felt like a proud dad, as he’s watched me grow since meeting him in Bosnia in 2015.  Si-Ann saying she felt like a proud sister and referencing my journey from childhood.  Jason saying, “You wanted to be the person you didn’t have when you were younger, and create the platform you didn’t have when you were younger.”

Then there was Stephen, who was closest to bringing me to tears – I was genuinely taken aback by what he said.  He expressed that from the beginning, I wanted to know about who he was as a person, rather than him as an American.  However, he got me when he said: “I started my own label, I have my own producers, and that’s because of what I saw her [Shaniqua] doing… Young People Insight is the reason why I’m doing this.”

We also had a first time attendee in the empty chair.  Klavel introduced himself by saying, “I’m a creative plug.  I’m an artrepreneur, not an entrepreneur.”  He then spoke about how he had heard about the event and was drawn to stay by one of the poet’s performances – “It’s so insightful that people need to come and see it… I saw one person’s art and it touched me.”

Those words are the perfect way to lead into talking about the poets and spoken word artists, who were amazing as always.  I am blessed to be surrounded by so much awesome talent, who are only going to continue to grow and get better with time and experience.

We were fortunate enough to have not only Poetic Insight and YPI, veterans Sid, Kris, Annotate and Stephen drop their fire poetry on us.  Then from the veterans, we transitioned to newer Poetic Insight faces, Jessica, Elisha, Antonia, AadamSpeaks and Zhanai,  taking to the stage.

Ashan returned to share her poetry for the first time since our 1st birthday celebrations.  And it wouldn’t be Poetic Insight without someone taking to our stage for the first time, coming from Sense’s powerful poetry.

There were a number of other beautiful faces in Project B, who are a much valued part of the YP Insight family as well.  I want to thank them and everyone who was a part of the night for making it so special, especially as it will be the last birthday celebration for a little while – I think we’re just gonna celebrate major milestones from now on.

See you at our events throughout the year.


What’s Coming Up in January?

Happy New Year beautiful people!  I hope you had a lovely break and lots of fun over the holiday season.  Are you ready for another year of Young People Insight events?

I intend for this year to be bigger and better than ever for YPI, with new things happening and positive changes being made.  I also plan to take steps forward that will allow YPI to transition in 2019, as I begin to hand more of my responsibility over and work more from the background.  We’ll talk more about that in the months to come, but for now, I want to let you know what’s coming up in January.

This month marks three years of YPI running as the physical platform that puts on events for young people and young adults.  I genuinely cannot believe that I have been able to keep it going for this long, but I am beyond happy that I have and I am excited to celebrate this milestone.

On January 15th, The Kickback and Poetic Insight will come together again to ‘Celebrate 3 Years of YP Insight’.  I cannot wait to see what this event will bring, as we look back on three years of special moments and rich events – I really hope that people will be forthcoming in sharing their favourite moments.

As this is a special, celebratory event, I have invited  a select number of poets and spoken word artists who have graced the Poetic Insight stage over the years to share their first or favourite poem read or performed at Poetic Insight.  I’ve chosen them all for a particular reason, which I will reveal on the night.

We’ll be back where it all started, in Project B, from 6.30-9.30pm, so get the date in your diary and come ready to share.  You can sign up for free here: bit.ly/celebrating-3-years-of-ypi

As well as The Kickback x Poetic Insight, we’ll be having a party to celebrate this YPI milestone and all that has been achieved over the years.  This event is invite only, but be sure to look out for the pictures on social media later in the month.

I hope to see as many of your beautiful faces as possible this month, as I would love to have the opportunity to celebrate with you and give you a big new year hug.  I cannot wait to see what else this year has in store for YPI.  Bring on 2019.

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.

Celebrating Two Years at Poetic Insight

One thing that remains constant about Young People Insight is that I never know what to expect – apart from being sure of dynamic conversation at The Kickback and being inspired at Poetic Insight.

Any thoughts or notions I had about Poetic Insight on January 30th completely went out the window once the event finally came around, which was a little hard for me to take at first, but it was a reminder to never have expectations because it means you can never be disappointed.

Celebrating two years of YP Insight made it a special night, especially with the presence of cake and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ at the end with some amazing people, but it was tough having over half of the artists on the set list drop out.  Attendance numbers were also vastly lower than the first birthday celebrations, but as I have to keep reminding myself, I cannot focus on the numbers and I need to remember why I started this platform in the first place.

YP Insight is about young people having an outlet to make themselves heard and be listened to by others in return.  It is giving young poets an opportunity to develop their confidence on a stage and share their work for the first time.  It is about creating a caring community of individuals that supports, motivates and respects each other.  It is about changing the life of even just one person; numbers should not be a priority.

As I said earlier, it was a special night and the poetry was stellar as usual.  There is so much young talent around, it’s unfair that they are consistently overlooked.

DanielWrites returned to the Poetic Insight stage for the first time since performing at the celebrations for our first birthday last January.  He went back to the “classics” and shared two beautiful poems.

Taking to the Poetic Insight stage for the first time was Mia, who shared her compelling spoken word poem, Questions, inspired by regular questioning.  Mia was also the first poet on our stage asked to repeat her poem in its entirety – Questions definitely went down well.

Stephen also came onstage for the first time and shared work that he wanted to get feedback on.  His deep words provided us with a greater insight into who he is, which was very special.

Laurence was the final individual to jump onstage, wowing us with David Clapton, a powerful political piece that forces you to consider the broken benefits system.

I also performed, getting political with some spoken word poems of my own, focusing on various American sports leagues and the issues prevalent in them.

A huge thank you has to go out to Daniel, Mia, Stephen and Laurence for sharing their work on the night, and a huge thank you also has to go out to everyone who came on the night.  I appreciate all of you.

Poetic Insight returns February 27th and the theme will be ‘Love & Hate’, as it’s Valentine’s month and all.  If you would like to perform, email youngpeopleinsight@gmail.com.  Looking forward to seeing you again 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.

January 2018 Means Two Years of Young People Insight

Happy New Year beautiful people!  I hope the start of 2018 has been good for you and that great things will be in store for you this year.  Unfortunately, I’ve started of this year with the flu, combined with feelings of stress and self-doubt, but I’m fighting to believe in myself and put plans in place to make this the best year for Young People Insight yet.

January 2018 means that we have come to two years of YP Insight, which honestly blows my mind.  I cannot believe that YP Insight has been going for two years as a physical platform after the foundations of the blog were set.  We’ve been able to enjoy a whole host of thought-provoking conversations, plenty of powerful poetry and some fun-filled socialising.  I just know that 2018 is going to bring a whole lot more of that.

We’ll be starting off the year with The Kickback on January 16th, when we’ll be celebrating two years of YP Insight.  As this is a special occasion, this will be no ordinary edition of The Kickback.

Not only will the event be longer, running from 6.30-9pm, but we’ll be welcoming a number of special guests who have played a part in my journey of setting up YP Insight and helping it to become what it is now.  They’ll also be telling you a little bit about the work they do, making this an event that you do not want to miss.  You can register for the event here: http://bit.ly/kickback-celebrating2years

The celebrations don’t stop there though.  We’ll be celebrating our second birthday at Poetic Insight as well, which I am especially excited about after the amazing celebration of our first birthday at Poetic Insight in 2017.

This won’t be an ordinary edition of Poetic Insight either, as rappers and singers are invited to take to the stage, as well as poets and spoken word artists.  If you would like to perform, please email youngpeopleinsight@gmail.com or send a message to 07910092565.  But if you would just like to watch or are still thinking about performing, you can get for your free tickets here: http://bit.ly/poeticinsight-celebrating2years

I’m really happy that YP Insight has reached two years and I would love for you all to come and celebrate, so you can share the happiness with me.  I hope to see you at The Kickback, Poetic Insight or both.  Have a great 2018.

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.

Poetic Insight: Moving Forward & Celebration

A month before the first youth forum in January 2016, I launched a short film that kick-started the youth platform that Young People Insight has evolved into.

It made perfect sense that the first birthday of Young People Insight would be celebrated with a night of poetry and spoken word, at the first Poetic Insight of 2017.  On January 17th the theme, Celebration & Moving Forward, resulted in a number of inspiring and thought-provoking pieces from some amazing young talent.

Not only was the theme a perfect fit for the occasion, but it was a perfect fit for quite a few of the performers, who were moving forward with their craft by performing their poetry in public for the first time.

dsc_0827Giving young people the opportunity to speak their mind through poetry and spoken word was the reason why I started Poetic Insight in the first place, so I was happy to learn that this platform had given them the chance to do that.  In spite of the nerves they may have had, their delivery was clear, their words strong and impactful.

One particular individual was Ashan, a last-minute addition to the schedule, who asked me to perform on the night.  She revealed that she was sharing her poetry with an audience for the first time and then went on to blow us all away, with poems on the subjects of mental health and Black Lives Matter.

First time performer Jack was first up on the mic, challenging our perception of success, while dsc_0834Tekisha Henry brought the house down to end the night, as she reminded us that we’re ‘A
Promising Generation’.  DanielWrites brought variety by reciting his spoken word accompanied by Joe on the keyboard and Authentic Alanie got into character to perform her spoken word.

Sh’kira, a member of the audience said: “It was so interesting to hear the different themes that people chose to speak on.  Also the different styles of spoken word was really great to hear.  It was also nice to hear people share their personal issues, like their mental health, and I think it was good that people felt that they were in a space to confidently share their issues, even with people they didn’t know.”

Every individual bought something different with their performance, making it a special night dsc_0820bursting with variety, so I want to take this time to thank Jack, Jennelle, Keshon, Alana, Daniel, Nyasha, Jamal, Lopez, Ashan, Aaron and Tekisha.  This night could not have happened and would not have been the same without you.

I want to end with a few words from one of the performers from the night, which perfectly articulate everything I want Poetic Insight to be.  Jamal says: “It’s so good to see that there’s a place young people can go to get something off their chest.  If there’s nothing like this then we would keep our emotions in and express it in negative ways.  Poetry is therapy.”

The next Poetic Insight will be on February 28th and the theme will be Love & Hate, so get writing now and if you want to perform, email me at shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk


Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following@youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, and liking Young People Insight on Facebook.


Happy Birthday Young People Insight

My baby;

Born out of a time of confusion,

Searching for fulfillment,

Something better,

More special than I imagined

Came along.

Not what I planned,

Or expected,

It hit me by surprise;

But I knew I had to nurture it,

Feed it,

Give attention to it;

Although I didn’t ask for it,

Hadn’t planned for it,

I knew I wanted it,

Grew to love it;

In spite of the uncertainty,


How would I do this?

Help and advice would be a necessity

For every step of this journey;

I knew I could do it.

So I took the first step,

Second step forward,

Bringing my baby to life;

Watching it develop,

Month after month,

More insight coming to mind.

Now my baby

Has turned a year old,

I can’t believe the first birthday is here;

Directions have changed,

Thought processes become clear

And new people in my life I’ve drawn near.

I’m excited to see

What this next year will bring

As my baby grows to new heights;

More young people to reach,

More voices to be heard,

But now I simply say,

Happy Birthday Young People Insight.


Celebrating Our 1st Birthday at Poetic Insight


This month will be a year since I started holding youth forums as part of Young People Insight, transitioning from simply being a blog and officially kicking off the youth platform.  Celebrating our first birthday will coincide with Poetic Insight, our first event of the year and the first of our monthly poetry nights.

Poetic Insight will give young poets an opportunity to showcase their talent, while speaking their mind and making their voices heard.  This is another avenue for your young people to have their say, rather than simply coming to the forums, as not everyone articulates their thoughts and views in the same way.

The theme for this month’s Poetic Insight will be ‘Celebration and Moving Forward’, and it will be taking place on January 17th in Matthews Yard.  Doors open at 7pm, with performances starting at 7.15pm and the event concluding at about 9pm.

There are still opportunities for young poets to perform on the night, so if you want to share your poetry or perform spoken word, email me on shaniquab29@yahoo.co.uk or call 07910092565.

This is a free event that you won’t want to miss, so get ready for a night of inspiring poetry.  Let us know you’re coming by getting your tickets for Poetic Insight here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/poetic-insight-celebration-moving-forward-tickets-30953595036?utm_term=eventname_text