Spoken Word Artists unite to impact the Hampton Roads Community
Norfolk, VA – For the second year, the Hampton Roads Youth Poets (HRYP) is hosting a retreat for East Coast spoken word youth artists to visit Norfolk and take their power of poetry to the street for activism and community service. Stage to Street will include the youth organizations: Philly Youth Poetry Movement PYPM, Split This Rock! DC Youth Poets and Dewmore Baltimore for a day of community service, bonding, beach party and poetry. There will be over 40 youth artists participating in this year’s retreat which is the brain child of Emeka Onyirimba, a long time Teens With a Purpose member “This will be a great opportunity for us to relinquish ourselves as competitors and see ourselves as human beings, as friends. We would like to use this opportunity to establish strong networks between organizations and give every poet the opportunity to see the impact their words can have on the community in a non –COMPETITIVE format.”
The retreat, called “Stage to Street,” will take place on June 14th in Norfolk. They will support the CHKD Run Walk For the Kids, a community-wide project designed to encourage exercise and healthy lifestyles in families and children. The young people will serve their gift of spoken word to the audience and encourage families to be healthy. These young poets will then participate in a workshop and spend some fun in the sun at the Community Beach in Oceanview in Norfolk, sponsored by Norfolk Recreation Parks and Open Space. The day will end with a Poetry Open House, which is open to the public, at the Vivian C. Mason Teen Center from 6-9pm. The Poetry Open House will include a poetry slam with a theme of HIV/Social Justice and is sponsored by the AIDS Health Foundation and FulCamp Productions.
The Philly Youth Poetry Movement was featured on Soledad O’Brien’s CNN Black In America documentary series entitled; Who Is Black In America? The PYPM coach “Vision” was one of the ten finalists on CNN’s Hero’s 2013, besides that, PYPM are the 2011 champions for Brave New Voices. The Split This Rock! DC YOUTH SLAM TEAM uses poetry to teach and empower teens from the DC metropolitan area to speak up about issues of social justice. In 2013, the DC Youth Slam Team poetic expressions where heard on the Grand Final stage as one of the top five teams. The Baltimore City Youth Poetry Team (BCYPT) is a youth program under the umbrella of Dew More Baltimore that engages youth between the ages of 13-21 who live in and around Baltimore City who are passionate about writing, performing and advocating for change in their community. BCYPT is led by published authors and award winning professional writers.
The Hampton Roads Youth Poets recently caught the attention of Cox Communications; Cox Communications has documented the 2013 and 2014 HRYP Slam Festivals. They produced a documentary which airs throughout the summer on Cox 11 entitled Hear This! A film about passion, competition, teamwork, and trust. It’s about the joy of being young and the pain of growing up. It’s about speaking out, making noise and finding your voice.
This Arts education and enrichment division of Teens With a Purpose -HRYP, travels throughout the USA to represent the voice of the Hampton Roads youth and all unheard youth. They have travelled and competed in Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Chicago and San Francisco. HRYP is part of an international network of youth spoken word organizations that meet annually at Brave New Voices, an international youth poetry festival that brings together over 500 youths from around the country and around the globe. Young people at Brave New Voices attend workshops, complete community service projects and engage in inspirational spoken word events at major theaters throughout the host city. Each year, nation-wide smaller events such as the Teens With a Purpose Slam Festival are held by affiliated organizations to prepare the youth in their region for the unique experience of sharing an international stage with other spoken word activists. Poets come from all parts of the country and the globe like Guam, Los Angeles, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, South Africa and many other places.
To learn more about the Hampton Roads Youth Poets attend a Teen Gathering on Monday evenings, 6-8pm at the Vivian C. Mason Teen Center. Call 757-747-2679 for additional information or visit www.TWPTheMovement.org