Press Release: 9 May 2007
First Round of the Rise Londonwide Youth Slam Championship 2007 is a Triumph - You can’t keep it quiet!

What a start for the 2007 Rise Londonwide Youth Slam Championships! The first three heats, held at the Arts Theatre, Soho Theatre and Stratford Circus went down a storm with the number and standard of entries surpassing all previous years.

Young people joined together from all over London, packing out the venues with a need to get their voices heard. They rapped, chanted, spat and sang with passion and intensity about what it means to be a young Londoner today.

The recent spate of gun and knife crime featured in many of the performances and the Stratford Circus event kicked off with a blazing poly-vocal piece by Benjamin Francis, Connor Doughty, Charlie Tennant, George Anntwi-Berchie, Ethan-Che Leui’i and Jordan Mondesir-Clarke making reference to the brutal murders of Eugene Attram and Billy Cox. Fifteen year old Daze Oshide continued the theme explaining “I just never forget to bring my friend fear about…Packing a barrel of lead into someone’s head, what’s that about?”

Jamal Msebele, the son of performance poet Sifundo Msebele, also paid tribute to those who have died in his hard-hitting poem ‘Walking The Skyline’.

He lies
broken
as I watch helpless
They treat his head like a speedbag
(CRACK)
his nose breaks
blood drops
like sap from the bark of a tree.

The participants tackled the theme of ‘respect’ in a variety of different ways.“I demand respect” chanted sixteen year old Danielle Miller during a performance which explored the issue of being mixed race and asked why the category of Mixed Race only appeared on the National Census in 2001 “….like that was the year we started to exist”.

Looking beyond the stereotypes was another recurring theme – “stop all stereotyping we’re more than what you see” was the request from Angelique Gallardo and Gurmeet Kaur, while Hollie Johnson and Bianca Terry responded “we don’t revolve around bangs we ain’t all in gangs”, and Jerome Smith and Blaire Barrett explained that they never picked up a gun but “we picked up a pen. People never got hurt by a lyrical skank”.

However, despite the terrible and dangerous themes of street crime, drugs and unwanted teenage pregnancies, hope and optimism was abundant. “All you gotta do is focus your mind” explained Muazzin Aziz. “Twelve years old, I want to be a star” rapped Jabedul Islam, and “We have a better tomorrow, there’s always hope” sang out Daze Oshide. The passion of the performances matched the passion of the language and each performer held audiences captivated with their responses to life in London.

Even better, hear them in person at the semi finals on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 June at the Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queens Walk, More London, SE1 2AA. These are free events.

- Ends -


Notes to editors 

Participants from this year’s Slam heats include:-

Haroon Anwar, Wanstead, E11
Habib Arabzada, Northolt, UB5
Muazzin Aziz E1
Joseph Jean Baptiste E3
Blaire Barrett, Enfield, EN3
Rahul Bathia, Ilford, IG3
Teon Blake, N15
Mohit Chand from Ilford, Essex, IG6
Conor, Ilford, Essex, IG1
Tom Donovan, Twickenham,TW1
Ben Francis, RM3 9UE
Angelique Gallardo, Fulham, SW6
Shashie Harry, Fulham SW6
Adrian Hernandez, E7
Dilwar Hussain, E1
Lowey IMS, SW8
Jabedul Islam, Bethnal Green, E2
Eleanor Jackson, Wanstead, E11
Jagjeet, Southam, UB1
Hollie Johnson, Hammersmith, W6
Gurmeet Kaur, W6
Curtis Kingston Trotman, Northolt, UB5
Ambrose Landu Yenge, Stamford Hill, N16
Daniel Lewis, Finchley, N3
Ricardo Lopes Da Costa, N15
Hussain Manawa, Ilford, Essex, IG1
Chinedum Nwokonkon, Stratford E15.
Daze Oshide, Clapton E5.
Jermaine Smith, Hackney, E8
Jennifer Stone, Greenford, UB6
Dershan Sukhi, Greenford, UB6
Bianca Terry, Battersea, SW11
Jaz Vital, Bow, E3
Lusakumunu Yenge, Amhurst Park, N16 

  • For further information about the Poetry Society visit www.poetrysociety.org.uk.
  • The Big Lottery Fund distributes half of all National Lottery good cause funding across the UK. The Fund aims to enable others to make real improvements to the lives of disadvantaged people and the wellbeing of communities, through fair and open funding of people, projects and programmes. www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
  • The Rise festival will take place in Finsbury Park in July. It is a free music, dance and comedy event organised by the Mayor of London, which celebrates the city's diversity and its status as a great multicultural city with an active commitment to eliminating racism.

The audience shows their approval.

 

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