#SPEAKYOURTRUTH

BLACK LIVES MATTER
 

#SpeakYourTruth is a provocative and bold poetry and spoken word programme. 13 young people from across Northamptonshire worked with Yomi Sode, a professional spoken word artist whose work has featured on the BBC and Channel 4, and Gina Myrie, a Northamptonshire based poet and motivational coach.

Over an 8 month period the young people worked with Yomi and Gina to expand their knowledge of poetry and to develop their original pieces of spoken word. Each piece created was based on their personal response to the Black Lives Matter movement and their own experiences of what it means to be a person of colour today.

Lead Artist Mentor on the project Yomi said:

"I'm in awe of the poems and videos generated through the duration of the project, I admire the honesty from the participants in discussing issues close to their hearts, and I'm appreciative of organisations like Warts and All Theatre creating the space for this to happen. Working on the #SpeakYourTruth project has been brilliant. Here's to more projects like these happening!'

In May 2020 Warts and All observed that there was a lack of young people's voice in relation to Black Lives Matter, and as an organisation driven by co-creating with young people we made a decision to hold space for these essential conversations.

Participant Hannah-Marie, aged 13, added:

“I’ve taken from the project a new experience, and a taste of working in a safe environment where I could freely share my thoughts and feelings. I enjoyed that throughout the project I was made to feel important and that my ideas and thoughts weren’t thrown to side but were listened to. I also value the friends and point of views I got to hear from as they helped me to look at things in a different way.”

Each young person created a short film, performing their one-minute spoken word piece which was recorded and edited in collaboration with RYG Films.

 

The pieces were released as individual films on YouTube and social media platforms between the anniversary of the death of George Floyd on 25th May and the beginning of Black History Month on 1st October. Release dates were inspired by key moments in black history, all chosen by the participants.

In addition, we also held a ‘Creating Change’ meeting with the participants of this project and their families, as a next step to committing to and being accountable for action.  At the meeting the participants created a manifesto and generated a series of expectations, that the company used as a framework to continue these conversations into the future, and to report back to the young people about how they are delivering against the manifesto. Ensuring a two way dialogue that can continue long past the presentation of the artistic product.

This project was FREE for all participants involved thanks to funding from Northamptonshire Community Foundation and made possible thanks to partnership support from Made With Many and Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust.  

Watch the videos

 

Solar Eclipse by Hannah-Marie Mclean Pyle

Aged 13 - Northampton

Released on 25th May 2021, a year to the day since George Floyd’s death.

A Poem by Hayyan Farooq

Aged 14 - Wellingborough

Released on 9th June 2021, the anniversary of Paul Ince becoming the first black captain of the senior men's England football team.

A Poem by Ramayne Logan

Aged 17 - Wellingborough

Released on 12th June 2021, the anniversary of the day Ramayne and her friends organised a BLM protest in Northamptonshire .

A Poem by Ross Da Costa

Aged 21 - Wellingborough

Released on 22nd June 2021, the anniversary of the day the Empire Windrush arrived in Britain.

A Perfect Society by Kia Stimpson

Aged 12 - Northampton

Released on 2nd July 2021, the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act being enacted in America, making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race.

My Thoughts On Being Black by Adriel Madagu

Aged 13 - Northampton

Released on 4th July 2021, American Independence Day!

Listen by Nicole Harris

Aged 21 - Northampton

Released on 6th July the anniversary of Althea Gibson becoming the first black Wimbledon champion.

This video contains strong language.

WHY by Antonia Ogunrinade

Aged 17 - Northampton

Released on 5th August 2021, on the anniversary of Nelson Mandela being imprisoned for attempting to overthrow South Africa's apartheid rule.

A Poem by Victor Musasa

Aged 12 - Northampton

Released on 9th August 2021, on the anniversary of the murder of Michael Brown by police.

Power of White Privilege by Elias Chambers

Aged 21 - Northampton

Released on 28th August 2021, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King delivering the landmark “I Have a Dream” speech.

Idol Eyes by Destiny Sanyalou

Aged 21 - Northampton

Released on 1st September 2021.

On 1st September 1965 the Race Relations Act made it illegal to refuse housing, services, & employment on the grounds of ethnicity.

This video contains scenes of violence.

A Poem by Chelsea Annan

Aged 13 - Wellingborough

Released on 17th September 2021, to commemorate Florence Griffith-Joyner setting world records of 10.49 seconds in the 100m.

Cards by Ehi Robinson

Aged 18 - Northampton

The final Speak Your Truth film from the series, released on 1st October to recognise the beginning of Black History Month.