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Chewstick youngsters need your help

Chewstick is gearing up to send some of its promising young poets to the 16th Annual Brave New Voices Poetry and Spokenword Festival in Chicago — and need your help to do it.

Young spoken work artists, poets and rappers from the ChewSLAM programme will be hosting a few events to raise enough cash for the festival on August 7 to 11.

First up will be a Summer Kickoff Party tomorrow night for teenagers, featuring music from local DJs and performances from some of the youth ChewSLAM performers.

On Friday night, Chewstick will be hosting a pop-up reception, held in conjunction with the Bermuda National Trust, at the BNT Headquarters on Pomander Road, Paget.

Attendees will get to sample complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a glass of wine at the reception, from 6pm until 9pm.

The evening will also include performances from poet and author, Yesha Townsend, musician Gavin ‘Djata’ Smith and ChewSLAM’s emerging artists. It will also mark the debut performance of the Fabulous Ukeladies.

It is free to attend, but donations will be accepted; plus any donation of $100 or more will be gifted with a one year membership to the Bermuda National Trust.

Their biggest fundraiser will be at a benefit concert showcasing the participants later this month; details about the event will be released at a later stage.

Organiser Deidra Lee Bean said it was important for the community to support its young talent, as they prepare to represent Bermuda on the international scene for a second time at Brave New Voices.

This year’s team includes Marquedelle Rodriguez, Dascha Choudhury, Hannah Smith, Kalaeb Tannock, Makeem ‘Haz’ Bartley, Tenae Hassell and Grace Edwards.

Ms Bean said: “This is a unique opportunity to give some of our young people a chance to engage with people from all over the world that are equally passionate about the power of poetry and spokenword and the value it has in helping them to recognise their collective voice.

“Each participant is eager to take on the challenge of being the voice of Bermuda’s young people and are diligently seeking support via pledge sheets, as well as participating in performances at community events.

“All these are ways that the community can step up to support these young people, as they not only help those that are on the trip, but also demonstrate to their peers that the arts have many avenues towards creating a better path for themselves, their societies and the world.”

Russell Simmons’ Brave New Voices Poetry and Spokenword Festival was first founded in 1998, as a way to promote youth intellectual and artistic self-development.

It has grown over the years to represent youth ages 13-19 from all across the United States, and several other countries from around the world.

BNV is considered the largest international spoken word event and is taped and aired by HBO.

This year’s team from Bermuda will be led by a facilitators: Yesha Townsend, Gavin Djata Smith, poet Stephan Johnstone and Deidra-Lee Bean.

They have helped to expose participants to different elements of writing and performance poetry and have also tried to expose them to other opportunities in the field.

Ms Bean said the ChewSLAM programme has turned the young people into “Bermudian ambassadors overseas and creative ambassadors locally”.

“This trip is vital towards giving them broader awareness of the world that they directly bring back and share,” she said.

For more information on fundraisers and ways to get involved, visit www.chewstick.org or e-mail info@chewstick.org.

The team of young poets from ChewSLAM are gearing up to head to Chicago for the Brave New Voices Poetry and Spokenword Festival next month. They are hosting a series of events this month to raise money for the upcoming trip.

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Published July 03, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 02, 2013 at 4:47 pm)

Chewstick youngsters need your help

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