So I’ve spent lots of time doing and not enough writing so here is where my 60 day quest to bid farewell to London in glorious fashion began…
Last week I got to go and speak about being a poet and a feminist at MTV as part of MTV Breaks – just one of the initiatives that make up the wing of the charitable, not for profit work that Viacom do (including the amazing Staying Alive Foundation which fights HIV in many ways including through youth initiatives! http://stayingalivefoundation.org/).
I don’t tend to get nervous nowadays when performing, as whilst I’m always learning new things, I’ve kinda got the whole ‘shouting poems at a room full of people and hoping they like it’ act down. However, I had to actually talk using non-rhyming sentences to a room full of Viacom employees from the likes of Nickelodeon, Channel 5, MTV and thus an anxiety fuelled 5 minutes of babbling about Mary Beard and poetry and feminism ensued, followed by a loud and fast rendition of my poem ’99 Problems’.I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to talk to some amazing,innovative professionals in media on a topic which I feel so passionately about.
I was also thrilled to hear all the other speakers, young people consistently proving themselves and succeeding in many different fields by being resourceful, creative and inspiring.
First up was Fraser Doherty- Jam entrepreneur and general good egg. He started making jam from his Grandma’s recipes as a 14 year old boy and took it all the way to creating the delicious tasting SuperJam brand made from 100% Fruit. My mum loves his cookbook and he was an excellent role model and creative speaker. Buy his yummy, yummy jam and follow him on Twitter: @fraserdoherty
After me was Grace Victory aka Gracie Francesca:an awesome, vivacious, feminist, body-positive fashion and beauty Youtuber. She’s an internet sensation and a lovely, lovely human to boot. Her openness in sharing her experiences of depression and self-harm were so powerful and a reminder of how important the work she does is, as through her blogging and vlogging, in reaching out to people, she enables taboo subjects to be discussed openly. Grace, I salute you! Her Youtube channel, Ugly Face of Beauty, is a must-watch: https://www.youtube.com/user/UglyFaceOfBeauty
Follow her on Twitter :@GracieFrancesca
Now to a group I’ve long admired for their DIY activist spirit, their rebellious heart and their amazing skate skills, it was two reps from the Long Live Southbank Campaign. They, along with other skaters at the Southbank, fought and won their campaign to keep the Undercroft public skate space from being taken over by redevelopment plans to the Southbank Centre. The boys spoke with great insight and passion on the pleasures, pressures, pitfalls and positives of building and maintaining a long term grass roots campaign. They used their networks of creative friends, acquaintances and supporters to create an artistic and activist set-up which won them the support of 30,000 petitioning signing members of the public, prominent figures such as Boris Johnson and members of local, national and international communities. Skate on folks! Follow their new developments on their website: http://www.llsb.com
Finally, was the enterprising and inspiring Bejay Mulenga who,like Fraser, took a childhood entrepreneurial idea (setting up a tuck shop in his school) and turned it into a successful business model. He founded Supa Tuck, a enterprise programme which teaches kids in schools how to run their own tuck shops, whilst still in his teens. He has now founded Supa Academy and he’s running a huge event in which 500 young people are given the chance to take part and have a stake in the UK’s first ever pop-up supermarket! It’s a great way to build skills and work with industry experts from the likes of River Island, Pepsi Max and Facebook…I wish I could’ve done it when I was younger. More info on Supa Academy is available here : http://supa-academy.com/ Twitter: @SupaAcademy
I felt so inspired by all the fiery grit and determination displayed in my fellow panellists that I HAD to write about and share their amazing work. I think it’s always important to remember work outside your own, to take heart and be influenced and motivated by the capabilities of other people and their talents. It was great to hear other people’s stories. As a poet I am used to shouting into dark rooms and asking people to listen to me, but to get the opportunity to listen to the presentations of other people (and such talented other people at that) was a joy. An utter joy. Thanks to MTV for promoting the innovative work of young people and letting me play a small part in it too!