If you missed out on last year’s competition of Brave New Voices then you missed out on something quite compelling. Brave New Voices is a youth potery slam contest that was created 14 years ago in 1998 by a program called Youth Speaks Inc. BNV has since then gone on to become one of the largest ongoing spoken word festivals for the youth in the United States as well as in other countries such as Europe. This years event is expected to take place July 20-23th in San Francisco’s Bay Area.
Brave New Voices prides themselves on bringing together young poets from across the globe so they can create new pathways towards artistic growth, civic enganment and youth development. The festival is aimed at helping to create forums of dialouge, workshops for open and free expression, as well as conversations that lead to personal and artistic growth. According to their website, BNV 2011 will bring together young artists, outspoken activists, educators, poets, and emerging leaders to the San Francisco Bay Area to participate in a celebration and demonstration of free speech, artistic empowerment, and youth voice. They will gather, commune together, speak to and with each other, learn about and from one another – they will speak a new world into being, and we will all be witnesses.
The talent is just as diverse as the poets themselves who come together to share their messages with the masses. Brave New Voices values diversity and it is reflected as they challenge notions of ethnic, racial and soci-economic divisions. From their website BNV boast that “all over the United States, a new generation of poets is emerging. They are able to capture teenagers picking up the pen and taking hold of the microphone with passion, intelligence, creativity, honesty and power. These voices of 21st Century America transcend race, class, gender, and orientation, as they show us all what the next generation of leaders looks and sounds like.”
BNV is definetly a playground for breeding this generation’s latest talents who have a way with words. These young poets have truly shown that they have a voice that needs to be heard. They prove that words can still have the power to touch and inspire. These kids have a fight in them and it shows through the passion of their words and performances. The young poets of BNV go back to the most basic element of poetry: soul. They are using their words to tell stories that paint life’s issues in a new perspective.
Below are links to three videos from the 2010 BNV poetry slam. These are videos that I found to be some of the best performances, as well as ones that touched on some interesting issues.
To find out more information about how to be a part of BNV and Youth Speaks I’ve provided a few links below.