By Teen Voices editorial intern Jackie Catcher
Whoever said “money makes the world go round” should have attended Poetically Speaking, where 20 teens proved there’s more to life than making bank. The annual poetry/spoken word event, which Teen Voices presented in partnership with Emerson College, had a special theme this year: “The Value of Voice.” Teen girls (and a couple of women) performed their original poetry to a packed house at Emerson, using four topics to guide their poems: overdraft protection, more than face value, making ‘change,’ and R.I.C.H. (Respected, Influential, Courageous and Hopeful) Girls.
Through prose and rhymes, the girls thanked the people who have supported and cared for them, discussed the meaning of real beauty, thought aloud about how to improve our world, and showed how their respect, influence, courage and hope make them some of the RICHest girls in the world. “My outer beauty doesn’t make me successful, get it straight. It’s my passion, drive, and determination that structure my fate. My passion for writing is going to open my gate,” rhymed Tekeisha Meade in her poem Imagine.
As girls danced onto the stage, host Saun Green kept everyone laughing, but these girls were also here to talk seriously about change – and we don’t mean coins. Poet Kaire Holman recited, “I’m here to pick up the change and advance the pace of this race, and in time, our line will be fine. I’m that coin collector, and I’m also their overdraft protection.”
Rather than addressing dollar value, the teens expressed voice value—the importance of amplifying their voices. They had the audience laughing, crying, and dancing in their seats. “Do we all need to conform? Conform to the ideals that this thickness I got right here is wrong? That my light brown and curly hair don’t fit their song? Well listen — listen carefully. The beauty I got, you can’t even see,” wrote Natasha Gonzalez in her piece Conforming.
Inspiring, strong, confident, and beautiful, these young poets showed that teen girls are way more than just pretty faces – they are a social movement, a generation of strong new voices, a group that isn’t going to wait to add their voices to society — because their time is now!
Photography by Lolita Parker, Jr. of Parker Digital Imaging