NORFOLK, Va. – The Hampton Roads Youth Poets competed in the world’s largest youth poetry slam, taking home a second place win.
This is the eighth consecutive year the Hampton Roads Youth Poets have attended the 19th annual Brave New Voices Festival at the J. F. Kennedy Center for the Performance Arts. The event was “aimed at redefining what it means to be an American in the 21st Century.”
Over 600 poets from across America and even around the world traveled to the Brave New Voices Festival, where there were multiple contests, like the #ITooAmAmerica, based of of the famous Langston Hughes poem, “I, Too.”
Hampton Roads Poets Laureate, Dayana Lee, was one of the finalists in the #ITooAmAmerica contest.
Hampton Roads’ team was made up of eight young poets: Dayana Lee of Virginia Beach, Nia Naomi Johnson of Suffolk, Khosi McClain of Newport News, Malik Jordon, Donovan Pollock of Norfolk, Devon Carter of Norfolk, plus Jasmine Reed of Portsmouth and Niles Doswell of Chesapeake.
They competed against former Brave New Voices champions from Philadelphia, Denver, and the Bay area, and moved on into the semifinals. The top 20 of 60 teams competed for four spots in the finals.
Hampton Roads was one of those four finalists, the others hailing from Chicago, Atlanta, and Baltimore. The Hampton Roads team took second place with only a 0.5 score difference from Baltimore, the first place winner.
The Hampton Roads Youth Poets represented the 757, bravely spoke in front of hundreds and had an opportunity to exercise free speech and host open dialogue about world society in the eyes of the youth in 2016.