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When poetry and paintings collide

PASSION FOR POETRY: (l-r) Nego True, Anthony ‘Mr Play’ Douglas, Jas, Elijah Kerr and George the Poet

I STARTED the week at Tate Britain art gallery where poets Dean Atta and George the Poet were performing to a room packed with hundreds of spoken word fans.

Fusing the mediums of spoken word and poetry, set against a backdrop of paintings, the museum’s after-hours event Late at Tate Britain housed the captivating poetry event.

A diverse audience filled the venue to witness the ‘love story’ themed poetry performances. Hosted by emerging London poetry night Poetry Luv, the event showcased the work of young performers and writers from Lambeth, who had attended workshops in their local area.

Brixton-based spoken word artist Elijah Kerr and club DJ Anthony ‘Mr Play’ Douglas created Poetry Luv in 2013 to help nurture and showcase young street poets and spoken word artists. Workshop leaders Nego True and Sophia Thakur introduced all acts to the packed crowd before Dean Atta said:

“Getting the chance to work with young people who might not have had the chance to ever tell their stories is a real gift and I really enjoyed performing alongside them.”



LITTLE AND LARGE: Jas with Lennox Lewis

NEXT, I attended a great comedy event at Hackney Empire where comedians Slim, Richard Blackwood, A Dot comedian, Glenda Jackson and Axel were performing.

The night was hosted by the quick-witted Eddie Kadi and one of the evening’s highlights – aside from the comedy – was a great performance from velvet-voiced singer Jermain Jackman, best known for his appearance on the BBC show The Voice.

Amongst the attendees of the sold out event was boxing legend Lennox Lewis who I caught up with. You can’t pass up the opportunity to rub shoulders with a boxing hero now can you?




ITV recently hosted a debate for young people and broadcast leaders examining the impact of social media on young people.

Chaired by ITV News anchor Charlene White, panellists included young sitcom producer Samuel Benta, head of digital at new TV channel London Live Anna Cronin and SBTV co-founder Liam Toothill.

TV magician Dynamo revealed: “Without social media it would’ve been very difficult for me to get my magic out to the public. It was the first option I had because obviously TV companies weren’t really taking notice of a young kid from Bradford back then!

“I didn’t really have the resources to make a massive TV show like I do now, but I had a camcorder and a laptop and I had access to and YouTube so I just put videos on there and they started getting lots of views.”

Olympic athlete Jeanette Kwakye reiterated the pros and cons: "I think with social media it’s about getting your campaign out there, putting yourself out there whatever the cause may be.

“I probably could live without social media but I’d find it quite challenging. I do love it; I get to connect with a lot of my fans and use it to keep in touch with a lot of friends and family who I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Chart star Wretch 32 had a balanced opinion: “As an artist, social media has helped me a lot. I definitely think it has done more good than bad, but with things as big as the internet and social media, there’s always a flip side to it.”



GOOD NEWS: Charlene White

AFTER that, I teamed up with Charlene White once more when she asked me to sit on a media panel at the University of the Arts for an event called Charlene and Friends.

The event provided the opportunity for us to chat about what we do, how we got to where we are, and give advice we’d give to budding journalists. Charlene described us as a “group of my favourite features and entertainment journalists across UK newspaper, TV, magazine and radio.”

Alongside me on the panel was Guardian journalist Simon Hattenstone; BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat entertainment presenter/reporter Nesta McGregor; and Closer magazine journalist Joanna Abeyie.

If you fancy a shot at media success, check out my column next week to find out more about a great new opportunity!

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