Jason Taylor Foundation to crown Broward’s top youth poet District-Wide Poetry Slam
DAVIE, FL – The Jason Taylor Foundation will host its Second Annual District-Wide Poetry Slam at Nova South-eastern University’s Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center on Friday, April 25. The slam will showcase 16 poets, representing 16 different Broward County Public High Schools, performing self-authored spoken word poetry as they compete for the title of “Broward’s Top Poet.” The slam culminates the second year of the football legend’s Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, which currently features more than 40 participating schools across the district.
The bluapple Poetry Slam is an elimination style competition consisting of three rounds of poetry, moving from 16 poets to eight and then to five for the final round before the top three poets are named. The poets will be judged by a diverse panel featuring prominent South Florida personalities including Dr. Desmond K. Blackburn (Chief School Performance and Accountability Officer for Bro-ward County Public Schools), Katrina Campins (business woman & television personality), Vivian Gonzalez (WSVN Morning Meteorologist), Dr. Christine Jackson (Nova Southeastern University Professor) and O.J. McDuffie (former Miami Dolphins wide receiver & two-time team MVP).
Also highlighting the evening will be an exclusive appearance by rising R&B star, George Tandy, Jr., who will perform his hit single, “March” which currently rounds out the top three songs on the Billboard Adult R&B Chart behind Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and John Legend’s “All of Me.” In addition, the night will feature a performance by Weston based youth dance crew, Heroes of Hip Hop, and a live painting exhibition by Urban Pop Artist, Surge.
Established prior to the 2012-13 school year by the Jason Taylor Foundation with actor and poet, Omari Hardwick (Being Mary Jane, Verses & Flow, Middle of Nowhere, For Colored Girls) in partnership with the School Board of Bro-ward County’s Department of Diversity, Cultural Outreach and Prevention, the bluapple Poetry Network was created to build a community of young people across the county who will develop and utilize critical literary skills and self expression, both written and through performance, as a vehicle for prevention, social activism and change, ultimately empowering youth, the schools they attend and the communities in which they live.
Participating schools organized poetry clubs on campus and met a minimum of once a week throughout the school year, frequently interacting with their peers across the district through “virtual showcases” moderated by bluapple Poetry Network Director, Darius Daughtry, with the assistance of BECON’s Distance Learning Technology. Sixteen schools elected to hold poetry slams on campus, with the winners of their respective slams advancing to this District-Wide competition.
Poets competing in this year’s slam include Tirza BenEzzer (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School), Caleb Brown (Charles W. Flanagan High School), Dana Daley (Fort Lauderdale High School), TC Dykes (Boyd Anderson High School), Noah Gallagher (Stranahan High School), Shazia Gonzalez (Deerfield Beach High School), Douglas Goodridge (Dillard High School), Tylor Hill (J.P. Taravella High School), Marissa Houston (McArthur High School), Peter Lange (Northeast High School), Brian McClain (West Broward High School), Choya Randolph (Blanche Ely High School), Marie Rattigan (Coral Glades High School), Clive Roch (Everglades High School), Marnino Toussaint (Miramar High School) and Zoharian Williams (Piper High School).
In addition to the School Board of Broward County’s Diversity, Cultural Outreach and Prevention Department and Nova Southeastern University, the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network is also supported by UPS, Steven Douglas Associates, American Heritage School’s Pre-Law Society, BECON, Heroes of Hip Hop, Gerlinde & Michael Photography, Redline Media Group, RedStar Entertainment, 99 JAMZ, County Line Chiropractic Medical & Rehab Centers, BB&T Center, Florida Panthers, City of Sunrise, Wizard Creations, Ediveo, Pandora at Seminole Paradise and ProMotion Sports & Entertainment.
Doors open for the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry District-Wide Slam at the Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 25. Limited FREE tickets still remain and may be obtained by calling the Jason Taylor Foundation offices at (954) 424-0799.