Know Your Power: Talented Teens Show Off at Open Mic

Teens D.C.

Know Your Power: Talented Teens Show Off at Open Mic

Tiara Crutchfield reports on the words and music spoken on MLK Library's open air rooftop earlier this summer

“The object of art is to give shape to life”. Art, music, poetry, and dance has a different meaning to everyone. Whether that allows people to express their feelings, express injustices, or just to do it for enjoyment. The arts somehow find a way to connect people and that's what happened at DCPL’s first in-person open mic in celebration of Know Your Power, the library's art contest that asks youth to create art, writing, and music on a subject they are passionate about. Many teens showed up and definitely showed out with their performances. From poems to soothing acapella songs to tour-level performances these teens showed that teenagers in DC have so much talent to offer. Hosted by Teen Council members Blair and Sheri, this open mic featured teen performers ready to show their talents.

The program started with highlighting our young poets first. The MC herself, Blair, started with her amazing untitled poem. The poem reflects on “what makes a black person”. Her poem asks if following the stereotypes of what a black person “does” or “acts” like makes her black. She asks if she doesn’t fit in these stereotypes can her black card be revoked?  Blair left people to be able to reflect on how stereotypes impact us daily. Another teen council member, Salem, also shared a wonderful poem called “Lost in Translation? She shares her experience about finally going back to Ethiopia to meet her birth mother, after being adopted. Her poem left the audience astounded as she told her personal story. Tenia was the next poet and her poem took us through the years from her birth to present. Her poem highlighted how things haven’t really changed when it comes to black lives. Our last poet was a last-minute performer (pictured) who wanted to share his talent. He recited what I would call a beautiful love poem. His poem embraced the fact that beauty isn’t just the outside but what's inside.

Picture of a teen reciting a poem at the open micJay Elise singing

John Clark the rapper
Next to perform were some amazing musicians. First up was Jay Elise (pictured). She performed two songs. She gave the audience an exclusive listen of her unreleased song titled “Energy”. She then performed her released song called “Everything”, which can be listened to on   streaming platforms such as Apple Music or Spotify. You can also follow her on Instagram @jay.elisee_ to hear her songs and find out when she will be releasing new music. The next performer, Mia, gave us a soulful performance as she sang acapella. She went up to the mic and left the audience starstruck as she hit high notes with grace. Our last performer goes by the stage name John Clark the Rapper. He really put on a show and hyped the crowd up. His stage presence and songs really drew the audience in. From the dance moves to his interaction with the crowd, you can tell the stage is where he was meant to be. To find out more about him and to listen to his music you can follow his Instagram @johnclarktherapper.

To sum it up, if you missed this open mic, you definitely would want to attend the next one! These open mics allowed us to see some hidden gems perform. If you want to support the artists mentioned, go follow their instagram handles and listen to their music! Also,  like the photos you see in this article? These were taken by our very own teen council member Blair. You can check out some more of her photography from her company “The Choice of a Muse” and follow her business page on Instagram @TheChoiceOfAMuse. Also make sure to follow the DCPL teens Instagram page, @dclibraryteens to get updated on new events!