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Q Tip joins the White House in Honoring Student Poets

buzzz worthy. . .



Contrary to popular belief, writing poetry is not a dying artform among youth. The President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities has received nearly 70,000 submissions since starting its quest for young writers, naming only 20 national poets along the way.

This year, five of the most fierce competitors rose to the top of the giant heap to make up the first class of Spoken Word Ambassadors.  Representing five regions the National Student Poet honorees are: 

  • Stella Binion, Chicago, IL (Midwest Region)
  • Maya Eashwaran, Alpharetta, GA (Southeast Region)
  • Gopal Raman, Dallas, TX (Southwest Region)
  • Joey Reisberg, Towson, MD (Northeast Region)
  • Maya Salameh, San Diego, CA (West Region)

A Tribe Called Quest Hip Hop legend Q Tip,the Kennedy Center’s Artistic Director for Hip-Hop Culture, joined First Lady Michelle Obama in  honoring  students who recognize the power of the pen with the nation's highest honor for teen poets presenting original work on September 8. The Ambassadors each read their work during the ceremony.

Said Mrs. Obama at the White House hosted event, "We all know that being a kid today can be a little hard.  It can be tough, especially when you're a teenager and you're dealing with emotions and experiences that can be overwhelming, so say the least.  It's tempting at this age to just close down and shut out the rest of the world, especially when the world can feel so ugly at times.  But for so many people, writing poetry helps them open up, even in the face of all kinds of challenges and obstacles in their lives."

All of the students selected channel their  knack for spoken word to impact the world around them.   One student used poetry to address a devastating shooting at her school to help her community heal, while another assisted a veteran in fulfilling the dream of putting her poetry to music, playing while she sang.