Where do I even start with my ever-expanding YP Insight family? They have become a hugely important part of my life and not surprisingly have played a huge part in my year, with two events usually taking place a month, sometimes more. I see their faces regularly and I speak to them regularly.
Every single person who comes to a Young People Insight event automatically becomes part of the YP Insight family, and the more I get to know those that engage, the more they come to mean to me on a more personal level as well.
Of course, there are some that I have gotten to know a whole lot more now, because of their consistent presence at events over the years. It’s been great to see Gus at so many sessions of The Kickback, fully involved in the conversations and providing some very interesting views. I always love seeing Kris and convincing him to jump onstage at Poetic Insight to shower us with his talent – I can also talk to him for ages, whether it is after an event or just randomly bumping into him on the street. I’ve also loved having Renee back, with her passionate personality and strong views.
Then there are my beautiful Poetic Insight veterans – Aaron, Sid and Annotate. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Aaron for a couple of years now and I love his presence, his poetry and his personality. Talking to him is always lovely – we also had a really good conversation on the bus this year, which made smile. Sid is a great guy and great poet, very down to earth and humble, in spite of his awe-inspiring talent. We’ve enjoyed some very good conversations this year as well, and he has never stopped being supportive. And there is Annotate, who I not only see at my own events, but a host of other poetry events and just randomly in passing. Supportive, motivated and willing to learn, I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know Annotate a lot more this year and have appreciated the love he shows to YPI – it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
I also have to mention the returning beauties who helped me celebrate YPI’s 2nd birthday – shout out to Daniel, Andrae, Randy, Stephen, Laurence, Danielle, JayJay, Kris, Hakeem, Joan, Frances, Jason, Becky, Jenniah and Nomes. And thank you to the new beauties who helped me celebrate as well – Soad, Mia, Ian, Mohammed and Fez. Apologies from now if I missed out anyone.
I’ve just got to take a little time to speak about Joan here, who does so much in the Croydon community and has been an avid supporter of YPI for almost all of its [soon-to-be] three years. She has been at most of the events in 2018 and will continuously spread the word, which means more to me than I think she knows. People like Joan are precious jewels that you do not want to lose.
There have been a host of new faces that have joined the YP Insight family this year and made a quick impact. I already told you about Mhairi, but there is also the funny, sassy and outspoken Antonia, who has made her presence felt at every Poetic Insight since July. The phenomenal Zhanai, who has come out of her shell immensely since I met her in July before my break – I am hugely proud of her. Spoken word enthusiast Elisha, special and sweet, who I encounter and speak to at a variety of events. Samirah, a raw, emotion-fueled talent, who I have also struck up a friendship with. AdamSpeaks, a powerful, humorous poet, who is a lovely guy and easy to speak to. And Kane, a fire poet with a pure heart who really gets what YPI is about – I’m so glad he’s part of the YP Insight family and that I have the chance to get to know him.
Then you have Woodzy, who not only debuted one of my favourite spoken word pieces at Poetic Insight this summer, but he also became a large presence in my life over the second half of the year. I initially met Woodzy at a poetry night in Croydon, which I love by the way – shout out ‘What You Saying?’. I don’t remember who approached who, but all I know is that I loved his poetry and I’ve loved it ever since. When I say this guy has got bars for days, I mean he’s got bars for days – have one conversation with him and you’ll find out. He came to my events, we sat together at a whole lot of poetry events and I saw him do an amazing music set in Croydon too – he was a recurring face during my summer.
This list could go on, and on, and on. I haven’t even spoken about Jess, Destini, Chantae, Si-Ann, Humi, Daisy, Emma or Lola (who I collaborated with on a very special event). I’ll just say that I appreciate every single member of the YP Insight family and love you guys very much. You inspire me and motivate me to do better. I say it all the time, but I really do mean it when I say that I could not do it without you.