Young people’s views on their family life

Some of the young participants
Some of the young participants

A SPOKEN word project headed up by acclaimed hip-hop producer and former BBC 1Xtra DJ Skitz attracted scores of young people to Hastings nightclub VIP Blackmarket.

The Arts Council England-funded event, called Part Of The Family, saw seven young people from town take the stage to recite intimate compositions about family life, where they were joined by special guest, UK hip-hop legend Rodney P.

The co-founder of UK group London Posse, widely considered the Godfather of UK hip-hop, performed a selection of his own material before offering advice and encouragement to the young participants. Along with other urban music artists like Harry Shotta, Rodney had previously joined coaching sessions for the project at Respond Academy in St Leonards.

DJ Skitz, who has lived in Hastings since 2008, said the response from those watching the event was hugely rewarding. He added: “I was overwhelmed by the feedback from the parents and public who attended. Some were emotional and all were inspired by the content and skill of the young people.

“The event was a complete success showcasing the dedication the young people had put into the project and also giving them the experience to perform alongside the Godfather of UK rap: Rodney P. Their passion was contagious and they impressed everyone there with the hard work and effort they had put in.”

Part Of The Family was one of eight family-themed events around the country developed by London-based arts organisation Small Green Shoots and funded by Arts Council England. All are encouraging young people not in education or training to gain new experiences and create new works based upon alternative perspectives of family life.

All the participants involved gained a Bronze Arts Award for their efforts.

Pablo McFee, curriculum lead at Respond Academy, who provided support at the workshops, said: “In a rapidly evolving world, the perspectives of our young people is integral to a clearer understanding of both ourselves and the diverse family ‘make-ups’ we all come from. The projects we work on at Respond are always facilitated by truly committed artists and tutors who have insight and awareness of the challenges our students face in their daily lives. Certainly, with Part of the Family it has been hugely positive to watch the young participants get inspired by Skitz and his guest artists and produce some truly original work.”