The Power of Words

Since February our London young people have been working in partnership with Pump House Gallery and renown poet and musician Nego True to explore poetry and story telling.

During these sessions the group has explored issues of knife crime, the perceptions of youth by society and life experiences and looked at how writing techniques such as metaphors, similes and double entendre can be used effectively to develop pictures for audiences to connect with.

Here’s what the young people said about the experience…

“The first week we started writing our own raps about what we want to do. It built into what happens around the estate.  And what happens in loads of communities round here – like knife crime, violence, physical attachment. We then expressed it into a rap.  We learnt how violence isn’t the answer and some people express that violence through music. Most days you get a lot of rappers that talk about knife crime because that is how they explore it. They don’t really want to do it in real life. You can’t get in to trouble by doing it in music.”
“I have really enjoyed talking about all the stuff that’s going on in the news. It’s not something I talk to my friends about, but I can easily talk about my feelings here.”
“It’s given me more confidence to speak about my views. I don’t talk to people about it like my friends but over here during the session I find it a lot easier to talk about.”
“It has impacted me because it shows some people want to be in gangs, but they don’t need to. If they listen to words of rappers – most people that listen to rap, they just listen to it for the music but they don’t actually take in what they say.”

We ended the workshop with final pieces being displayed and performances taking place at the Pump House Gallery…below is the work produced and performed.   We think you’ll agree it gives an amazing and powerful insight to their minds and lives.


Flirt

School or football
I've been flirting with the latter.
My work's been moving backwards
Because the dream is to play for Chelsea and leave behind the bandanas.
School or football
I've been flirting with the first.
But even if I go uni and get a first,
It doesn't mean these employers will put me first.
Everyday that I play at Patmore Estate
I realise more and more that I was born to be great,
To make a change.
School or football
I don't know which way to go.
Mummy understands I love them both
But tells me the books should be my goal.
School or football.
Every time I play, it feels like I'm making a mistake, 
But, every time I study, I feel like football's getting away.
I've been flirting with my dreams
I don't know which way to go.
Football or school.

I choose both.


Dear Mama

Dear Mama, there's no one in this world that knows me quite like you.
Whenever I'm in trouble you're the one I turn to.
You're the reason why I'm here
Blessed with life itself.
You always cared for me in sickness and in health.
I think we've grown together
We've laughed
We've cried
But no matter what's been thrown our way
You've always been by my side.


They call it...

They call it Graffiti
We call it art
They call it gang music
We call it...

Singing from the heart

They call it knife crime 
We call it survival
They call us gang members
But that's just a title
They think that we're just statistics,
I call us young kids with potential.
How do they expect us to stay away from crime when our estates aren't even eventful?
They think cause we're poor that we're worthless like a rubbish pile
But we're on road every day, you can call that survival
They think that our lives are a joke
But there's no revival.

They talk about the 63 murders,
But never an individual.
They still think their lives are more important,
I find that hysterical.
Rest in peace the fallen 
You'll always be remembered,
As amazing and lovely people,
Not just any gang members.


Plumbers’ dreams

I want to be a plumber
And I know what it takes to get there.
And if it ever rains over my dreams my education will act as a tent there.

I know it will take hard work and dedication 
A lot of preparation while the other kids are playing
Life has no reloads. 
So I’m 
Willing to give up today’s joys for tomorrow’s results.
I’m not like the other kids
I can tell you what I want from this
And how I plan to get it quick. 
 By the time I’m 26 
I want a big house, a wife and kids 
And a salary you can’t resist. 
Hard work and dedication. 

I know they may laugh at a plumber's dream,
But when my house needs the things we all need,
When my friend and family have a problem that only I can see
They’ll call on me.
I won’t just have a job for a Day
This is a job for life.

So next time you judge the man who checks the pipes
Just remember,
When your job replaces you for whoever next in life,
I’ll always have a skill and a job for life.


Take a chance

I know at times it seems hard,
Difficult too,
But your dreams will happen with or without you.
The real question is...what will you do?
What will you choose?
I know you want to quit and sometimes it feels hard,
But while you have a chance
Are you willing to use your heart?
When times get bad and you're flirting with failure
Age and nature,
Will you remind yourself of the days you believed you could make it.
Take a chance,
Flirt with success,
If you work towards it,
You could be next.


Dear Government 

You lot don't understand what this is about,
All you do is go and run up your mouths.
You lot live in the countryside,
You lot don't know how it feels to live a normal life.

You lot herd sheep,
We have to learn how to survive.

We have to live in blocks,
You lot sort out flocks.

You lot are wealthy, we have to earn ours.
But we have to work just to keep it.
But you keep chatting...we keep working towards our dreams,
Our desires,
Even though...you lot keep lying.

You lot lack life,
We lack pride.

Watching people die,
Some people say goodbye to the people that they love.
You people don't have to worry because
You just don't have to.


Antidote 

I have the secret to the stabbings and killings in the nations.
I know this might sound basic,
But I know about this antidote that could really help change things.
Most people use it but don’t really engage in it.
If Trump knew about this he'd probably pay for it.
It could really make a shift.
Only problem is 
People only use it after the problems raised quick.
They rarely use this medicine before something really bad happens,
Or unless they want something really bad quick.
And the kids, we see this
We deep in it.
We know exactly why you're trying to give us the medicine now,
But we needed it before things got wild.
I got the antidote
This could help kids achieve their dreams
And stop crime from teens.
I know this is going to sound outdated,
But the antidote could change things.

What's the antidote you ask?

A Conversation


Dear Prime Minister

Why you so sinister?
You don't know jack about the street
You don't know nothing about the struggle.
All you care about is the weapons.
You don't live on blocks
You don't know jack.

You don’t have to worry about your safety
Don't know what we have to do to survive.
It's either ride or die.

Every time
Hiding out on the block
Riding
You don't know why this is happening.
Knock on your door
Finding out you're in trouble.


I need to think

I need to think quick
I need to train hard
I need to train hard
I need to keep healthy
I need to be good at Maths
I need to be respectful
I need to focus on the pitch
I need to keep fit
I need to be fast and strong
I need to go to the gym and on the treadmill
Focus on what you are told and listen