Lyric Mentoring Program has an awesome eight day festival, Lyric Fest, thrown annually for the city of Chicago youth. The festival begins the first week of summer break for CPS students. Basketball tournaments, comedy night, dance off, open mic, theater night, family night and more assemble for the ever-growing festival. These kids are abundantly talented, and under the direction of both spoken word artists and emcees K Love and Phenom, will be sure to go far! Got a chance to ask the youth about their thoughts and views on the fest, and really happy to share… check it below!
Cassius – age 20 –
With the program and the fest, it gives us a chance to meet different artists. And it feels good to meet artists that share the same love for the music and the culture, that you do! Even deeper than that, it gives me a platform to express myself. I go to school at Central Michigan, and I perform there. But, I feel so proud, when I come home to perform in front of my people.. my city! It just means so much more to be able to do that… it’s really important to me!
E.M.S – Lyric program is very family oriented and they help to push local artists to grow and get better artistically. They inspire creativity, and strongly encourage you to be an individual! Encouraging older kids to be leaders and mentors to younger kids. It’s a safe place to be on a Tuesday night, and whenever they hold events for us.
Poit – age 19 – I like that the Lyric program attracts different people, from different backgrounds. It’s a great place to meet people of all ages, and to bring friends and family. I like that they teach us about stage presence and they put a strong emphasis on appropriateness while performing. They really push us to be better and to do better.
Gen-LaDen – age 10 – I like coming to Lyric, to learn and to be here with my friends and family. We do lot of creative things, we perform, we dance and all kinds of stuff. The fest was a lot of fun, and I have a lot of fun when I’m here!
Justin – age 18 – IG @flyboi_doe
The freestyle battles, poet slams are my favorite. I love to see artists and poets express themselves. I travel, and I like to meet artists from New York and LA, and we meet up and incorporate different styles, and play around with different sounds. It’s good to see everyone come together as one… a lot of love here.
Taj Mxxoy – age 21 – IG @tajmxxoy21
I’ve met a lot of great artists and mad a lot of friends. I went to college and saw a lot of talent, and they put on a good show. It just reminded me of all the things they teach us here at Lyric. I like that they give us a stage, exposure, an opportunity to shine! I really like it and you can tell they put a lot of work in to it… I really appreciate what they do… it’s a great organization.
Lo-Kee The Emcee – age 21 –
I have been coming to Lyric for years! I go away to school in Dallas, Texas… and no matter what, I always come back during my holiday break. I enjoy the fest, I enjoy the program… I mean, it’s like family! For this open mic, we are here celebrating the life of our homie Syfa The Beast. And for the fact that they dedicated a day to this young soul that we have lost… it means the world to me! It really touches my soul! I love the fact that Lyric is here, bringing people together, the Hip Hop, the youth! I mean, I know people on the outside, looking in, thinkin we’re no good and always getting in to trouble. But look at us man! We here! We are here celebrating! There’s no fighting, no gang-bangin, no violence! We are all here spreading love, celebrating each other, our talents, and enjoying ourselves.
The Lyric Fest has been going on for 3 years now, and every year it gets bigger and better. Once the school year is over, many kids are left with nothing to do… no outlet for social development. We are reaching out to the youth and giving them sooo many things to do!! We have the basketball tournament with big kids, and little kids. We have comedy night with BET comedians! We offer so much, so that they can’t be at home bored with nothing to do. This is an event for your friends, your family, for everybody to come together and enjoy. It’s different from other festivals because, its held in different venues, different areas of the city. So we get to the kids on the west side, the south side, and the north side. And it’s a great platform for young developing artists to get exposure. We pay homage to those who have lost their lives to gun violence. Hadiya Pendleton, Demario Bailey… we name each night after them and tonight is Syfa The Beast. We pull together money from donations and even our own money to make this festival happen. It’s sooo important that they have something to do, to help them grow and stay out of trouble. They look forward to it every year, and we love what we do!
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