We had a time last weekend; let me tell you. With the Detroit International Auto Show in town, the rooms of Detroit’s Huntington Place were bumping with spoken word, song and dance. Winners of the InsideOut Literary Arts 2022 Performance Troupe, supported by Toyota Motor North America, performed live at the “Roc the Mic Poetry Slam” this Saturday during Detroit’s International Auto Show.
With the help of the legendary Bruce Bailey as their DJ, performances from student poets — Milo Borsodi, Samer Budair, Stella Hughes and Noelle Taylor — were filled with emotion and inspiration. These student performers are winners of the 2022 Youth Performance Troupe competition led by a Detroit-based literary group, InsideOut. With the assistance and support of coach LaShaun phoenix Moore, a Detroit-based vocalist, essayist and poet, the 2022 Youth Performance Troupe students can fine-tune their poetry skills throughout the year during the InsideOut Literary Arts Citywide Poets after-school programs.
Even outside of the work done with InsideOut, Moore has been curating the poetry and music series for over a decade in the city and inspiring the next generation of writers to respect and nurture the craft. Her work and past events have included poetry themed around everything from social issues to love.
For over two decades, InsideOut Literary Arts has reached more than 70,000 students in schools throughout Metro Detroit and published nearly 500 school literary journals. Through InsideOut’s programming, 94% of teachers surveyed said it improved student’s writing and critical thinking skills. Meanwhile, 80% of InsideOut students demonstrated improved reading comprehension after taking part in the program. And 83% of the InsideOut students said they applied what they learned about writing in other classes. Students have gone on to be journalists, healthcare workers, entrepreneurs, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights.
“Through the transforming power of the written and spoken word, paired with unique performance opportunities to a diverse range of audiences, students learn that creativity, voice and expression are critical tools that can shift paradigms and change the circumstances that affect their lives,” said Suma Karaman Rosen, executive director, InsideOut Literary Arts. “We are truly grateful to Toyota for supporting our year-long Youth Performance Troupe program.”