Do You Want a Revolution? (By Jaccara Queen)

The room is dimly lit, and as the emcee grabs the mic to introduce our Young Revolutionary Poets (YRP), Antidote by Travis Scott sounds on the stereo system. The beat drops and the audience becomes just as hype as our Artists as they make their way to the stage.

As the music slowly starts to fade out, they start their famous crowd participation chant with a powerful “YRP!” receiving a strong “HOLD IT DOWN!” from their audience.

It is amazing how this group of young adults have built such a committed fan base in the course of just a little over a year. It was June 2014 when La, MJ, Moe, and Legacy, would all come together and manifest the great brand that the world is coming to know today as YRP. For some at first glance, poetry is all they see when primarily hearing about this team. But it is very clear that it is much deeper than the art of rhythmical composition. This gifted group of four is making it their mission to be the change they want to see.

“Our generation is lacking so much as a whole. Substance, purpose, and culture, happen to be a few of those things.” Says La. When asked how they plan to help change this circumstance, MJ explained that they would be digging deep within the community. “Our goal is to open up community centers, mentor kids, and build literacy. Literacy is our movement.” Moesiah also added the importance of granting the youth access to a world none of them even knew existed until they sought out for something different in their adulthood. “Our goal is to uplift, and change our circumstances,” he continued. “And what better way to do that than to start at the root, which is within our own community.” Since established, YRP has made a conscious effort in being present where it matters. From getting on the train and passing out free food and school supplies, to hosting their monthly events; bringing the public into the world of art while simultaneously informing them on issues that really matter.

“We’re speaking truth, and that scares people. These are conversations that people are afraid to have, and that’s what makes us revolutionary.” Explained MJ. While having such a positive impact in the community, La spoke on her and the team’s behalf by saying that in doing so, it has really helped them within their personal lives. “I see the light at the end of the tunnel because of this group. And in telling my story through poetry I am healing myself and someone else. I’m not afraid of my truth.”

And these extraordinary souls demonstrate just that. As a frequent guest to YRP events, I can speak from experience when I say that this group really knows how to command an audience. There’s a certain level of respect and admiration that meets them at the door; with ears that want to listen, hearts that want healing, and minds that want to be fed. Even when the mic fades out, and the lights start to dim, that level of respect, and admiration is still carried within; because their value lies in their minds, and what it is they can and will do with them.