The History of Tampa’s Teen Poetry Slam Scene
In 2009, TalithaAnyabwele (www.blackgirlspeaks.com) approached Walter “Wally B.” Jennings (Heard ‘Em Say Teen Poetry) and Blu Bailey (Orlando-The Write Community) regarding Tampa and Orlando teens participating in the Brave New Voices International Poetry Festival.
This lead to a joint collaboration between Orlando and Tampa, called Team ROCK-IT, in which a collection of teen poets were assembled to represent the Central Florida region in the youth poetry slam landscape. Wally B. and Blu served as Co-Coaches with Talitha (and husband, Javonte) serving as Team Advisors. Past teams include:
The exposure and continued success of Team ROCK-IT led to increased interest and growth in the youth poetry slam scene in Central Florida. These factors, combined with the opportunity created by several Florida cities no longer sending teams to BNV prompted Tampa and Orlando to pursue sending individual teams to represent their cities at future Brave New Voices. This brings us to the creation of the Heard ‘Em Say Poetry Slam Team.