Broomfield pupils tackle issues that shape their future
RAP ATTACK We are young people, separated in many ways. Separated by petty things, differing views and perspectives. But joined together by the fact we are all students at Broomﬁeld School in Enﬁeld. Joined together through Exposure to raise issues & ask questions about society. Give us a voice and we will talk. That’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve tackled issues surrounding the media, music, ﬁlm and dance, looking into self-image, even politics and youth unemployment. Me, myself, I’m a 16 year old rapper from Enﬁeld. Name: Ackers. I’ve been rapping since the age of 12 and I’ve jumped from rap to poetry, poetry to rap many a time. For years I had my head stuck in a dictionary, ﬁnding words that were well higher than my age. I try to differentiate from the norms of gangsta rappers. I’m not a hipster. I’ve stuck to my roots, growing up in an area that was
Ethan Ackley not the nicest place. I realise that in modern society many people follow one another, especially in the music industry. Summer 2011, when the Tottenham riots broke out, a few people were there, making a statement, expressing their frustration and trying to get their own point across. But hundreds of people just went out on the rob, destroying people’s homes and businesses. To me, this reﬂected the urban music scene in North London. I witness people trying to break the mould, be different and get nowhere, because people have restricted the way they think and what they listen to. UK Hip-Hop now isn’t any different from American HipHop. At least in what people talk about. There are a minority who differentiate from generic gangsta rappers, but as a whole people are making the same music, just with slightly different voices.
“Give us a voice and we will talk ... I’ve jumped from rap to poetry, poetry to rap” Me, myself - I listen to somebody real to their roots, being their own person. I hear people ranting and raving about Rick Ross or Drake, listening and believing their lyrics. They both talk about selling drugs and hustling, but neither did them - one was a prison guard, the other an actor. Why should we restrict what we want to say as musicians by following trends? Me, myself, I’ll be out there, being true to myself, telling my stories the way I see them, battling other rappers with my weapons. My Own Words!
Ackers at a rap battle in Enﬁeld
ACTING UP Life was simple when we were children. Life was sweet. Now we’re teenagers everything is much more complicated. My own dream is to be an actor. My guess is that I share my dream with many of you. But when self-doubt creeps in, I ask myself is there a place for me in the bright lights? What are my chances as a young black actor? It’ll take a lot of hard work and won’t happen overnight.
Shemar Shirley written out of history. Talawa aims to get those stories out there to say ‘You are here, you are part of this’.
Does the Oscar success of 12 Years A Slave signify a new era for Black British Cinema? I think it’s a moment. One black thing happens and people say ‘It’s a new era! It’s great!’ and then nothing. It can’t be just one ﬁlm – it has to be a constant. It’s fantastic
“Is there a place for me in the bright lights? What are my chances as a young black actor?” Now it’s time to get answers to the questions whizzing around my head. I luckily got an interview with local actor/director Michael Buffong who runs theatre company Talawa. Michael did you ﬁnd it difﬁcult as a young black actor starting out?
I had a good start, a lot of repertory theatre in Birmingham, Bolton, Bristol Old Vic and then the National. Then it stopped for a while. I wasn’t the angry young black guy anymore. Parts aren’t readily available for black actors and a lot are checking out opportunities in America. Which is a real shame. We’ve got a lot of talent in this country. Do you think it’s important that we recognise ﬁlms as being Black British?
Absolutely! it’s a chronicle of a people in a particular place. If there are no stories telling what it’s like to be black and British in England, you have effectively been
Ash Hunter as Onochie in ‘Gods Property’
that it won best picture. We need more black British ﬁlm makers telling many different stories. Is it the beginning? I’m not sure. What message is Onochie in your play ‘Gods Property’ portraying?
I think a lot of my work is about love and how hard it is. The play looks at 2 brothers trying to get back together and why there’s so much black on black violence. Onochie feels negatively about being black and the message is about self love from a black perspective. There’s a hatred out there. For me Onochie represents that at its zenith. Michael (pictured below) introduced me to Gail Babb who runs Talawa Young People’s Theatre, an incredible opportunity and it’s FREE! I am really excited as this could be the ﬁrst step on my own road to Oscar glory! To hear my interview with Michael Buffong please visit: www.exposure.org.uk
CONSOLE YOURSELF Ethan Sealy I can remember watching over my friend’s shoulder, mesmerised as he played on his Nintendo 64. A couple of years later I was blown away when I got my very own PlayStation 1. I am fanatical about the immersive world of video games and am increasingly gobsmacked by the great leaps forward in gaming graphics. The original 8-bit blocky games such as Pong and Space Invaders have given way to the intricate worlds of Assassins Creed 4 and Grand Theft Auto 5.
and died in poverty, their worth not realised until long after they passed away. For instance Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime. Metal Gear Solid is celebrated for its iconic character design, masterful writing, amazing soundtrack and innovative gameplay system. The latest Grand Theft Auto cost more to make than a Hollywood Blockbuster. If movies, with their increasing use of computer generated imagery, can be considered art - then why not video games?
“Art is the expression of creative skill and imagination. What are video games if not that?” Art is the expression of people’s creative skill and imagination, whether through painting, sculpture, writing, photography, design or ﬁlm. What are video games if not exactly that? It takes a team of artists, writers, designers and composers to work together using cutting edge technology to bring their ideas to virtual life. The best video games are something to behold as well as play, giving an extra dimension that other art forms do not, coming together to create the ultimate piece of art. Much of today’s classic art and literature was sneered at by critics of the time. A host of artists and writers lived
I put some questions to Rob Davis, Director of local game making company Playniac. Do you consider video games to be an art form?
Unhesitantly. You thoughtfully defend gaming’s rights to be recognised as art and many game makers consider themselves to be making art. There are plenty of good examples, such as Passage, Vesper 5 or Dead Esther. Photography was not considered to be art until the 1960s and video not until the 1970s. Today there are games on permanent display in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Has your work been inspired by any previous video games?
left to right: Space Invader, Pong, Space Invaders,
Yes, and also by other mediums including movies, board games, architecture, literature and ﬁne art. As game makers, we look at the world around us to inspire our work and I’ve been inspired by many games such as Faster Than Light, Thirty Flights of Loving and Flappy Bird. Many games have a Japanese Manga/ Anime aesthetic (ie. Final Fantasy). Do you know of any that reference classical art (ie. ‘Limbo’ with German Expressionism)?
Some games interpret existing aesthetic forms and others create new ones. Game art can be inspired by classical art, amongst other things, but anything can be the source of inspiration. I hadn’t spotted the link between Limbo and German Expressionism, but I like that idea. What do you make of the current trend away from ‘hyper-real’ graphics (ie. Assassin’s Creed) to a more retro pixelated look (ie. Minecraft)?
Actually Minecraft’s use of voxels (3D pixels) may appear retro, but the technology is very contemporary and this is what enables the player to create such vast worlds within the game. I don’t think realism is as important as game systems. Games can be hyper-real and use cutting edge graphics, but actually employ an outdated system. This has held back the development of games. For instance, 2D ﬂying and shooting was invented in 1962 and 3D
ﬁrst person running and shooting in 1992. Imagine if every ﬁlm of the last 50 years was nothing but a brainless action movie. That is the untapped potential we’re hoping to unlock for games in the future. Find out more about Playniac at: http://www.playniac.com Our generation are the ﬁrst to grow up in the Cyber Age and video games are a large part of our culture. So if you haven’t already ... join in, pick up a controller and immerse yourself in the art form of our time! To see the full interview with Rob please visit: www.exposure.org.uk
left to right: Minecraft, Limbo, Space Invader
SELF IMAGE I’m sitting here in my room, ﬂicking through a glossy fashion mag. I look up at the perfect faces on my TV screen selling the latest in ‘beauty technology’. The plastic-pretty Barbie doll, sat on my shelf since I was small, looks down blankly above it all. And I’m wondering why must we judge ourselves against these impossibly high standards? Everywhere we go, the media bombards us with its own idea of beauty: ﬂawless skin, gorgeous hair, skinny waist, etc. On the cover of magazines, we see a supermodel as the ultimate ﬁnished product. But it takes a crew of highly trained specialists hours to achieve this: Makeup Artists with their hair and beauty products, a Photographer with professional equipment and a Designer to digitally erase any imperfection.
Nikol Nikolova girls are 11 they want to look 19, but once they turn 30 want to look 20. Foundation, blusher and highlighters can contain toxic chemicals and overuse can cause your skin to age faster than normal. Everyday I see younger girls at my school, naturally gorgeous girls, thinking it’s cool to look 2 or 3 times their actual age … It’s not! Everyone has a natural shine. Makeup and foundation physically and psychologically mask that shine. Why let others’ opinions inﬂuence the way we look? I’m not suggesting that we throw all our cosmetics in the bin. A touch of lipstick and hint of mascara is great but do not turn yourself into a plastic doll. I think us girls around the world need to learn to appreciate what we’ve got and not jeopardse our futures!
“That doesn’t look like me at all... of course it’s Photoshop” Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence stirred up the media by saying she doesn’t wear makeup when she’s not on set: ‘That doesn’t look like me at all... of course it’s Photoshop.’ But is it really a simple case of saying “Yes, I’m beautiful!”? A study by the University of the Basque Country showed that women buy cosmetics primarily for emotional reasons. It seems to me that even Year 7 girls are now using heavy foundation and eye make-up to appear more mature. They believe by imitating the latest fashion icons they’ll automatically be more attractive. When
DESIGN & PHOTOGRAPHY Hamida Islam I have really enjoyed working on this project with Exposure as a photographer and designer and hope to turn professional with their help and support one day soon.
THE WAY FORWARD Bhavik Oza & Katerina Stoyanova “I have always been curious about politics since I was young,” writes Bhavik. “How is our country run and what goes on behind closed doors in parliament? Now I wonder about my best way forward: a job or higher education?” “Politics, a concept often misunderstood by people like you and me,” says Katerina. “Why is there so much inequality in this world? Why should our age, gender and race determine our opportunities?” Discussing our futures and those of our friends, we spoke to David Burrowes MP for Enﬁeld, Southgate to get some answers.
How do you relate to those that are unemployed? How do you ﬁnd out what their needs are in order to get them the right support and into employment?
of higher education. They will not need to pay tuition costs up front, and graduates will only begin to contribute once they earn over £21,000. There is also support available for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Are there any schemes, apprenticeships or bursaries available that can help young people into higher education or employment? Additional support is being provided to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. As the fees are not required up front, this allows more people to attend university. There is also a 16 to 19 Bursary fund which is available to those who need it.
“Vocational courses have as much value as academic courses” I have been a local solicitor for over 15 years before entering Parliament. Most of my clients were unemployed and so I developed a good understanding of their needs. What policies are in place speciﬁcally for Enﬁeld to tackle unemployment? Job Clubs have been started in Enﬁeld to help deal with unemployment in the area. I am also linked into the Love Your Doorstep network which supports small businesses in Enﬁeld to increase job opportunities for local people.
We appreciate David Burrowes taking time to answer our questions and understand some of the difﬁculties involved in these issues. However, we do feel the government has more to do for young people on a local and national level. To see our interview with David Burrowes MP please visit: www.exposure.org.uk
Do you think more vocational courses for young people would help get them into work? Yes. Vocational courses have as much value as academic courses and can often be better routes into long term work. Would you agree that the increase in university fees penalizes those on a lower income? University graduates who earn higher salaries should contribute more to the costs
Katerina, David Burrowes MP and Bhavik
REVOLUTIONS IN DANCE I was a very shy 7 year old without much conﬁdence. I didn’t speak to many people and had a negative view of myself. Then, my mum found me a place in a local dance school and all that changed. I found a way to express myself and my conﬁdence grew. Now, when I dance, it lets everything out. It’s the real me, a form of self-expression. I’m passionate about all aspects of dance: street, contemporary, freestyle, disco and ballet. It has changed my life. I want more people to experience how amazing dance is and to enjoy the beneﬁts it can bring. It’s a great way to meet new people and improve your social skills. Exposure came to see me at Dance Revolution. I interviewed my teacher Katya to show you how cool she is.
George Conner What exactly is Dance Revolution? Dance Revolution is a performing school which coaches dancers to get jobs in the industry. We teach our pupils about posture, core strength and all the dance genres.
Where do you see Dance Revolution in ﬁve years? We have just moved to a new bigger premises so we have room to expand. More classes and more pupils. Ages will range from 2 - 102!! Have you seen a rise in attendance since the popularisation of street dance? Every time there’s a show on like Britains Got Talent or Got To Dance we get a surge of interest, particularly from boys. Many of them start because there are loads of guys in crews, showing boys it’s ok to dance.
“When I dance, it lets everything out. It’s the real me, a form of self-expression” Katya how did you ﬁrst become interested in dance? I became interested in dance at a very young age. I started to dance at about two and just gradually got involved from there What is your favourite style of dance?
My favourite is modern dance. You can speed it up, slow it down and move your body easily in different directions.
Dance can help people in many ways: ﬁtness, stress release, co-ordination of movement, team-building, friendship and most importantly ... FUN! Get on down to Dance Revolution. It could change your life like it has mine. To see me dance and this interview please visit: www.exposure.org.uk For more information on Dance Revolution visit: www.dancerevolution.co.uk