A team of primary school rappers has won first place in a poetry slam at Grace Academy Darlaston run by Andy Craven-Griffiths, renowned lead singer and rapper for his band ‘Middleman’.
The winning rappers from Years 3 and 4 at Kings Hill Primary School beatboxed their way to victory against 53 of their school mates in a rapping battle that inspired them to get interested in, and enjoy, the spoken word.
The ‘Poetry Phantoms’ team from Kings Hill celebrated the art of rhythm and rhyme with lyrics including: “I’d change maths to six hours of napping, then for all the rest of the day be rapping.”
Andy Craven-Griffiths, who has performed his poetry live on stage at Glastonbury, and done broadcast work for Radio 1, Radio 4 and BBC 2, said:
“I want young people to realise that poetry is just a fun way of saying what you want to say. There isn’t a set subject matter and the most important thing about rapping is honesty and humour. It’s just a strict rhythm applied to a poem.
“I love the spoken word. Performing live music is adrenalin-based, but when you get in a room to speak and people are listening and connecting, it makes you feel alive. If what you say speaks to people, then you feel connected to them. Having a spoken word artist say they started because they saw me is humbling and exciting.
“The easiest way to get started is to just do it! There is no magic formula and it’s free so anyone can write, rap and just say stuff. It should be about having fun and playing. The favourite thing I have done is write a commissioned piece for the Rethink Mental Health Charity to de-stigmatize depression in young men.”
Teacher Mrs Julie Bryant from Kings Hill Primary School said:
“The children thoroughly enjoyed it and it was fantastic for their self-confidence and development. It’s really good to develop speaking, listening, literacy and English skills. Andy has been brilliant with the children and brought out their poetic skills.”
Sarah Giles from Grace Academy Darlaston who helped to organise the poetry slam, added:
“We want to inspire the younger generation to develop their confidence and skills in communication, writing and teamwork, in a fun, lively environment that will encourage them to write on their own at home.”