Teen Media Awards

By Demarre Evans- 12th Grade, Central Catholic High School

ThTMA-electronic-860x480-860x480e Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh hosted the Teen Media Awards on August 10, 2016, at the main branch in Oakland. The Teen Media Awards are presented at an event featuring the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Awards as well as the Labsy Awards. With a total 11 categories and 21 winners, the event left me speechless.  The categories were Photography, Filmmaking, Screenwriting, 2D Art & Design, Cover Art, 3D Art Design, Short Prose, Invention Music, Poetry, and Fashion.

The awards ceremony was kicked off with a keynote address given by Jasiri X. Jasiri started out very powerfully with a rap that truly got the crowds attention. He then started into his speech which was about how we have the power to create change with the use of the media. He dived into his story of his upbringing as a hip-hop artist and activist. He stated that he went to an all black school in the Southside of Chicago and never experienced racism firsthand until moving to Pittsburgh. This was what got him started into being an activist.

Jasiri X giving his keynote address. Picture from Jasiri X's instagram page.

Jasiri X giving his keynote address. Picture from Jasiri X’s Instagram page, @jasiri_x.

Jasiri started rapping when a friend of his, who happened to be a DJ, got him into it. He wanted to rap about the problems we face in America rather than the common things that hip-hop artists rap about, making him different from the rest. For example, his first hit song that got him discovered was  Free The Jena 6. This song talks about the protests and rallies in support of the Jena Six, a group of black teenagers from Jena, Louisiana who were convicted of beating a white teenager who attended Jena High School. Jasiri’s group of friends were interested in the same things as he, mainly activism. Together they started a group and media academy known as 1Hood. 1Hood is a group of hip-hop artists and activists whose goal is to promote change through the media as well as to teach youth about how to use the media for good.

With his next topic being media biases, Jasiri asked the crowd two questions. They were to name two individuals. First, he asked them to identify the person on the left. Without, hesitation, the audience said “Trayvon Martin.” Trayvon-Martin-in-hoodieJasiri then showed the second image, the one on the right. Cam you guess who that is? If not, you are just like every member of the crowd. The individual is Adam Lanza, the person behind the Sandy Hook shooting.Adam Lanza The media controls the little things about society such as being able to identify two individuals, so it is not a bad thing that you cannot name Adam Lanza at first glance. That was Jasiri’s point in showing the two pictures. He went on to say that with our cellphones, we can change the way that the media works.

After the keynote address, the awards were then presented. Every award winner had so much talent and truly deserved to win. Based on the judge’s comments, it seems as if they had a moderately difficult time choosing a winner because of all of the talent found within the submissions. Though not every judge could attend to present the award, they left notes about the winner’s pieces for the presenters to read. All of the comments and notes about the submission were very heartfelt and shows that the judges really put a lot of thought into who they selected.

The categories for the Labsy Awards were photography, filmmaking, 2D art & design, cover art, 3D art & design, invention, music, and fashion. Below is a list of all of the winners:


2nd Place- Andrew Karman

1st Place- Jaya Alagar


2nd Place- “Grandfather” by Mehrnaz Tiv

1st Place- “The Art of Play” by Ben Nadler

2D Art & Design

2nd Place- Brianna Hayes

1st Place- “Heritage” by Alison Pirl

Cover Art

Louis Suarez: his cover art submission will be the cover of the 2017 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology

3D Art & Design

2nd Place- Alison Pirl

1st place- “Pidgeot” by Daedalus Brockner


2nd Place- “Waterproof PC” by Westley Bates

1st Place- “Brainwave” by Amulya Garimella


2nd Place- “Wishing Time” by Nadia Huber

1st Place- “Swimming Pools featuring Len Stone” by Jeremy Levin


2nd Place- “Acid Washed Jeans” by Toi Jones

1st Place- “Tech Dress” by Matt Muschick


The categories for the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Awards we poetry, short prose, and screenwriting. Below is the list of winners in each category:


2nd Place- “Paradox of my People” by Brianna Kline Costa

1st Place- “Against the Wind” by Elana Ragan

Short Prose

2nd Place- “Dear Thotappa” by Mahima Reddy

1st Place- “The R Word” by Megan Williams


2nd Place- “The Modern Antique” by Mehrnaz Tiv

1st Place- “Winterreise” by Louis Suarez


The awards ceremony was an exhilarating event. From the way Jasiri X captured everybody’s attention in the beginning with his keynote address to seeing all of the winners come forward to receive an award for all of their hard work. The event truly left me speechless when seeing all of the talents that Pittsburgh has. It is events and competitions like these that allow the youth of America to really get creative, express themselves, and get their voices heard. Though this event focused on creativity, people are very talented in noncreative ways as well, such as sports. This event was perfect in order to let creativity run loose amongst the youth of Pittsburgh in all off the different categories for competition. The Teen Media Awards was an amazing event and I am excited to see the event next year.


Demarre Evans

Demarre Evans is a 12th Grader at Central Catholic High School. A resident of Penn Hills, he enjoys activities such as music, art and writing.

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