The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main Branch hosted the Teen Media Awards on August 10, 2016. The purpose of the event was to present teens with awards that focused on their strengths in filmmaking, photography, screenwriting, 2D and 3D art, design, poetry, invention, music and more. The awards given included the Ralph Munn creative writing awards as well as the Labsy Awards in other creative fields. Carnegie Library is a vibrant place for teens where they are able to express themselves and show their magnificent talents. Friends and families gathered in the Carnegie Lecture Hall to celebrate their loved ones’ achievements and the night as a whole.
The event was kicked off with a welcoming speech by Mary Frances Cooper, the President and Director of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She spoke about the awards ceremony being very beneficial for teens because it gives them a way to express themselves and show their creativity. She believes that creativity is a wonderful gift. After she gave her speech, hip hop artist and activist Jasiri X was brought up as the keynote speaker.
Jasiri X is an African American male from Chicago, Illinois. As a young boy he attended an all-black school on the south side of Chicago. He explained that he didn’t experience much racism until he moved to Pittsburgh during his high school years. This influenced his start to become a hip hop artist and activist. He knew that he could not fight everybody in the school so he chose to start a club. He and his friends dedicated themselves to rapping and speaking out on racial violence that happens all over the world. As a young rapper, he was told that conscious rap didn’t sell. This made him calm down with rapping and get involved with movements for black lives. Jasiri started his own organization for black males called 1Hood. Black males from all different communities suffer from poverty, violence, police brutality, and more. This group does not only give them something to hold onto but also gives them mentoring and a learning experience.
As he came to the stage his voice roared throughout the auditorium and he started to rap. One line that stood out to me was “and they treat us like garbage where the dirt is.” This line stood out because not only does it focus on what is happening to black people today, it can also be something that relates to the history of slaves and police brutality. Talking with the crowd he discussed how the media made young black men targets and portrayed them in a bad way. For example, Trayvon Martin was a young black man killed by a cop and his name was plastered all over the media with different stories tagged to his name. Adam Lanza, a white individual behind the cause of the Sandy Hook shooting was not framed to be such a bad person. If these two individuals had to be identified nobody would know who Adam Lanza was, but every person from a different race could Identify Trayvon Martin.
After Jasiri X finished his speech, the awards were brought out and given to these talented students. A judge from each category came to the stage and gave a mini speech about the award. Most judges stated that it was a hard decision picking a winner for the awards. As each winner went up to the stage they made short speeches that were warm and touched everyone’s heart. The ages of these candidates amazed me because one of the winners looked to be only about 10 or 11 years old. One of the photos that stood out to me the most was a photography award-winning photo that showed a young women drowning in the ocean. This picture stood out to me because I felt as though this photo had a very deep meaning. The filter of the picture made it even more dramatic and triggered an emotion in me.
Overall I believe that the awards were a success and were very beneficial to me to attend. I now would like to enter one of my pieces into the show.