On Wednesday 10 October I was invited to speak at the Brum Youth Trends Summit hosted by Beatfreeks. Little did I know, I was the closing speaker...I had no choice but to #dropthemic.
My speech and pledge to Birmingham:
I would like to thank Beatfreeks for having me here today and I’d also like to acknowledge all the other awesome guest speakers.
Ask yourself, ‘Why is Birmingham losing some of its most talented, skilled and accomplished people?’
In December 2015, I moved to BBC Children’s in Salford for the dream job of a Television Presenter. I knew Birmingham couldn’t offer me this type of PAID work and thought Birmingham didn’t appreciate me, but I wasn’t the only one...
From 2012–2015, I was the voluntary Executive Producer of Birmingham and the West Midlands Celebrating Youth Excellence Awards, a ceremony which recognised the achievements and positive contributions of young people, parents, teachers and organisations in the community. Run by under 25s, our motto was ‘Everyone is Designed for Greatness’, because at the time, the heavy focus on gun and knife crime, a lack of financial backing and a lack of support for these unsung community heroes emphasised that ‘great young people didn’t sell newspapers’.
I didn’t feel like coming back to Birmingham, but destiny overruled me. When I’m not presenting, I work behind the camera as a Digital Researcher, creating video content for BBC Children’s.
I tweeted a 30-second clip of a video I pitched and directed last year for CBeebies to commemorate Black History Month. It now has over 20,000 views, 500 retweets and 1000 likes. The best thing is that 4 out of 6 contributors casted for the video are Birmingham talent!
Even when I wasn’t physically present, Birmingham was still with me; deep down I had a desire to prove Birmingham has greatness.
So how are you using your professional position to change the face of Birmingham?
The Brum Youth Trends report is an excellent example of giving young people the voice, space and platform to become change makers for their city.
Young people are not hard to reach; they’re just easy to miss. Like one young person mentioned: “...There are some youth that actually have good thoughts but adults only focus on troubled youth...”
My mission will be to help young people get their ‘good thoughts heard’ by continuing to develop and create ideas for corporations like the BBC, that put Birmingham’s hidden talent on the map. The report is a great for my content development research to ensure that the young Brummie feels appreciated.
Don’t expect Birmingham’s young people to simply enjoy existing in this city, give them a reason to live, hope, aspire and imagine a future, right here. Start by giving your time or being a listening ear, continue with support through mentorship, practical resources, access to opportunities and celebrating their successes.
From this moment, everything you do matters. Everything you don’t do matters. I’m now publicly accountable for my actions now it’s your turn: what are you going to do about the future of your Birmingham?
Talisha 'Tee Cee' Johnson