I judged a hyped 8th grade team slam Saturday night(yesterday). It is part of a program from America Scores. The Cleveland Scores chapter did a lot of work along side school administrators, coaches, parents and other volunteers in this soccer/ poetry program. They should all be applauded for their concern and hard work. Here are the schools involved who all sent teams to represent. Veteran slammer and poet Educator Ray McNiece MC'd the event and several area veteran poets performed and read.
A quartet in the tradition of Backstreet Boys, called Added FX performed. Their website says:"
Added FX is a hip-hop R&B group comprised of four talented young men based out of Cleveland, Ohio. They were bonded by one common interest, pure dedication and drive to succeed as performers. Billy West, Jeremy Rath, Jay Rogers, and Donnie Cole came together and began their journey to achieve their goals:
- To soar to the top of the music industry with their strong work ethic and drive.
- To impress everyone who sees them perform live with their intense dancing, smooth flows, and tight harmony.
- To create and perform music that touches the soul, making a positive change in the lives of their listeners. "
They were fun to watch. One of the group showing great showmanship that the others rarely did. They seemed to be steeped in concentrating on the dance moves event to the point of letting a tongue hang out. At one point I turned to look at the youth audience and there were 6 or 7 rows of girls ranging from maybe 10 years of age to early pubescence standing and dancing.
The one down side of their act was a song with the hook, "I wanna freak you all night." I thought this was totally inappropriate for such a young audience. I wonder is this just me? We have such a superficial, materialistic, sexual society . We send them messages like this and then bemoan teen pregnancies. In the black community, I read 98% of girls have had sex by the time they leave high school. It was reported to be 58% in Hispanic communities. No numbers for everybody else were available. I find these numbers hard to believe but still, what's wrong with this picture? I assumed the SCORE folks had no idea that the group would do a song like this but then I don't know. Many of the young adults there were smiling ear to ear, pumping fists in the air at these lyrics. Are we just numb from sex shots to the gums that we can't speak? Are we so inundated with the message that we don't hear it or have just plain ole given in to it? Am I over reacting? Chime in.
Well like the Backstreet Boys at the beginning of their carreers who had to get started abroad because they couldn't cut it in the USA, Added FX is mediocre at best with damn good music beats behind them. They could be more but like so many in our society their wrectchedness may soon be clothed in bling.