Youth Development Experiences of Seasoned Artists

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Title: Stock. Being. Become

Author: Rita Ezenwa-Okoro

Editor: New degree press

Year: 2022

Paging: 138

REVALUATOR: Henri Akubuiro

“I I like to see myself as the queen bee of the youth spaces that I lead. I am more of a listener and observer, looking for the perfect opportunity for areas of proximal development and collective learning moments. My queen expression often occurs during reflective sessions: our innovative circle of trust where culture makers interpret who they are, who they are not, and who they are becoming through immersive storytelling using various art forms” ( p.123).

The above excerpt from Rita Ezenwa-Okoro’s Stock. Being. Becoming: For the Love of the Creative Arts offers insight into who the author is and where their offering is going. The author is not just a high-flying thief, but a person who spent his youth in profitable businesses and did not give in to his desire for youth development. She has been part of the Nigerian creative industry ever since she appeared in a Raid TV commercial as a child model. She then studied Creative Arts at the University of Lagos, obtaining the best student. She has also acted as an actress, performed as a recording artist and in church for community development.

She was set to earn a master’s degree in media and communications after thriving as a copywriter and creative strategist in advertising agencies in West Africa. She has also been involved in personal NGOs and youth-oriented projects over the years, including Street Project Foundation, Creative Youth Boot Camp, Digital Amazons, Street University, ARTvocacy, Talent Hub, Project Raw, Project Uplift, Haven Project and a Smile for December.

This book seeks to establish a link between the creative arts and the development of young people and, by extension, other fields of human activity. It provides the target audience, including students, teachers, and the general reader, with new perspectives and hands-on experiences on how performing art can be harnessed for agenda-setting and radical development. worldwide. It also functions as a semi-blueprint for the strategic organization of youth and how they can influence the immediate the environment and take up the great challenges inherent in the great behemoths.

The beginning of the book deliberately reads like a writer’s coming-of-age story, as it depicts the neighborhood of Festac, Lagos, as a young girl growing up in the metropolis. But the author is simply using his personal trajectory as a tempting bet. Throughout the book, she draws from her repertoire of experiences as she goes through different stages of life into middle age and how each artistic experience unfolded, incubated, and struck a chord with many. many hearts beyond its surroundings. This is not a book valuing the self but a book of validating the usefulness of the arts, using its own defining moments as a ticket. Part of the book also dwells on mental health and the arts.

Writing on the foreword, Lois Holman of the East Side Institute, New York, USA, describes the author as a powerhouse with impressive and inspiring achievements, but the developmental processes she chronicles in the book are what he considers premium for the reader. What development processes does the book offer as takeaways? A few examples would be illustrative in the course of this review, but the reader is bound to find the rest for himself when reading this book written in a fluent style, interwoven with relevant quotations taken from relevant authorities.

The first chapter opens with the author’s childhood fascination with books and how they shaped his formative years. Music and dancing were also a fascination for her at home. Television programs, both local and international, broadened his horizons of the outside world. These and others positioned her to be an agent of change later in life.

The process of creating his Street Project Foundation, the idea of ​​which was nurtured in 2002 at a time when the National Theater of Nigeria was in a coma and Nollywood was nascent, and investment in the arts as a tool for human development was limited, opened his eyes in the second chapter. Meanwhile, she was having fun with NYSC’s One House Music Unit, which saw her sing and dance for fun during her National Youth Service. This experience led to the creation of the Street Project Foundation and other evangelism and community development groups. From Lagos, where he left, the author recalls how the idea of ​​the Street Project was replicated in West Africa and is now a global community supporting training and mentoring.

The broader meanings of the performing arts for the author are described in the fourth chapter. Nigeria’s 2020 nationwide EndSars protest, championed by youth, the author says, had an elixir of music and performance, which highlights the importance of the arts for peaceful protests in today’s world. This is equivalent to shining the light.

The author echoes in the fifth chapter that we need many community interventions to free us from poverty, which is prevalent in Africa. In the sixth chapter, she focuses on community organizing for strategic goals and changing the status quo. With the success recorded at the EndSars protests, the author is giving a boost to active citizenship and political participation for millennials. In the seventh chapter, the reader is led to follow the author’s endless organizational capacity in the Queen Bee project where young people and adults operate by providing a blow-by-blow account of the debates as a development practitioner young people. Although the process takes time to achieve worthy results, the benefits are marginal, as we see in the eighth chapter where she offers important steps to take to make a social difference. The importance of poetic healing and the arts in mental health echoes in the ninth chapter. We also appreciate his role in the mental health awareness campaign here. This book is a gold mine for creative industries and youth development. Read it.

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