By Gina Martinez
A Queens native was crowned the NYC Youth Poet Laureate for 2017.
Sharon Lin performed her original poem “A Footnote on a Hollywood Blockbuster” about the lack of Asian representation in Hollywood at the eighth annual Youth Poet Laureate spoken word competition earlier this month at the New York Public Library in the Celeste Bartos Forum.
Her poem read, “If Scarlett Johansson in a black wig and contacts is enough to replace the thousands of Japanese Americans interned away for your film. For the millions of Asian girls who never see themselves, except as exotic sex toys on television. The first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress, and the Senate both in the same year. Why have we waited so long?”
The 18-year-old Corona resident and senior at Stuyvesant High School’s writing has appeared in Muse Magazine, the Asbury Park Press, KidSpirit and The Feminist Wire. She has appeared in Voice of America, de Volkskrant, and Fusion Magazine. She is also a Congressional App Challenge winner for the app iVOTE.
The Youth Poet Laureate spoken word competition is a partnership between NYC Votes and Urban Word NYC. As the Youth Poet Laureate, Lin will work with NYC Votes to reach young voters across the city by promoting voting and civic engagement at public events.
“I am so honored to be the 2017 New York City Youth Poet Laureate,” Lin said. “I am incredibly grateful to have a platform to inspire other youth voices and to communicate the importance of self-expression through art and poetry.”
The 2017 New York City Youth Poet Laureate Ambassadors were also announced at the event. Ambassadors Ta’Shea Parhaml from the Bronx and Brooklyn residents Keanna Hunter, Ianna Hayes and Khalin Vasquez will help Lin reach young voters through the 2017 citywide elections.
“In this charged political season, the poets that touched the stage for the annual NYC Youth Poet Laureate Competition represented the beauty of our city’s diversity and culture. Not only did they bravely speak their truths, but they also reminded us what our democracy is about,” said Michael Cirelli, executive director of Urban Word NYC. “I am hopeful that partnerships to support these important platforms will only elevate our dedication to the good and service of all New Yorkers.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart