“It’s not about being popular in the world. It’s about being known in your community”

Peace Y’all!

Jermaine Henry here, Education lead at Spoke N’ Heard and co-facilitator of K.N.O.W.N’Rex initiative in partnership with the Albion Boys & Girls Club. Our focus is on helping young artist/leaders in the rexdale community build confidence in themselves, and a sense of belonging in their community. Through artist development, peer coaching and performance opportunities we support the journey towards creating a meaningful legacy.

We all know what it feels like to have a dream or to strive to be a better version of yourself, right? We’ve all struggle with the growing pains of life, right? Last year, we put on a showcase called “Growing Pains” where we were courageous in sharing our stories.


Check out our last blog to learn more. http://www.spokenheard.ca/knownrex-2015-overview/

I’m sharing this because it’s part of my growing pains too as a young artist and and as a leader As the education lead at Spoke N’ Heard and visionary of I.B.L.V Music Helps dealing with my own identity growth and learning curve. All the while trying to support young people on their journey of self-discovery. The struggle of taking care of myself and career while volunteering to make KNOWN’REX happen is real. Yet I can’t complain, I am blessed to have a great team and blessed to even live my dream.

My journey: 


I’ve had the privilege to fail forward with a team that makes the dream work. I also had the privilege of running the first K.N.O.W.N’REX project last year while I was The Watah Theatre Institute with D’bi Young, growing as a performer via her Sorplusi method. The Watah Theatre Institute helped me cultivate more of who I am, and connected to my purpose. Even though I made the choice for an early exit at Watah. I was given opportunities to perform in raw-theatre festivals and was exposed to the arts scene even more. During that time I was going through a lot of personal and family “pains” that I used art to cope, recording my solo music project “Preview: My Perspective” and then launched in March 2015 at RISE Edutainment. Since then through Spoke N’ Heard I have been performing and facilitating all over the nation at scholarship dinners,camps, conferences, and various events. My dream has been to live as a full-time community artist who is known for my authenticity and passion.

For more about my story visit: www.jermainehenry.ca/about/

Below is my first audition as a performer for The Watah School at RISE Edutainment 2 years ago talk about growing pains!

Shaun’s journey (Behind The Scenes): 

Now, I may not be rich and famous (yet lol) however the knowledge of who I am and sense of purpose in my community is my wealth and honour. Another person I would love to honour is our known’rex participant Shaun Reid who as been going through a lot of beautiful growing pains and is brave enough to share his story and experiences. He just recently released a song call “Cold Dreams” that he is performing in front of a full audience at the Boys & Girls club “Spirit of passion” event. Shaun Reid is a young emcee who in Gr. 12 n’ reps N.A.C.I.( North Albion Collegiate Institute). He’s been writing and recording music for the last few years by himself and is now building up the confidence perform in his community.

KNOWN - Shaun

Below is the behind the scenes to his rehearsal for his first performance on such a big stage for a large audience:

Here are some common myths many hold around being an emcee artist:

“Hip Hop is to be rich and famous”. Hip Hop is a media for us discover who we are and tell our story.

“You’re gonna be the greatest artist from the beginning”. It takes time to develop your craft and build up your confidence.

“People that perform are always confident”. It’s common knowledge now that everyone get that “nervous” energy.

“Your story is not worth saying, you’re not good enough”. Every human being’s story is important and has value. It’s important for us to express ourself to cope with the realities and trauma’s in life.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 3.20.59 PM

Here’s the framework to begin your KNOWN journey:

The first step to known is knowledgeable because it’s important for us to be grounded in questions. I was blessed to have the help of D’Bi Young’s S.O.R.P.L.S.I method questions for self-knowledge.

The K.N.O.W.N questions for KNOWLEDGEABLE are:

Who am I?

What is my craft/passion?

What is my vision?

and finally who is my audience/community?

These question helps us as artists and leader to identify who we are and what we want to do with our lives. We are able to look at ourself, connect with our passion or craft and learn more through experiencing it. We will face both negative and positive perceptions of ourselves. It’s important to believe in our value as a people and people who are creating a positive legacy for our community.


Common ‘mistakes’ we make on this journey:

Bit off more than we can chew: It’s important to have a vision for yourself like building an independent record label, however we gotta start with who we are what’s our craft.

Product before craft: We put together a project and then promote it before having come to a certain mastering our craft.

Let fear from letting you move forward: It’s important to recognize that we have a lot of growth to go with our craft and at the same time be courageous enough to keep pushing forward. It can be scary to wonder if you’ll ever be as good as you envision yourself to be, be patient and compassionate with yourself.

NOW: Ask yourself our those questions above for KNOWLEDGEABLE:

And then create something a poem, rap, short story, spoken word or create a dance or mono-drama 🙂

One Love,

Jermaine Henry

P.S: Let us know your thoughts about our KNOWN project. We appreciate any suggestions, encouragement for shaun or thoughts for the education team. E-mail us via education@spokenheard.ca

Big ups to our all our facilitators and artists-in-training!

Leave a comment