New STARZ series America to Me is set to shed light on US racial disparities from the perspective of our youth. Beginning today, the network has launched the “Share Your Voice” contest, where U.S. teens have the opportunity to win a $25,000 scholarship for sharing their own stories through spoken word.
The competition challenges students ages 14 to 19 to answer the question, “What does America mean to me?” in a 60-second original spoken word video. Entry submissions are being accepted through October 7 via Instagram or Twitter using #AmericatoMeContest and #STARZ hashtags, or by uploading it to www.AmericaToMe.com.
Judges will select the top five, whose videos will be posted to the website October 14, giving America the chance to select a winner through October 22. The winner of the $25K scholarship will be announced October 28.
“This spoken word contest encourages students to share, in their own words, what it’s like to live and learn in America today,” said Alison Hoffman, Chief Marketing Officer for Starz. “It’s illuminating to hear the students of Oak Park tell their stories in the series, and we look forward to hearing different perspectives from students around the country.”
The network describes the powerful new series below:
“America to Me follows students, teachers and administrators in suburban Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School, one of the country’s highest performing and diverse public schools, over the course of a year, as they grapple with decades-long racial and educational inequities — in addition to the challenges that today’s teenagers face.
“Digging deep into the experiences of a racially diverse student population, America to Me sparks candid conversations about what has succeeded and what has failed in the quest to achieve racial equity and overcome obstacles in America’s education system. [Director Steve] James captures critical moments within this vibrant high-school ecosystem with students who share their confessionals of how their American experience has been.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.