By Charlton Stanley
Recent events in the news make this young poet/storyteller/activist’s words even more meaningful. At the Louder Than a Bomb competition, teenager Malcolm London was the top individual performer for 2011, selected from over 700 competitors. His team Youmedia also won the team competition, a first for the LTAB competition.
Malcolm London was an 18-year-old Senior at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago when he made this video two years ago. He speaks of inequalities of the public school system when he says, “The educated aren’t necessarily the educated.”
He says, “My high school is Chicago, diverse and segregated on purpose. Social lines are barbed wire. Labels like regulars and honors resonate. I am in honors but go home with regular students who are soldiers in a territory that owns them. This is a training ground.”
More over the flip.
Malcolm has a part time job at the Young Chicago Authors, located in the Noble Square neighborhood. He says he spends about, “Five times that, because I love it and it’s important.” He travels to area schools to run poetry workshops with students. He also makes public appearances, giving talk at a wide variety of venues, ranging from high school classes to TED Talks. He says it is not for money He does it because it needs to be done.
Malcolm London also works at Northwest Side Mariano’s grocery store. Few customers who see him handing out food samples realize the young man with the bright smile has been compared favorably with some of Illinois’ greatest writers, including Carl Sandberg, Gil Scott-Heron, and Gwendolyn Brooks.
His customers probably have no idea this young man with the food samples is a close friend of actor Matt Damon. London and Damon first met at an event called, “Let the People Speak Live!,” at Metro. This is part of a project called “Voices of a People’s History of the United States,” based on the work of historian Howard Zinn. Let “The People Speak Live!” seeks to further history education and civic engagement through public readings of primary-source materials.
This is called, “Wake Up Call.”
You can find more of his videos on his web page malcolmlondon.com
Below are links to a few news stories about Malcolm London: