Yesterday was a whirlwind first day as Miss New York. After four hours of sleep, I was in hair and makeup, getting ready for my first live television appearance on the CW 11. I had a blast! I did pretty well for my first interview and loved being on set.
I didn't have any more scheduled appearances after that, so I decided to stop by The All Stars Project. They were have their Open House/ Registration day for their University X classes. Basically, it's free seminars and classes in areas like public speaking, acting, improv, woodshop, and poetry.
For those of you who aren't aware, my personal platform is support the arts and arts education. The arts know no limitations. The self discovery that can come through art is profound. The All Stars understands this very well. It is a non-profit organization that focuses on youth and community development through performance. New York City has numerous cosmopolitan experiences to offer. From museums to Broadway shows, these opportunities are everywhere. It is such experiences that enrich our lives, inspiring us and helping to develop our character. Our poorer communities do not often partake in these art forms. As a result, they are not as developed, and development is the key catalyst in learning. It's what sparks an interest in learning. So, we need to bring artistic experiences to these minorities. The best way to do so is through performance. If a child can get up on stage and perform for an audience, he can perform in other areas of his life as well. He can perform the role of a good student. He can perform his way through a job interview. Performance is a necessary part of life. The All Stars Project is working toward a performance revolution, and I'm proud to be a volunteer.
Yesterday, I arrived just in time to watch the youth programs perform a MLK Day Show titled "Honoring Dr. King with a Performance Revolution." If there is anyone who understood social change, development, appreciation, and performance, it was Mr. King.
There was a surprise guest at this performance, and I was beyond excited to watch Ben Vereen enter the stage. This man is a performance icon. His career has spanned decades and all forms of art. Over ten years ago, I saw him perform in Fosse. It was my first time in a Broadway audience. This man understands the importance of MLK's work, performance art, and our youth's development. He then began to sing an impromptu version of "the greatest love of all", pointing out that this love is found in our youth. That moment made my day. The fact that these kids were sharing the same stage as this performance veteran almost brought me to tears.
The young performers then took the stage performing songs, dances, and excerpts of Dr. King's speeches. You could see how hard each kid practiced, and how invested they were in this performance. Their hard work certainly paid off, because as a watched each number, I became more and more inspired. Offering our youth avenues of healthy self-expression is vital in their success. And I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that provides kids with such opportunities.