Las Vegas, NV – Local Portsmouth native Jasmine Kiah attended the 36th annual NAACP ACT-SO competition this week and took home the silver medal amongst 600 candidates.
The organization’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) feature 27 competitions of which Kiah participated in three: oratory, poetry and drama. At the National level gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded along with cash awards of $2,000, $1,500 and $1,000 in each category. Kiah received the silver medal for the oratory competition.
She was one of 10 students selected from the local ACT-SO to represent Virginia on a national level. Her younger brother Earnest Kiah was also selected and attended the competition. These ACT-SO showcases give students the opportunity to compete on the national level.
“Its confirmation from God that I can really do it and this is what I am supposed to be doing. He makes room for your gifts,” Kiah states after learning of her recent win. “Spoken word is my outlet to express myself.”
Kiah was first exposed to the arts after seeing the Hampton Roads Youth Poets performing. She told her mom that she wanted to do spoken word.
“I didn’t know I would be a part of it a four years later,” Kiah says after first auditioning at 14.
Kiah says she was inspired to do her spoken word based on how people talked about and still feel about racial tensions.
“I wanted to do a piece on interracial relationships because I have friends whose parents still don’t believe in it. Unfortunately some people are still racists. My inspiration comes from God and those he places around me.”
Tangie O’Neal General