Hearts Of Talent
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Hearts of Talent: The contest that's not all about winning
For the founder of a talent contest, it is perhaps surprising that Jasmine Dale really does not care for the term “competition”.
“There are winners, but we do not like to use the word competition because it just sounds naff,” she says.
Her project, Hearts of Talent, has seen numerous young Londoners send in entries highlighting their skills in either rap, song, film, dance or spoken word.
Some 200 people are expected at in-person auditions, which take place at Boxpark Wembley in north-west London on Friday, with another 200 due to appear at the final one on 18 February.
A semi-final will then follow with the best three from each category taking part in the final at Wembley Stadium next month.
Hearts of Talent began in 2019 as The Brent Factor. Covid meant an online event was held last year, while the pandemic has also slightly scaled back plans for the upcoming contest.
“As of next year, between the auditions and the finals we’re going to provide mentorship classes to entrants so they can develop and project themselves and give them confidence. We’ll also give them an understanding of what goes on behind the scenes with things like contracts,” Ms Dale says.
It is those classes that have had to be cut this year, but the contest does still have several ambassadors involved to help guide those young people taking part.One of those is the rapper K9, who was set to take part in the competition in 2019 but ended up as a mentor.”Growing up in east London – Hackney – I’ve seen young people get involved in gang crime and knife crime and they have negative impacts on themselves and on families,” he told the BBC.
“People I’ve seen have gone to prison and they end up in worse situations and even died so it’s important to help young people find their skills, help them develop, whether that be through art, music or performing arts, to keep them focused and keep them away from gang activity.”
Ms Dale says she had family members herself who “went down the wrong road” and it was her own background that led to her setting up the contest.
“I had a dance tutor when I went to school, Miss Barker. She gave me the opportunity to dance at a theatre and entered me into a youth project.
“She saw potential in me and I always said I would do the same.”
Ms Dale says her contest is “really making a difference” with previous winners – a singer and a poet – now “doing amazing things”, and plans in the future for a permanent academy to keep developing the capital’s youth.
However, she insisted that Hearts of Talent was not only about those who ended up victorious, but everyone who chooses to take part in the process.
“I hate to say winner. What we say is there’s work behind the scenes, there are other pathways.