Meet Your Neighbor - Jade Foster by robbiecokkin


									          neighborhood news

                                            Meet Your Neighbor - Jade Foster
                                              Duke Ellington grad bringing poetry into our homes
                                                                           by Maceo Thomas

                        C     rossing the dark parking lot, a pair of young twen-
                              ty-something’s navigate their way to the apartment
                        building just blocks from the Benning Road Metro sta-
                                                                                        ly served as a guest judge for a middle school poetry
                                                                                        contest hosted by the Higher Achievement Program at
                                                                                        Kelly Miller Middle School. Offering precise critique
                        tion. Buzzed in they climb the stairs and arrive at a small     and questioning the young poets use of similes, personifi-
                        apartment that has been turned into the venue for The           cation and metaphors, Jade is a teacher at heart.
                        Black Church Maraca, a poetry open mic night.                       “I’m praying about becoming a classic classroom and
                            In the middle of the forty–some audience members            chalkboard teacher in the near future,” she says. Jade
                        standing against the wall, comfortably squeezed on the          returned to DC after graduating from Sarah Lawrence
                        couch and sitting on the floor, is the hostess, casually         College where she studied history and writing. Recog-
                        dressed in a red t-shirt, blue jeans and a large smile.         nizing her gifts and the benefits she received at Duke
                            Meet your neighbor, Jade Foster.                            Ellington, she looks to inspire students who may not have
                            Tall, nearly six feet, with a close cropped hair cut and    a strict focus on the arts.
                        electric smile, Jade Foster, is a force of energy all to her-       “I just want young people to read and stimulate their
                        self. This night she is the host of a roaming open mic          imaginations. I want to give young people access to craft
                        night supported by young creatives arriving from all over       in this city. Going to Duke gave me an advantage as a
                        DC and out-of-towners coming together to share their            person and as an artist. But there are so many other gifted
                        words, music and passion in a manner that would remind          kids out here who might not have that luxury and I just
                        another generation of a rent party with a twist -- three        want to sit down with them and say here -- here’s a cool
                        dollars to get in, two fifty for a drink and snacks for ev-      author -- check them out.”
                        eryone.                                                             The Black Church Maraca has become a monthly
                            Last year after developing a chapbook – a short com-        event and was recently hosted at the home of another
                        pilation of poems- Jade searched for a venue to perform         River East poet and host of Anacostia’s Honfleur Gal-
                        pieces from the book. She decided to make the event a           lery’s monthly poetry show, Fred Joiner. Jade continues
                        house party and was invited to use her friend Jasmine           searching for other individuals to open their homes to
                        Burems’ home.                                                   allow poetry to flow through the community. The idea
                            “It was fun,” she recalls of the inaugural event. “We       of offering safe space for new and seasoned poets has al-
                        just recognized the energy and the sharing that came            lowed poetry to move from the late night bar scenes to
                        with being in a house and having an open mic and food           the comfort of the homes in the community.
                        and wine.”                                                          “I’ve invited my grandmother, even,” as she makes it
                              When it was all done and over, it had to continue.        clear poetry has a voice for everyone.
                        “Jasmine looked at me and was like, ‘Yo! We should do this          If interested in registering for the Black Church Maraca
                        every month and call it Black Church Maraca.’” So named         mailing list or hosting an event in your home, contact Jade
                        from the title of one of Foster’s poems, this poetry house      Foster at
                        party is reminiscent of the
                        exciting energy the tam-                                                                         Maceo Thomas lives in Ft.
                        bourine builds at a Sunday                                                                       Dupont Park. He is a Re-
                        service while tipping a hat                                                                      altor and community activ-
                        to the community built                                                                           ist. He is the co-founder of
                        by the African American                                                                          Liberated Muse Produc-
                        church.                                                                                          tions, created to promote
                            Jade, a Duke Elling-                                                                         artistry and awareness of
                        ton High School grad,                                                                            issues pivotal to urban com-
                        is actively involved in                                                                          munities. He can be reached
                        advancing poetry in the                                                                          at
                        community. She recent-                                                                           and on Facebook. ★

38 ★ East of the River | March 2009
Open Enrollment from
February 24th – March 19, 2009
Howard Road Academy
Serving Pre-School - 7th


  At HRA we offer:
  Strong Curriculum for all students
  Spanish as a foreign language
  Character education with an extended
     school day & year
  Paragon studies which teaches a
     variety of historical cultures
     from multiple countries           For More Information:
  Before and After Care                     202.610.4193
                                         Main Campus: K -7th
                                        701 Howard Road SE
     Enroll Your Child              Penn Campus: Pre-School - 3rd
        Today for                     3000 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
       2009-2010                           202.583.2828
       School Year                   G Street Campus: 3rd - 6th
                                         4625 G. Street, SE


                                         ★ 39

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