Spoken word artist Di-Andre Silvera wowed the audience on his way to winning the Alter Ego 2014 talent competition at the Hackney Empire on Friday.
Thirteen-year-old Silvera, from Hackney, showed maturity and political awareness when delivering a powerful rendition of his own prose. This was Silvera’s first time at the competition.
Hosted by MTV Base presenter Kat B, Alter Ego allows the borough’s brightest performance talent between the ages of 13 and 19 to audition for a place in the final at the Hackney Empire.
Silvera was speechless when the result was announced onstage and stunned by the reaction of the audience.
The pupil of Skinners Academy in Hackney said: “I want to write for big stages like this and the West End; one day I hope to go global.”
“My words are my own. I wish our teachers would give us more of an opportunity to say what we feel.”
In an arena almost full to capacity, mainly with Hackney’s black and ethnic minority children, teenagers and parents, the different acts showed their talents, under pressure from cheers and boos from the audience, who voted by text message.
Alter Ego is in its third successive year and launches Discover Young Hackney (DYH), an initiative of Hackney Council, designed to encourage creativity in young people in the borough. DYH runs throughout February.
Vocalist Jermaine Jackman, who recently appeared on The Voice on BBC1, was runner-up at Alter Ego in 2012.