Young Promoter Q&A – Kema Sikazwe

Our Young Promoter Suzanne, from Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, talked to one of our regular and very popular Participate workshop artists, Kema Sikazwe. This last week Kema has been finishing a music project at Stanhope Barrington CE Primary School in County Durham and in June, will be back with us at two rural Carlisle schools in Cumbria. Our thanks to Kema for taking the time out to answer Suzanne’s questions.

Kema Sikazwe was brought up in the West End of Newcastle upon Tyne. He developed a passion for rap, singing, and song writing, which he developed in a local youth project where he spent most of his time as a teenager. It was not until his early 20s he became interested in acting where he went on to land a leading role in BAFTA, BIFA Palme D’or award-winning film ‘I Daniel Blake’. Kema is a Board member for Gateway Studio in Gateshead, a community space for people from all backgrounds and journeys, who believe that inclusivity in the arts has the power to bring communities together, to change lives and kickstart careers.

Suzanne: Hi Kema

As a Board member of Gateway Studio, why do you think is so important to have community arts classes available for people of all colours, ages and genders?

Kema: i think the question itself answers why its important. It’s important to have a variety of different people in all spaces which will get rid of beliefs that one should be practicing a certain art form based on colour or age or gender- it’s important to have a space that’s open for everyone.

Suzanne: What do you hope to achieve through your workshops with Highlights and other arts partners that you work with and why are you so passionate about this work and being so involved in working with young people?

Kema: To give young people an outlet. I think being creative speaks a language that can’t be put into words sometimes. I came from a youth project and I wouldn’t have the career I have now without working with practitioners who helped me channel my emotions and use creativity as an outlet. I see the positive impact on my own life, it’s great to spread a message, spark a debate or just for personal use. I see myself in the young people and I believe if you’re in a position of influence it’s a duty to use it to help other people.

Suzanne: Gateway Studio, which is a based in Gateshead is presented as having predominantly dance classes however are you interested in possibly expanding Gateway into a place that provides more music and drama opportunities as well as dance?

Kema: Yes, it’s why I’m involved, as it’s going to expand in all different art forms from theatre, to music recording, podcasts and many more. They all connect one way or another so I’m hoping I can use my expertise and skills to help Gateway bring the other art forms to life.

Suzanne: Are there any projects you are involved in at the moment or are planning that you could tell us about?

Kema: Career wise, I’ve finished an album, am currently writing for TV which is still on the hush at the moment and up and down the North visiting schools doing what I do, helping young people create art!


Thanks to Allendale Primary School, Northumberland for the photo 

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