All About the Classic Slam 2023
Fresh new experience, classic Get Lit vibes.
And that’s a wrap! Thousands of students attended the 12th annual Classic Slam over the course of a few days last week. We experienced poems of deep emotion, from the quarterfinals at LATC to the finals at the Ace Theater; we witnessed exhilarating moments of connection between students from competing teams in our rock-paper-scissors tournament; and most importantly, we felt our community come together to celebrate each other in a big way. Thanks to the pandemic, many of the attending students hadn't been on a field trip since elementary school!
Thank you to everyone: judges, attendees, donors, the students who poured out their souls on the stage, and the coaches who guided them through the process. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for your year-round support of the work at Get Lit, which culminates in this one magical week. We are truly grateful.
But as we say — the point isn’t the points, it’s the practice! We couldn’t be more proud of every person who stepped onstage. Congratulations to the spectacular poets who gave their all on the quarterfinals stage, and to our final four teams: GALA (coached by Rachel Knopfler), Harvard-Westlake (coached by Eric Olson and Sara Cohen), Cleveland, and Mark Keppel.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR JUDGES
Malcolm-Jamal Warner: Emmy-Nominated Actor
Lee Herrick: California Poet Laureate
Luis Rodriguez: Former Los Angeles Poet Laureate
Mila Cuda: Former West Coast Youth Poet Laureate, Harvard-Westlake Alumni, and TikTok Superstar!
Grace Weber: GRAMMY-Winning Singer-Songwriter and Producer
Salome Agbaroji: West Coast Youth Poet Laureate
And our fabulous host, Ashley August!
The Classic Slam film and production crew had a massive success this year, capturing the incredible poetry of the competition and creating media that will be enjoyed digitally by millions of people in the coming months. Throughout the weekend, the Media Team employed 14 young filmmakers from Poetic Filmmakers Lab (our in-house filmmaking program), Ghetto Film School, UCLA Film School, and USC Film School!
At our wrap meeting, one filmmaker said: “This is one the best film sets I’ve ever been on and gives me hope for humanity.” We agree! It was so special to see this filmmaking community inspiring one another in front of the camera and behind.
Check out the press on the Classic Slam!
Nerds of Color
Nerds of Color reporter Elijah Isaiah Johnson wrote about his experience attending the Classic Slam:
“there’s something pure about returning to the basics — the organic material — of spoken word. If the Golden Age of poetry began with Poe, Emerson, and Whitman, then the Renaissance begins here.”
Check out the full Nerds of Color article here!
Watch the red carpet interviews of celebrity judges like Malcom-Jamal Warner, a few clips of star poems, and more in this segment by news outlet THE BUZZ!
& stay tuned for a special segment in Spectrum News later this month! 👀
Of course, special thanks to our sponsors: Vans and William Morris Endeavor!
And to those who donated to sponsor a student, giving hundreds of youth poets the opportunity to attend the Classic Slam: THANK YOU! We couldn't have done this without your support.
Ronen Rubinstein (9-1-1: Lone Star) joins 19-year-old poet Libby Oren in delivering an inspirational reading of her poem "No One Else" to celebrate Pride Month 2023.
Get Lit's monthly Breathing Fire: celebrating Mental Health Awareness month, pride reading lists, and more!
"Mental health has always been an area that has been important to me. The Get Lit curriculum allows students to learn ways to express what they are feeling, or going through, but more importantly, know they are not alone, and feel supported."
Nerds of Color: "Mental Health Awareness Takes Center Stage at Get Lit’s ‘Our Worlds Collide’ Screening"
"If there’s anything we can learn from the coming generation, it’s that community, self-expression, and the power of words count much more than we might think."
So grateful for this feature on Spectrum News’ What’s Good all about the power of youth poetry, as witnessed at the Classic Slam 2023!