On the afternoon of Saturday March 13th, two of Thurgood Marshall's own, juniors John "Jaytee" Tucker and Kyle Holley, had the honor of being participants in the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Annual Talent Hunt competition. The two were alerted of the opportunity by the caring and thoughtful assertion of faculty members, Mr. Mitchell and Ms. Jones. Thurgood Marshall was represented in the preliminary audition round by four current students: John Tucker, Kyle Holley, Shamir Fauntleroy, and Brandon Kelly. John and Kyle shone through, and ultimately represented Thurgood in the actual production.
On the day of the show, the two artists showed up to the competition focused and ready to put on a performance. And it was alongside no easy slate of competitors. The students showcased were from schools all over the DC area, including students from the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts, School Without Walls, Luke C. Moore Academy, among others. This also added the aspect of diversity to the contest, having a category for Speech, Dance, Vocal, and Instrument. So with all the pressure and competition included, the show began and the students performed.
Kyle Holley was the first of the two Thurgood students to perform, doing an original poem entitled "Closer" that spoke to his view of society as a young male. He made an impression on the audience and judges. But the original stylings and scripting of John "Jaytee" Tucker captivated all in attendance. Dressed in a full tuxedo, complete with signature shoes and bow tie, John inhabited the stage and made it his own. His incredible poem entitled "Black History" was an amazing passage of word play, consisting of fact and historical events that were carefully intertwined with real emotion and feeling that only can be captured by life experiences. As the competition continued there were many memorable performances that wowed the crowd.
Yet at shows end, John's performance held true to its initial reaction of amazement and he received the night's top honor in the Speech Category of first place and a $500 reward!The win was well deserved, and John shared the moment through a rush of hugs, smiles and plenty pictures with his mother and little brother who were both attendance, as well as friends and a slew of newfound admirers. Along with his monetary reward, came an incredible opportunity to showcase his incredible poem once again on live radio!
On the following Tuesday night, John and other first place winners of the competition were all featured on the live talk radio station 89.3 WPFW Jazz, to "re-present" their talents or speak on their inspirations as artists. Once again, John represented Thurgood Marshall well in his articulated answers to the interview questions and oral presentation of the poem; which was broadcast in more than 10 countries worldwide. Some would say that the future looks bright for young artist John Tucker, and as his school family we have the responsibility to keep him uplifted and focused on his goals. TMA's got talent!