High school students in Camden have launched a podcast series to speak to young people in the area about issues facing their generation.
In the series called “Speakin’ Da Youth,” they hope to combat negative stereotypes about the city of Camden and the students who grow up there.
Hosts Ahmad Tilghman, Makyah Truitt, Keynan Ivey, and Natasha Delgado share their views on a wide range of topics like bullying, poverty, and pop culture.
“We’re connecting with the youth and giving them pointers on stuff we go through that people don’t talk about,” Truitt said.
On growing up in Camden, Tilghman said there are pros and cons.
“We had the most dangerous city in the world multiple times. And I also see the progression from the Sixers stadium to the Kroc Center,” Tilghman said, speaking about recent economic development.
The show provides youthful commentary on the state of affairs in a city hoping for revitalization. Several major companies received tax breaks to move to Camden over the last decade.
Tilghman said that residents learn to stand up for themselves amid negative headlines.
“It saddens me that people that don’t know you profile you based off the stereotypes about you,” Tilghman said.
“‘Speakin’ Da Youth’” is a partnership between the IDEA Center for the Arts and Freedom Prep Charter School in Camden. The hosts all attend the school, which is ranked as one of the lowest-performing high schools in New Jersey by state-established metrics. The state ordered Freedom Prep to shut down this summer.
School superintendent Wyomia Scott, who helped develop the podcast, said standardized test scores are not a fair assessment of Camden students’ potential.
“If you want to talk about growing students and growing schools, you have to come in and give them the tools and the resources to do that. You have to give them the funding…the training,” Scott said.
IDEA Center For The Arts leaders said the students will continue recording the series into the summer. The center offers arts programming for Camden youth all-year-long.