Power of One
As our Mockingbird Youth Network Representatives met at a regular team meeting, discussing future events and Youth Advocacy Day, news came in that one of Seattle’s biggest pop stars — Macklemore — would make an onsite visit to Mockingbird. You can only imagine the various reactions our staff presented. There were mixtures of excited “Yay’s!” and then some silent, puzzled faces from a few who seemed as if they had lived under a rock for the past five years.
Power of One
As our Mockingbird Youth Network Representatives met at a regular team meeting, discussing future events and outh Advocacy Day, news came in that one of Seattle’s biggest pop stars — Macklemore — would make an onsite visit to Mockingbird. You can only imagine the various reactions our staff presented. There were mixtures of excited “Yay’s!” and then some silent, puzzled faces from a few who seemed as if they had lived under a rock for the past five years. It was an easy fix. With some research and word of mouth, everyone had a sense of his basic biography, but still no one knew what to expect.
Ben “Macklemore” Haggerty is a well-known hip-hop artist, born and raised in Seattle, Washington. The art of rap intrigued him at a very young age and he began writing his own material in middle school. When he was 17, Macklemore made his first extended track, a musical recording with more than one song, but less than a full album. He released his first full-length studio album in 2012, which was a great success. Today, Macklemore is an independent musician who has reached a huge fan base with his tactful lyrics that deal with many current issues in society, along with his own personal struggle of overcoming substance abuse. Macklemore has become a wellknown philanthropist, advocate, and a great supporter of youth homelessness in Seattle. Previously, he teamed up with YouthCare to raise awareness about LGBTQ youth homelessness at Seattle’s Pride Parade in July 2014.
his passion for speaking
to our generation about
real life and personal problems.
We prepared for the meeting with Macklemore by making speaking points which would inform him about The Mockingbird Society, our different programs, and our mission of improving foster care and ending youth homelessness. Alongside the network representatives were Seattle Mockingbird Youth Network chapter members James and Jessica, as well as Youth Advocates Ending Homelessness (YAEH) chapter leaders Chris and Clayton. We had nothing to worry about. We had confidence that we would do a great job as professional young adult advocates. But this confidence didn’t stop the questions that began to pervade our thoughts: Was our presentation too robotic? Would he be offended if we asked him to write poetry with us? Did he really care about what we had to say? We understood what he did as an artist and humanitarian, but who he was as an individual was still a mystery.
To our surprise, on the day of Macklemore’s visit, a recording crew came through the door first. As we signed released papers and asked questions, we became familiar with the crew. We laughed and learned about the many sites they were visiting and the short time they had to record everything to make a video. We learned the many names and faces that are behind the scenes, yet essential for success. Soon after, Macklemore walked through the door. Everyone was caught up in other conversations; you wouldn’t believe the embarrassment some of us felt when we turned around and saw that he was sitting quietly, watching the lot of us converse. We jumped right into our presentation.
Our YAEH Representative, Lamar, did a great job as he initiated the presentation. Introductions of names and titles filled the room. Macklemore watched as we spoke about the Mockingbird Family Model, our legislative priorities for Youth Advocacy Day, and the development of our YAEH Program.
It was clear that we caught his interest about our advocacy and how we used our personal testimonies to influence the issues on a political level.
We closed our meeting with laughter and meaning as we recited a few poems which clarified our values in our advocacy. Macklemore talked about his passion for speaking to our generation about real life and personal problems. We ended with an understanding that there needs to be someone who speaks up for change. We are all connected by our ambition and strive to stand for something bigger in this world than ourselves. Our passion can change the lives of many, whether we are a famous artist or a part-time worker for an advocacy organization.
Thank you so much, Macklemore, for coming to visit, taking the time to learn about The Mockingbird Society and, in your words, “keeping it One-Hundo” with us!