2012 Spoken Word Champion: Sadé
Sadé Daniels took the stage with something to prove. Despite what she calls a “horrible complex” in regard to her fear of public performance, Daniels felt that her time on stage was her chance to showcase that she was no longer the girl who was insecure.
During the 2012 Beyond Idol (BI) competition, Daniels competed as a spoken word artist and wowed both the judges and audience, leading her to a victory as the 2012 BI Spoken word champ!
While she has shared that she was in shock, she was also appreciative of her win, “I was just glad to share the stage with the type of talent that was there.”
BI was not Daniels first time performing, but it was the most beneficial. She found it to have a more nurturing approach than other poetry and slam competitions she has participated in.
“When I was in that environment it wasn’t really positive. It wasn’t just about expressing yourself, it was about tearing the other artists down and that’s what I didn’t like about the competition. But the great thing about it [BI] was that we [artist] were all supportive of each other. There was a common spirit and a lot more love and respect there,” said Daniels.
Not only did Daniels acquire a new group of friends, but she is also still in contact with other BI participants with whom she has plans to do creative collaborations.
“I plan to record with yaboylilg Mills and I still try to keep in contact with people who helped us,” said Daniels. Adding that the feedback she received from judges was affirming.
“Some of the their tips still stick with me to this day, but really more than anything, I was just inspired.” She went on to add, “One judge said to me ‘ what you are saying, it goes beyond just this competition. You’re saying something that every black girl, every adolescent girl, needs to hear.’ Hearing something like that was like dang, I didn’t know what I said was that important!,” she said.
Being a part of BI pushed Sade to realize that her words were powerful and helped her to see herself as others did — a champion.
“I remember somewhere in the middle of the audition, kind of almost coming out of myself and seeing myself like ‘ oh my God, you’re kind of snapping here’.”
Coming up as foster youth, Daniels recognized that her experiences with group homes played a role in shaping her confidence as an artist. She admitted that growing up in such an environment led her to believe that she was not good enough and chipped away at the fact that she was talented. However, her recent win with BI showed to the audience and herself that she was capable, which meant more to her than actually winning the competition.
While Daniels made herself known to BI as a spoken word artist, there is so much more to Ms. Sadé Daniels. Prior to performing with BI, Daniels moved back to the state of California from Arkansas, where she received her Bachelors degree in Social Work. Daniels not only writes poetry but also dabbles in song writing. “I have tried to write like two songs. I just like to write.” Furthermore, she has illustrated her talent as a writer by putting out a short story via her Facebook Page and says “It has gotten a good response and I hope to one day turn it into a book”.
Daniels has also tried her hand at essays and was given a chance to speak at two conferences in the past year: The California Wellness Conference and The Foster Youth Education Summit in Sacramento, as a keynote speaker.
During her interview, Daniels spoke passionately about being able to reach out and talk with other foster youth. Like many youth who are a part of the foster care system, Daniels has had her challenges. She mentioned challenges such as being kicked out of high school and then eventually dropping out.
“People see a college graduate not understanding that I was a high school drop-out first,” said Daniels.
For Daniels it is important to her to be able to share her experiences with others and let them know that she is still in the struggle with them.
“There’s barriers and I’ve been through those things as well. I think that the fact that I’m not scared to speak on that and not just be dubbed a college graduate or success story, that’s what helps me connect with youth. A lot of times when I’m talking to youth, I let them know I’m still trying to maintain and keep my head above water like you.”
She makes it a point to inform the youth that she is no different from them and inspires them to find their tenacity so that they too can go off and see life outside of Oakland and foster care.
Daniels continues to defy odds through her work as a writer and voice for foster youth, and leads by example with her own personal success. With a championship under her belt, Daniels still has plans to move forward with her education, as she wants to obtain a Masters degree, and has every intention to continue writing and encouraging youth to take control of their lives.