For too long, it has become clear that some teenagers don’t know what to do with their lives! Some of them slink off the straight and narrow by doing drugs, rioting, joining gangs, looting and burning down 140-year-old buildings. And the main reason? There isn’t an alternative. Typing in ‘fear of teenagers’ yields about 40 million results on Google. Typing in ‘fear of spiders’ gives me only 8.5 million results. Fear of teenagers is at an all-time high and there’s nothing we can do about it- or is there?

The Urban Talent Madness competition, organized by TSP Urban Youth, aims to inspire young people, whilst being one of the alternatives for kids like that out there, to show them that there are alternatives to a life of crime and the clutches of postcode street gang issues. According to Ismael Lea South, the co-founder of TSP Urban Youth and formerly in Britain’s first Islamic Hip-Hop group Mecca2Medina, the competition is just one of the ways that they are trying to ‘encourage young people to have ambition and aspirations’. Nikisha Powell, his niece, complained to him that ‘a lot of her classmates [wanted] to be gangsters, criminals and drug dealers’, and naturally Ismael took it upon himself to help her with her idea of the talent competition. With the likes of Aaron Black from Flawless and Rashid Kasirye, the young CEO of Link Up TV attending, there really isn’t any excuse for kids that say there aren’t any alternatives to the crimes they commit. ‘I believe that this event would be a great opportunity for talented youngsters to show off what they’ve got in front of a big audience as well as some of the biggest names from all over the industry at the moment,’ says Aizaz Hussain, a teenager working with them to keep the event running smoothly.

Ismael does however say that the competition might give youngsters in tricky situations relief ‘in the short term’, TSP Urban Youth are in the process of ‘setting up a youth club’- they are running ‘positive youth programmes’ in 4 local schools and more for the long-term, he downplayed the competition like it was something small- something which it hopefully won’t turn out to be- the big event, held at the Patidar Theatre in Wembley will have the likes of Jaja Soze, MoAli and Squingy judging the performers and is funded by the Prince’s Trust. If the competition is only one part of TSP’s ‘little contribution to challenge street gangs, drug abuse, apathy and gun/knife crime in the community’ then it looks like Ismael and the rest of TSP have their work cut out- in Ismael’s words, ‘The talent contest is just the fun aspect to the event.’- and hopefully the contest will bring not just fun, but a great alternative to the culture some youths would otherwise be engaged in, with cash as the prize! ‘People need to realize that not many opportunities like this come along,’ says Aizaz- and he’s right. Go and check out the competition for yourself next month and make a difference.

Urban Talent Madness will be held on Bank Holiday Monday (7th May 2012) between 2 and 7pm at the Patidar Theatre, London Road, Wembley, HA9 7EX. More information can be found at April 2012