Event Recap: Charlie Mack's Talented Teens Competition


This weekend marks the 8th Annual Charlie Mack Party for Peace Celebrity Weekend! If you don't know who Charlie Mack is or you're unfamiliar with this weekend maybe you haven't looked close enough because its quite difficult to miss this 6'7" 280lb guy. A Philadelphia native and former self proclaimed "hustler", Mack started his party for peace events in 1990 as simply a basketball game. His childhood antics combined with the loss of his two brothers compelled him to assist in making a change to his hometown. He believed that celebrities had an effect on the youth so he invited his friends along to engage in this fun filled game. Mack has now transformed a simple game into a highly anticipated annual event promoting non violence and the importance of education. There was no basketball game this year, however, iSocialite was on hand at the first 'Talented Teens Competition' where five lucky teens were awarded with scholarship money.

It wouldn't be a 'celebrity weekend' without celebrities and without a doubt many came out in support. Terrance J of BET's 106 &Park was the special celebrity host. Judges included Tocarra, North Philadelphia's own Kaleena (Dirty Money), Rodney 'Dark Child' Jerkins, and Amber Noble.

The competition began in prayer and kicked off with a couple warm up performances from non-finalists. These performances include a young rapper by the name of 'ZDub' who performed his own remix to Will Smith's 'Parents Just Don't Understand' as Smith sat in the audience. Another great performance came from The Gampions, a band of 11 year olds from Girard Academy Music Program (GAMP) who performed James Brown 'I Feel Nice' complete with a well dressed dancer/singer who embodied the late great. Another great performance came from honor roll student Young Papa, who stepped on stage and stole the show. His stage presence was phenomenal and he received accolades from Terrance J, Will Smith, and the entire crowd.

The winners of the competition were, in Fifth place, Laurie Miller, who fused hip hop and modern dance and performed to a medley of popular hip hop songs. In fourth place was young model Sashay, who won the judges over when she strut her stuff to Beyonce. In third place was R&B singer, Sam Hey, who serenaded the judges and displayed great stage presence. In second place was a singer we all thought would take the competition. Dominique Branch's rendition of Beyonce's '1+1' left many speechless and Kenny Gamble commended her for staying on key with what he believed to be a difficult song. And in first place was co-ed group Philly Dance Movement who destroyed the stage with high energy to match their flashy outfits. That high energy was still on display when they were announced the winners &ran through the crowd to jump on stage.

Will Smith and Charlie Mack delegated over how much to increase each scholarship by and in the end nearly $15,000 worth of scholarship money was awarded. What a better incentive to convince children to advance their education!

A Special Guest performance came from Lil Mama and the Iconic Boys who earned their fame from America's Best Dance Crew. After performing Lil Mama took the mic &thanked Charlie Mack for inviting her to the first talented teens competition. This year's show was a huge success and I, just like Lil Mama, am excited to see what will happen next year!

---Nola Darling
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