An LJMU student drew inspiration from local hero John Barnes when he performed a spoken word poem on TV last week.

Liverpudlian Joseph Roberts appeared on the show ‘Sport in Words’ as part of BT Sports’ coverage of Black History Month.

Joseph Roberts performing on BT Sport – @officaljosephroberts

The 19-year-old won the UK’s best spoken word newcomer award for 2022, which he says gave him the opportunity to perform to millions of people across the country.

“I got an application from the producer of the show, I just thought I’d give a go and see what happens. Everyone had to pick a different athlete, so I wrote a one-minute piece about John Barnes and was lucky enough to make it through.”

Despite not being old enough to ever watch Barnes play, the avid Liverpool fan never thought twice about picking the former dynamic winger.

“I’ve always heard stories about him from my family. Being from Liverpool and speaking in a scouse accent, sometimes you just have to play to your strengths. He’s a Liverpool legend and a huge inspiration to me. I’m proud to be from Liverpool. I’m speaking my city.”

Joseph Roberts on stage with Benjamin Zephaniahwith – @officialjosephroberts

Joe spoke passionately about how important it was to him to be representing Liverpool, in an industry that can be very London-centric.

The Literature and Creative Writing student explained how proud he was to be representing the region: “I was the only Scouser there, all the other poets were from London.

“There are different styles of poetry. There’s a place for your Shakespeares of the world but if we want to get young people involved, we have to change the game. I want to change people’s perception of what poetry is.”

Keep up to date with Joe’s work on Instagram: @officialjosephroberts

Featured Image Copyright – @officialjosephroberts


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