New to the Summer Intensive faculty this year is Mason Parker. Mason and Youth Exchange Project founder Shawnna Pledger first met when they performed together at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. They spent several months touring together in a van performing a show about substance abuse. While Mason is an experienced actor, that is not his role at Y.E.P. Rather, he will be guiding the students’ journey with the spoken word.
Mason is a lyricist, spoken word artist, and writer. While his start is deeply rooted in southern hip-hop, Parker studied the performances of Michael Jackson and the wordplay of Tupac and Langston Hughes to fuse the art of performance and lyricism. His admiration of performing began at a young age after participating in a monologue competition and sneaking into the spoken word scenes around Charlotte.
In 2013, he was named Charlotte’s Best Rapper by Creative Loafing Magazine and Male Hip-Hop Artist of the Year in 2016 during the Queen City Awards. Parker has worked as a radio personality at Power 98 FM, Charlotte’s number one urban contemporary radio station as well as performing on stages across the world. As a writer, he published a comic book, The Paperback Hero Saga, which is accompanied by a short film and musical score. As an artist, Parker values the content he establishes in his music and puts a lot of weight on words that will resonate with his listeners.
His work is a narrative, addressing overcoming homelessness, child abuse, mental health, spirituality, parental loss, and fatherhood. Harnessing the power of his journey, Parker offers stories of hope and spiritual awakening for social loners and juveniles. His unique delivery is soulfully honest, rich with pain, victory, self-realization, and truth. To follow his creative journey in real-time, visit Mason on Twitter and Instagram, and his website, www.iammasonparker.com.