This month we place a spotlight on an outstanding neighbor: Amiri Nash. Amiri is a gifted classical pianist, writer, and activist. He was a 2020 graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts and he is now completing his freshman year at Brown University. Last year he was named DC Youth Poet Laureate and last month, he was published in ‘The Brown Political Review’ and he was also featured in his own TEDx presentation.
In what city were you born?
I was born in Washington, D.C.
How long have you resided in Penn Branch?
I have resided in Penn Branch for 4 years.
What do you like most about your neighborhood?
I love so much about Penn Branch – but if I had to choose my favorite thing, I think it would be the beauty of the trees. Falling close behind that, though, the people. Everyone is so friendly. I feel comfortable when everyone waves “hi” to me as I walk my dog. Spring’s in Penn Branch are also indescribably beautiful.
How did you discover your talent for music and writing?
I started playing piano at a young age–and writing too. I always did it and I continued with it. My parents and grandparents always encouraged me and told me I was gifted… I have just never stopped.
Why is advocacy and social justice so important to you?
I was raised to believe that all of us are equal. I fight for those who don’t have access to equity and equality because I believe that everyone deserves it. Living in DC has also centered me in politics. Knowing that the laws of our country are made 5 minutes from me inspires me. My grandparents were also very politically involved. My grandfather was chief of staff for Marion Barry and a freedom rider.
What is your favorite food?
Pasta. It’s more than just a favorite food, but an obsession. I’d go as far to say that Pasta is a member of my family.
What is your favorite movie?
“Waves,” by Trey Edward Schults, or “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
What is your favorite movie?
My favorite social media platform is Instagram. I grew up using it and all my friends use it to communicate with each other and keep up with the world.
What are you reading (for fun)?
Right now, I only have time for my readings at school, but during breaks I love to read anything by James Baldwin or Toni Morrison.
If you were stranded on a desert island with one complete album what would it be?
Definitely “Good Kid, m.a.ad city” by Kendrick Lamar.
What do you think you will cherish most about living in Penn Branch?
I will cherish the many mornings in high school that I had to run for the M6 or the D51. Also, exploring the trails with my dad on the weekend.
How did the events of the past year affect your life?
In 2020 I got so to spend so much intimate time with my family. I learned how to fully appreciate the things in life that I find super important–Family. I also learned to value and enjoy what’s in front of me because nothing is permanent. I made amazing new friends, and also published my first pieces, released my first TEDx talk, and became DC’s Youth Poet Laureate.