"I could write a sitcom," 11-year-old Ayrricka Street says with characteristic easy confidence. "I was watching That’s So Raven and I thought I could do that." And so she did. Ayrricka has filled a notebook with original episodes of a show she’s calling The Jacksons, loosely based on the famous family of Michael and the Jackson 5.
"I was studying Michael Jackson and he seemed like an interesting guy," Ayrricka says. "I love the music." Ayrricka borrowed character names from Jackson’s songs. Her Michael character has a cousin named Billie Jean, but she writes lines where both characters are quick to point out that they are "NOT THAT Michael and Billie Jean."
Ayrricka has a way with dialogue, and the family adventures she writes about in her episodes spill off the page with impressive rhythm and humor.
Her mother, Cynthia Street, is aware of her daughter’s gift and shares Ayrricka’s fascination with language. "I’ve been meaning to buy her a thesaurus," she says. "I love that she’s writing. It gives you a peek inside her world. I’m bubbling and waiting. I hope YPT will continue to encourage her and give her the skills to accomplish her dream," Ms. Street says.
Ayrricka is working with YPT as part of the after-school program sponsored by Project My Time at Kelly Miller Middle School in Ward 7.
"She has that seed in her that’s ready to give birth," Ms. Street continues. Ayrricka interrupts, gently refining her mother’s metaphor, "blossom, Mom. Seeds blossom." Ayrricka moves her hands to demonstrate a flower blossoming from the earth. "Yes they do," her mother says and mirrors her daughter’s graceful movements as her face breaks into a broad and joyful smile.