If you were asked to finish the sentence “I am...” would you know how to answer? Performer Tripp Starr shares his answer in the latest release of Starlight’s Raise Our Voices video series.
"Growing up, I struggled to know my worth and value as a person and an aspiring artist. I always found myself trying to prove my worth to others," Tripp said. "I am here for a purpose, which is to spread peace, joy, love, and light. Everything I do, whoever I interact with, and wherever I perform is always for that purpose. There's so much going on in the world today, and that light is needed. And if I can contribute to shining that light in any way, shape, or form, I definitely will."
Raise Our Voices began in 2020 with a mission to amplify social awareness by providing opportunities for artists from diverse backgrounds to share their perspectives. An Artistic Advisory Committee comprised of community artists and art educators, searches and selects artists for the series. Together, each Artistic Advisor and Featured Performer pair decide on the concept, technique, and messaging for their performance before rehearsing and filming at Starlight.
Artistic advisor Elaina Paige Thomas said she chose to work with Tripp to provide access to an experience that could help him grow in his confidence.
“Tripp started off very uncertain of his abilities,” Thomas said. “I noticed each time I would give him homework he came back encouraged and more confident and excited for what was next in the production process. Tripp worked extremely hard and persevered through his challenges to get stage ready. I am truly proud of him.”
The result is a multi-faceted performance that incorporates many kinds of dance, his own written monologue, and two pop songs. By combining all these components into one piece, Tripp takes the audience on an unexpected journey with him.
“This piece is a realization of who I am, what I've conquered, and the bright future ahead of me. It was right on time for this new chapter of my life,” Tripp said.
When creating his performance with his advisor, he said he thought hard about who he is to himself, who he is to others, and who he is to God. Faith is a big part of his life and church is where he discovered his gifts and talents.
For Tripp, it’s important to be who you are and not to let others determine your worth.
“Your self-worth and believing in yourself is the only thing that matters,” he said. “We are all given different gifts and talents, and because of that, we are all unique in our own way. No matter who you are—YOU. ARE. VALUABLE.”
Tripp is currently a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he studies dance and liberal arts. After he finishes school, Tripp said, “I want to be able to do what I love, be happy, encourage people, and give back to the community as people have done for me.”
We are happy that Tripp was part of Raise Our Voices this season and look forward to what he accomplishes in the future.