If it’s 11pm in the evening, you can bet Bev Adair-Beets is hastily scribbling through her to-do list in her white leather Kikki-K organizer, blue for her or red for Stan Walker’s schedule. Her Mac sits at half-mast with a dozen tabs blinking, and she’s scrolling down her IPhone 6+ posting her quote of the day on Facebook.
Her current demands: PA to Stan Walker, Leadership developer, Motivational speaker, Manager of NZ’s famous session band “The Levites”, Production Manager for the Homegrown festival, a lecturer, NZ representative for the World Congress of Families and Executive Events producer just to name a few.
If that isn’t impressive, she has facilitated world leadership conferences with the likes of Bill Hybels and Darlene Zschech, spoken in Washington DC as a key note speaker alongside American Civil Rights Movement activists and is heading to New York this year to share about her involvement with Beyond Water Global, a not-for-profit organisation bringing clean water and sanitation solutions to communities in East Africa.
Here she is pictured with ‘Les Twins’ (Laurent and Larry Bourgeois) the world renowned Dancers, Choreographers and French Models.
Despite these amazing accolades, if you know Bev, you’ll know her heart beats for our rangatahi (youth). As an instrumental Hip Hop practitioner in NZ, she drops dope lyrics in every conversation, choreographs Hip Hop event platforms, mixes community and corporate and lets young people imagine and paint purposeful urban graffiti over the canvas of their lives.
Bev spoke at a Young Emerging Maori leaders conference in Christchurch last year, hosted by Ra Dallas.
It’s my last day on holiday in Auckland and Bev has driven from the North Shore to have a #FLATWHITE with me at the Jellicoe Pools in Onehunga whilst my daughters and nieces are swimming.
I met Bev back in April 2014, when I invited her to speak at a “Women of Worth” creative conference that I was producing. As we walked through the sound check, Bev shared at length about the importance of ‘SPACE’ a concept I am very familiar with as being Samoan, we understand what it means to ‘teu le va’– to respect the ‘space’ between relationships.
“It’s about value and respect” she said. As artists we need to value ourselves, work hard, know that we are good enough and to stop giving people discounts. If we come into a performance space, we need to respect the kaupapa of that event and ensure we meet our briefs to the best of our abilities. As producers we are ‘holders’ of that space- we must value every person and facilitate the vision and kaupapa with integrity.
“What do you want me to speak about tonight?”
“Whatever is on your heart Bev…”
Dressed in her usual black and red attire, Bev had the entire audience in fits of laughter for the first 11 minutes, then switched gears so fast, they never saw it coming. She shared about enduring so much rejection, pain and heartache, her vulnerability so moving, there was not a dry eye in the room. “My mum failed me, my dad failed me, the social workers failed me, the system failed me. I cried out to a God I never knew, and He is why I’m still standing!” She concluded by exhorting the audience to never let their excuses keep them from pursuing their dreams.
Raw. Elegant. Riveting.
I have included a 2 minute video link where Bev shares her work around hip hop as a youth leadership development tool and her compelling story, which I could never do justice over an ‘ipu ki’.
As my girls down iceblocks on the swings and we recline in the Jellicoe Park grass with our empty coffee cups, Bev spills stories about her friend’s recent passing from cancer. #IaManuiaLouMalagaMichelle.
As I listen to her grieve, I can’t help but be thankful.
I am thankful for the blessing of friends who don’t speak to you in their free time, but will free up time to speak with you. I am thankful for the opportunity to listen-not to respond but rather to understand. I am thankful for the opportunity to hold space- free of advice or judgement for my friend, who humbly always holds spaces for others.
Til next time xoxo