Local talent show teaches confidence, compassion
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Nov 22, 2016 | 5256 views | 0 0 comments | 474 474 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Broadway professional and artist Ashley Tobias is using her anti-bullying program, Be True To You, to sponsor a children’s talent show this holiday season.

Tobias thought up the ‘Astoria Warrior’ show to increase the community spirit and showcase talented children from the neighborhood. Children aged 8 to 16 can audition, and their talents can be anything from singing and dancing to musical art showcase, spoken word and film showings.

“With everything that’s been going on, it’s a really positive message that I’m trying to portray,” Tobias said. “With Be True 2 You, one of our hashtags are #BeeYourInnerWarrior, so I’m trying to get children to feel encouraged and have enough confidence to audition and make friends in the community who are musicians. Maybe they have never met before, so hopefully this will bring them together.”

The show is an extension of Tobias’ Be True To You program, which is a pop/rock music & interactive based anti-bullying assembly program for kids. The show features original pop/rock kid songs, a state of the art sound system, lights, keynote presentation and set.

As a child, Tobias was bullied over her kinky, curly hair.

“It wasn’t an ethnically diverse school that I went to, and I’m ethnically ambiguous, so not a lot of people looked like me,” Tobias said. “I had big hair and always tried to straighten it which eventually led to it breaking off; Growing up, I had some trouble identifying who I was and loving myself.”

Her cousin, who struggled with a lack of love, committed suicide when she was 16. Since then, Tobias has wanted to do something for them both. While on tour with Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’, the Broadway musical, Tobias spoke with her mother who encouraged her to start an assembly program due to her interests in helping and teaching children.

Within a matter of hours, Tobias had her theme songs, message and mascot design, B.T.T.Y the neighborhood Bumble Bee, completed.

Tobias was honored with the 2016 United Nation's and Meaningful World's International Youth Peace Award for her efforts.

The educational and entertainment value of the program has made Be True To You standout, and it’s the same emphasis on children’s creativity and compassion that drives the talent show.

The talent show will feature special judges such as 2016 Miss Staten Island, Expert Juggler and Public Speaker Jen Slaw, ‘American Idol’ Contestant Carson Higgins, and Broadway's ‘Motown The Musical’ Young Michael Jackson, Leon Outlaw. Tobias herself has performed backup singing to Rachel Platten and Andy Grammer.

The next audition will be on Sunday, November 27 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Q.E.D. Astoria, located at 27-16 23rd Avenue. If your family will be out of town, kids can still submit a 90-second video audition by December 10th to Ashley@beetruetoyou.org. The final show will occur on Monday, December 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Q.E.D. Astoria. For more information, visit www.betrue2you.com.

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