YGB 2016

This year YGB has been engaged in more performances than ever in our history.  We have delivered dynamic presentations at historic events like the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party, community events like the Life is Living Festival, churches and schools, and even for the Council for Islamic Relations.  All of the groups have been very active, including the group that returned from Africa in August and has been performing as a reflection of Black Gold ever since.  

2016 was a tremendous year where YGB was able to meet many historic and important contemporary heroes and sheroes, including many legends from the BPP.  Elaine Brown hosted YGB in a performance to open for Nate Parker at a screening of Birth of a Nation.  Colin Kapernik hosted members of YGB at his "Know Your Rights Conference", and gave those who attended copies of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.  The Black Sheroes met and performed for Alicia Garza, founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement and along side Cat Brooks, founder of the Anti Police Terror Project.  The Young Black Kings were featured on Sway in the Morning, and delivered several stellar individual performances as part of this experience.  The Kings were also featured at the Coalition for the Education of Boys and Men of Color in New York City.  Members of YGB competed at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival with one member competing on the finals stage at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.  The Kids were featured on National Television in Iran, and in Ghana in 2016, and were featured in several multi media projects including a film tribute to the great Civil Rights hero Harry Belafonte.

YGB has taken a bunch of new members including a reconstituted Black Sheroes, and about 10 - 15 new members of YGB the Kids.  This years group features several singers, a large contingent of 8th graders, and is led by our Junior Youth Director Masi'a Abrams.  Masi'a is also a member of the Black Sheroes and the newest member of the joint Kings / Sheroes group.

Young Gifted and Black returns to Ghana

YGB of Oakland has embarked on their third trip to Ghana, West Africa arriving in West Africa on July 29th.  This time 11 young people from YGB made the journey, making this the largest contingent of young people to travel on behalf of YGB in our short history.  These young people will be a part of the historic Emancipation Day Ceremonies, visit Elmina and Cape Coast Castle and the Door of No Return.  They will also visit other historic sites like the Last Bath, WEB Dubois Center for Pan Africanism, the African Arts Market, and several villages and museums in Ghana.  These young people will also visit schools and perform for expatriates and other on the radio and on television in Ghana.  

YGB will perform as a part of the Remember Project, which is an arts education campaign under the leadership of YGB Associate Artistic Director Candice Antique.  These appearances will be on radio and television in Ghana, and will involve promoting Black pride and Pan Africanism in the Central Region of Ghana.  As the youth present their art and the art of African American people, they will learn about many of the psychological and cultural legacies of slavery still present in the every day life of Ghana.

The entire journey was a sponsored by our community of supporters including friends, family and other individuals in Oakland.  We also received very generous donations from Sway Calloway, Terrance J, and Marlon Wayans, whose final hour contributions really made this trip possible.  The group of youth include one of the founders of Young Gifted and Black who recently graduated from High School and is on her way to college.  One of the youngest among us, has also been in YGB since the early years, and is the second in her family to take this journey as part of YGB.  We are excited for each of these 11 young people to explore their African heritage, and share their pride, and power with the people of Ghana.  

You can follow the journey of YGB on Facebook.com/young-gifted-and-black  You can also check us out @blackgold on twitter.  We will be using the #rememberprojecttour2016 and #ygbtoghana2016 as hashtags.  If you would like to still make a donation to the trip you can support us on this website or directly at rally.org/younggiftedandblack



 7 of 11 travelers.  Maya, Justin, Adjai, Asa, Indigo, Alona and Cali (not present in the photo Fela, Derriona, Sage, and Qadir)

7 of 11 travelers.  Maya, Justin, Adjai, Asa, Indigo, Alona and Cali (not present in the photo Fela, Derriona, Sage, and Qadir)

YBK in New York City

The Young Black Kings recently returned from a historic trip and tour in NYC.  They presented at two conferences, took in sites and tours in New York and appeared on Sway in the Morning with Marlon Wayans and Terrance J.  This incredible experience was sponsored by the Oakland African American Male Achievement Initiative, and they traveled as representatives to present at the 10th Annual National Conference of Schools Educating Boys of Color.  

On arrival to New York, YBK traveled immediately to Sway in the Morning and presented YGB, AAMA, Youth Speaks and their role in NYC.  They also performed several pieces and ripped bars live on air. Their performance was extremely impactful for them and for those they represent. Parents were super excited, other kids in and out of the program were buzzing, and during that time we raised over $15K toward our forthcoming trip to Ghana. Overall it was a great experience.

At COSEBOC YBK opened the conference with a dynamic performance spanning over 50 years of Black History, and featuring pieces by Dudley Randall, Margaret Walker, Tupac Shakur and Artistic Director Hodari Davis.  Their performance received a standing ovation and was a welcome addition to the amazing presentations and workshops that were part of the COSEBOC conference.  

This is the Credo of YGB


Hodari B. Davis


These are songs

Written for Black Children to sing

Elegies to a forgotten past

These are poems

Written in honor of those warriors, freedom fighters, artists, ancestors

Who did things to put in the minds, mouths, and hearts and souls of our people

These words are mantras

For late night meditation

Written to be dreamed and memorized

Recited and performed

These are lessons

Meant to be taught in real time

The making of heroes requires repetition

The making of sheroes requires consistency, requires reciprocity, culture

To save ourselves,

We must save you

You must save us

We must save them

Requires awareness, acceptance, actual application of what we know is right

Out of the mouths of babies

You’ve got to do better

We must expect better of our selves

We cannot become the wretched of the earth

The forgotten victims of our own undereducation

Willing slaves feeding a system bent on our annihilation

These songs were written for us

So we survive another generation

We cannot afford to not know the words.