Mr Davis Classroom and Proud2beblack

Proud2beblack is a campaign of the Professional consulting firm Edutainment for Equity to affirm Black Pride and Consciousness into Black people worldwide.  Included in that mission is support for Young Gifted and Black, and the teaching and learning of Black History.  Co CEO and Creative Director of Edutainment for Equity also doubles as a scholar of this history.  His extensive experience makes the addition of Mr Davis Classroom into the Proud2beBlack campaign a logical next step for the work.

In 2017 we were able to offer 6 Mr Davis Classroom sessions in an Oakland shoe store for over 200 participants.  We also facilitated additional sessions in Africa, hosting 2 in Uganda and 1 in both Elmina, Ghana and Arusha, Tanzania.  The Classrooms are designed to provide tools and information meant to decolonize the African mind.  With an emphasis on deconstructing false narratives and Eurocentric ideologies, the experience is an excellent introduction to the power of Black History.  Participants the world over have reported of being transformed by the experience and hungry to learn and know more. 

In 2018 we plan to continue to host Mr Davis Classroom sessions in Oakland and to make them free to attend for youth under the age of 18.  We also intend to facilitate MDC's internationally, in Trinidad and in South Africa.  At Edutainment for Equity we are always trying to find ways to make this information more accessible and inspiring to the next generation.  In that vein we are developing products, tool kits and other resources to further operationalize MDC and YGB.   it is our hope that these strategies and the materials we produce from them can help parents, educators and young people throughout the African diaspora maintain a passion for their history and culture. 

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YGB featured on a Grammy Nominated Album

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So its unusual that YGB would even appear on an album, but longtime YGB parent and friend Tommy Sheppherd ushered us into this journey by attending a YGB rehearsal and recording the youth.  At the rehearsal Tommy also interviewed YGB Director Laroilyn Davis and talked with the kids about solidarity and ally ship.  Both of these conversations were then placed as interludes including other elements of the rehearsal on the Alphabet Rockers Children's Album Rise Shine Woke.  Our youth were proud to be a part of the experience, and openly shared their perspectives on a number of issues that the album addresses.  Since little Tommy has been a member of YGB for several years, the young people freely participated, including young Zion who subsequently left YGB to continue working on the album.  

Long story short, the album has been named as a finalist to receive the 2018 Grammy Award for Children's Album of the year.  Also included on the album are other Bay Area celebrities, parents and friends of YGB.  Upon hearing the news the youth were very excited.  They all had copies of the album already, and were happy to hear of the national success the record seemed to be having.  The critical part of the album is the way it encourages young people to have conversations that many adults are scared to have.  The record is a marvel in the way that it evokes empathy and solidarity between races and helps create space for a new generation of people to tackle the misunderstandings and insincerity that often cause division in the US and around the world.  YGB is honored to have been part of such an amazing project.

Stay tuned to find out if Alphabet Rockers wins the Grammy.  They have already won the loyalty and respect of YGB.

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.