The Pedagogy

Young Gifted and Black teaches Black History through historic poetry, contemporary rap and liberation songs.  We arm the next generation with the words from their past to help them forge a more glorious future.

We aim to restore the historic memory of Black people by reconnecting them to the heroes, stories, culture, words, and places of our past.

The Three Rules

1 - Stay on top of your game.

2 - Control all you can control.

3 - Influence as much as you can what you can't control.



"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance

or conscientious stupidity." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


This Pledge written by Marcus Garvey is recited at the opening of every YGB rehearsal a minimum of three times.  It serves to prove a behavioral framework for everyone attending the rehearsal and provides a reminder for the youth of the values of YGB and of community.


The African Pledge

We are an African People

We will remember the humanity, glory and suffering 

of our ancestors 

We will honor the struggles of our elders

We will strive to bring new values and new life to our people

We will have peace and harmony among us

We will be loving, sharing and creative

We will work study and listen so we may learn

learn so we may teach

We will cultivate self reliance

We will struggle to resurrect and unify our homeland

We will raise many children for our nation

We will have discipline, patience, devotion and courage

We will live as models to provide new direction and 

new life to our people

We will be free and self determining

We are an African People

And We Will Win


Some of the pieces have vocabulary that is advanced of difficult to understand.  Going through each piece line by line and discussing the nuanced language and references will help youth find meaning behind the words.  The primary goal is to challenge the young people to interpret the language, understand the historic context from which the words are written and be able to provide the appropriate emotion to make the delivery of each piece more compelling.



What the scholars say:

A number of scholars have been concerned with the development of a healthy sense of racial-ethnic identity in African American youth. For African American children, racial- ethnic identity has been linked to a number of outcomes in childhood. Children with positive perceptions of their own group have been found to exhibit improved identity formation, higher self-esteem, more proactive modes of anger expression, more prosocial attitudes and behavior, and better academic outcomes (Bowman & Howard, 1985; Jagers & Mock, 1993; Rotheram-Borus, 1990; Sellers, Chavous, & Cooke, 1998; Smith & Brookins, 1997; Smith, Walker, Fields, Brookins, & Seay, 1999; Stevenson, 1997; Taylor, Casten, Flickinger, Roberts, & Fulmore, 1994).

According to new research published in the Journal of Child Development affirming a Black child's desire to learn about their race does more than just give them a personal boost it helps them academically as well.  

The study, conducted by Ming-Te Wang and James P. Hugley of the University of Pittsburg and Harvard University respectively, found that "Racial socialization" - teaching kids about their culture and involving them in activities that promote racial pride and connection - helps to offset the discrimination and racial prejudices children face by the outside world.

...racial socialization - teaching kids about their culture and involving them in activities that promote racial pride - helps to offset the discrimination children face in the outside world.

Love of self is the precursor for love of others. YGB teaches children to love themselves.

Love of self is the precursor for love of others. YGB teaches children to love themselves.


Overall, the study found racial pride to be the most powerful factor in protecting children from the sting of discriminatory behavior.  It directly and positively related to three of four academic outcomes - grade point averages, education l aspirations, and cognitive engagement - and was directly related to resilience in the face of discrimination.  Preparation for bias was directly related to only one outcome - the sense of belonging to a school or community.


Young Gifted and Black was featured on KQED in this short video. YGB is a youth performance ensemble based in Oakland. More than 50 performers - ranging in age from 6 to 18 - learn and memorize compilations of historical black poems and contemporary raps, which they perform around the Bay Area.



New Study Shows Racial Pride Enhances learning (2013)

Study Finds a Program in Racial Pride Can Enhance Academic Success for African American Girls (2018)

Black Students Excel in School When They are Taught Racial Pride (2015)

Ethnic Pride Key to Black Teen Mental Health: Prof. Jelani Mandara discusses ethnic pride and mental health • Northwestern EDU • November 30, 2009


Ethnic Pride may Boost African – American Teens Mental Health • Society for Research in Child Development • November 15, 2009


Studies show ethnic pride linked to success in Youth • The Brown Daily Herald • February 10, 2014


Racial – Ethnic Pride and academic achievement linked • Penn State • October 2003


Generations of Pride: African American Timeline • Illinois Historic Preservation Agency • Curated by Kathryn M. Harris


These are videos of YGB performances over the years that demonstrate the power and energy of their performances.  The material is historic and contemporary poetry and rap written to enhance their love of themselves and the power of their expression to the audiences in front of them.