As part of YPOC’s Juneteenth HBG 2022, Sankofa African American Theatre Company produced the Juneteenth Black Theater Café. The theme of this year’s event was “We're not done getting free!” and was held at Open Stage on June 15th.
The collaboration between Sankofa, YPOC, and Open Stage resulted in an uplifting evening of education and entertainment.
Black Theatre Café started with a powerful performance by Millicent Sparks as Harriet Tubman. Ms. Sparks is an accomplished actor/writer/producer who has performed on local, regional and international stages and in film and television. Ms. Sparks was riveting as she brought to life Harriet Tubman’s historical journey to freedom for herself and other enslaved Blacks through her interactive one-person show.
The night continued with the “It’s Lit” Community Theater Contest, where local actors and artists competed in several artistic categories for a chance to win cash prizes and of course-community bragging rights! The judges were Dr. Kimeka Campbell (VP of YPOC), Professor Valarie Gray, Sunada Roberts and Ashia Phillippe. These judges had the hard job of scoring each performer on Topic/theme, Voice & Articulation, Body Language and Physical Presence, and Overall Delivery. All of the performances were amazing and the scores were extremely close. The prizes went to youth category winners Lunden McClain (1st place) and Janice Baldwin (2nd place) and adult category winners Kunle Owolabe (1st place), Lynn Blackston (2nd place), and Johntrae Williams (3rd place).
To cap off the evening, the audience was inspired by the soul-stirring choreography and dance of Reg Haywood to the song Glory by John Legend.
The evening was organized and directed by Sharia Benn (Exec Artistic Director of Sankofa) with the support of dynamic committee members Erica Shaw and Sunada Roberts (Secretary of Sankofa’s Board), and stage manager, Jess Ross. Our hosts for the evening were Ana White and Stacy M. Pagán,
This night would not have been a dynamic success without the partnership and support of the collaborating organizations, the generous sponsors, and the mighty volunteers who did everything from registration, ushering, and set-up and tear-down.