10 Most Memorable Black History Month Event Moments

Published on February 29, 2016 | Written by

This year, Youthprise looks back on our celebration of Black History Month over the past three years. Since 2013, we have been fortunate to host our annual celebrations in collaboration with prominent Black history makers and influential community partners. In 2016, we acknowledge the ten most memorable moments from Youthprise’s Black History Month celebrations.

1) Dr. Joseph White


Dr. Joseph White is known as the “Godfather of Black Psychology.” At Youthprise’s first annual Black History Month Philanthropy Breakfast, co-sponsored by the African American Leadership Forum and Minnesota Blacks in Philanthropy, Dr. White addressed funders and stakeholders with a humorous message on the seven principles of Black Psychology. Starting with a story on how he could have been the father of Minnesota music legend, Prince, Dr. Joseph White kept the audience laughing and engaged throughout his keynote address.

Watch Dr. White’s address


2) Jamela Pettiford

Jamela Pettiford’s powerful performance of A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke left the audience at Youthprise’s 2013 Philanthropy Breakfast in awe.

Watch the full performance here ›

3) Brittany Delany

Brittany Delany’s spoken word performances at multiple Youthprise Black History Month celebrations left audiences giving church-like responses like “yass” and series of hand waves and snaps. In one of her first performances at Youthprise’s Community Forum in partnership with the Cultural Wellness Center at Sabathani Community Center, Brittany left the audience with a powerful statement of intergenerational progress. In her performance she says, “You ask why I take this route, because it chose me. Because every time I try to act like the push from behind me wasn’t there, I hit the ground trying to carry the weight from the façade. This, I do it because there is too much before me and too much after me to pretend like I don’t see the hands of ancestors lying like angel wings, interlocked with the still of revolutions, holding my feet up from birth, whispering the name of those whose lives my chest inhales air for now.”

Watch Brittany Delany’s full performance here 


4) WISE Charter School – Student Drum and Dance Corps


Moving to an ensemble of drums, students of WISE Charter School celebrated Black history through flawless performances at the 2013 and 2014 Community Forums hosted by Sabathani Community Center and Central High School.


5) Maasia Si-Asai

Maasia Si-Asai’s monologue as Gordon Parks was spot on. With a suit and tie, a dapper Si-Asai portrayed the legendary photographer and walked us through the life and accomplishments of Gordon Parks at the 2013 Community Forum.



6) Youth Circle

Hosted at the Minnesota African American Museum in 2013, Mahmoud El-Kati and Dr. Joseph White held an intimate conversation with a group of young people. Mahmoud El-Kati and Dr. White shared stories of growing up as young black men in America. One young person asked, “Why are we hating each other for being different?” Dr. White responded, “It’s hard to grow up in America and not internalize some of what you hear and see. So if you grow up in America and they say Black people are bad… even though you’re Black and you hear that, some of it sticks in your mind.”


7) Theatrical Salute from Ka Joog, Washburn, and Central Touring Theater

Young people from Ka Joog, Washburn and Central High School perform, “Ubuntu” at the 2014 Black History Month Community Forum hosted at Central High School. Ubuntu’s meaning, “I am because you are,” featured singing, dancing, acting, and powerful spoken word supported by a percussion ensemble.

Watch the full performance below


8) Sounds of Blackness

Sounds of Blackness have been a staple at every Youthprise Black History Month Community Forum. Delivering an uplifting series of performances, Sounds of Blackness have found meaningful ways to integrate young people on stage. In past celebrations, they performed with students of the Coon Rapids Gospel Choir and students of Carter G. Woodson Academy.

Watch the full performance here ›

9) Dane Verrtah

In 2015, the Community Forum featured keynote speaker, Dane Verrtah, with the theme, #BlackYouthMatter. Verrtah delivered his keynote in the form of a spoken word piece dedicated to his father. His theme centered on this repeating phrase, “We don’t just liberate people from chains, our blackness shifts the arch of humanity.”

Watch the full keynote address here 


10) Naomi Tutu

Naomi Tutu was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Community Forum. Naomi Tutu is the daughter of human rights champion Archbishop Desmond Tutu and an international speaker on race and gender justice. In her keynote she exclaimed, “We are going to make sure that our politicians in this country know that their positions on Africa are as important to us as their positions on our domestic policy.”

Watch the full keynote address here



Watch past Black History Month Celebration compilation videos here:



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