N.C. Black Rep celebrates Dr. King’s actual birthday

Positive Image Performing Arts was one of the several who showcased their talents during the NC Black Repertory Company’s 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration.

N.C. Black Rep celebrates Dr. King’s actual birthday
January 19
03:15 2017

Photo by Tevin Stinson



While most of the residents, local organizations and people across the country celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 16, more than 150 people gathered a day earlier on what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 88th birthday at the Arts Council Theatre for the N.C. Black Repertory Company’s (NCBRC) annual celebration.

Since 1980 NCBRC, the first black-owned theatre company in the state, has opened the stage for performers on King’s birthday. Brian McLaughlin, media director for the National Black TheatreFestival and emcee for this year’s celebration, said when Larry Leon Hamlin, his predecessor and founder of NCBRC, started the event 32 years ago, he had pride in the celebration.

“He wanted to be one of the only organizations who recognized Dr. King on his actual birthday, so it feels good to help carry on that tradition.” said McLaughlin. “It’s important that we celebrate King’s contributions, not only to this country but to the world.”

During this year’s celebration, performers took to the stage to showcase their talents for family and friends. After bringing the crowd to their feet with his rendition of “Strange Fruit,” Chao Everett said after researching the song, he decided it would be the perfect song to perform during Dr. King’s celebration. Everett said King’s fight for equality still inspires him today to strive for greatness.

He said, “Your color does not put you in a box of this you can and cannot do. Everyone is created equal and with hard work you can do what we you put your mind to.”

Performers from the Positive Image Performing Arts, Greater Vision Youth Dance Company, Focus, a local gospel group, and several other groups performed during the celebration as well. There were individual performances as well: Ruth Kelley set the stage on fire with her violin, while Izaah Gray brought the crowd to its feet with his dance moves.

Before showcasing his voice that has earned him a featured spot with the Count Basie Orchestra, and appearances with the Roger Humphries Big Band, city native Chris Murrell said while we still have some work to do to reach the level of “change” Dr. King’s prayed about, there has been a lot of change since the Civil Rights Movement.

“Dr. Kings legacy lives on,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do but we have come a long way. I may not live to see the end of the journey but his legacy will live on.”

At the end of the celebration, NCBRC performer Brian Cager read an excerpt from the famed “I Have A Dream Speech.” If you closed your eyes as Cager recited King’s words, it felt as though you were in the nation’s capital on that warm August day in 1963.

While leaving the event, a new comer to the city from Louisville, Kentucky, said she thought it was a wonderful idea to celebrate King’s legacy through the arts.

She said, “I think this was just amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

About Author

Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors