North Carolina Black Repertory Company sponsors 40th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

North Carolina Black Repertory Company sponsors 40th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
January 19
07:11 2024

By Felecia Piggott-Long, Ph.D.

More than 200 supporters attended the N.C. Black Repertory Company’s  40th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on Monday, Jan. 15, at the HanesBrands Theatre located at The Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, 209 N. Spruce Street. The celebration featured a showcase of talent from across the Triad and was free to guests who brought three non-perishable food donations for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. 

India Mack, the managing director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, welcomed the audience and introduced Brian McLaughlin, emcee for the evening, who has used his expertise at Fox 8 News, WXII, BET National News, and the New York Times. McLaughlin gave honor to the board of directors of the theater company, members of the Theatre Guild, to the Marvtastic Society members, and other supporters of the company. 

McLaughlin also arranged two game breaks so that youth could win prizes for answering questions about the life and contributions of Dr. King. They also presented improvisations about events in Dr. King’s life.

“Dr. Martin Luther King would have been 95 years old today. As Mr. Larry Leon Hamlin always said to me, ‘You need to bring the energy.’ We are honoring a civil rights leader. We need not look any further than our communities to bring him honor,” said McLaughlin. “From 1955-1968, when Dr. King was active, African Americans achieved more progress than they did in the previous 50 years. Dr. King used the power of words and a focus on nonviolence. Now we have to move beyond the dream.”

Brian Cager of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech, and Demond Everhart delivered the “Let Us March On” speech by Dr. King. 

Members of the Monica and Jerome International Dance Experience presented the show opener by dancing to African drums. They performed in unity and strength wearing traditional African garments and using traditional props to celebrate the Motherland.

The POINTE! gave an energetic performance as they danced to the tune “Remember Black.”

Other dance groups gave honor to Dr. King through their dynamic movements. Triad Dance, Tumble, and Cheer presented a unique dance routine while dressed in black and white uniforms. The Greater Vision Dance Company with the Full Circle Mentoring Program danced to African drums while clothed in traditional African attire.

The Gold Fire percussion group from R. J. Reynolds High School presented a drumline medley of beats and rhythms in honor of Dr. King. Under the direction of Patrick L. Usher II on snare drum, Andre Johnson, Keshaun McClinton, Madrik Roane, Kyreese Scales, Paja Weaver, Darrion Marshall, and Yaharie Smith performed a marching band routine. Their black and silver drums coordinated well with their black and gray attire.

Poets were also in the house. Briana McClarin presented an original spoken word piece called “Apostrophe 20.” Renee Andrews, the Story Lady, presented “Catch the Fire,” a poem by Sonia Sanchez. Christian Anderson, who made her debut in this year’s “Nativity According to the Gospels,” sang “Stand Up,” a song from the movie “Harriett” by Cynthia Erivo.

 The finale of the show featured The POINTE! who closed the celebration by dancing to the Negro Spiritual “Rock-A-My-Soul.” They donned flowing gold skirts and black body suits as they used white church fans to create a worship scene in the Black Church. The audience gave them a standing ovation for their skillful movement. 

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