Youth showcase their talent at the National Black Theatre Festival

All the performers take the stage for the finale of the Youth Talent Showcase at the 2022 NBTF.

Youth showcase their talent at the National Black Theatre Festival
August 10
15:11 2022

By David Winship

The National Youth Talent Showcase, continuing the tradition begun in 2003, was presented on Friday, Aug. 5, at noon in front of a panel of celebrity judges and an audience of family, fans, and National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) attendees.

With master of ceremony duties shared by brothers Qassim and Kahlil Middleton, the show opened with a swirling performance by interpretive dancers from the Greater Vision Dance Company, outfitted in NBTF purple and black.  Competition commenced with Kennedy O’Neil singing “Freedom Calling.” Jazz dancers of The Pointe performed in black fedoras in a style reflective of Michael Jackson. The ensemble Tuffcrowd performed a spoken word throw-down of social commentary with “What if I was white?”

In a mid-performance break, Love McCall, ambassador from the George Floyd Family, spoke of the continuing grief and resolve to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Nia Franklin, 2019 Miss America, sang in support and led the audience singing in “We Shall Overcome.”

Performances continued with the junior competitive dance team “Pep Rally” from the Institute of Divine Arts. This was followed by 11-year-old Zion Anderson who performed a classical piece on cello. Joel Hurt performed a high-octane eurythmic dance, his body in motion reminiscent of a marionette without strings. Danielle Sanders presented a monologue and sang “Freedom Calling.”

Winners of the Marvtastic Talent Show were: First Place: Danielle Sanders; Second Place: Joel Hurt; Third Place Tie: PG-13 and Tuffcrowd.

With the flair that all the performers exhibited, look to see many of these young people in future productions as they continue to develop their natural talent.

David Winship is a retired educator who continues to work with youth in music and education in Bristol, Tennessee. He is a member of Winston-Salem Writers.

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Tevin Stinson

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