Best Youth Performance Ensemble

Young Gifted and Black

The original Young Gifted and Black formed in 1981 in New York — four Black educators sought to help Black children succeed via Black history, pride, and performance. In 2010, one of those founders saw the same need in Oakland. Since then, more than 100 young people — ages 7 to 18 — have been part of the Young Gifted and Black's four local ensembles. Their performances mix poetry, raps, songs, and chants, and serve as both Black history lessons and emissions of Black joy. They're powerful — full of trauma and hope for a better future. Chants might be as simple as "Black Lives Matter" or as forceful as reciting the names of unarmed Black individuals who have been killed by police officers. Beyond the words, the performers in Young Gifted and Black also boast legit vocal chops and stage presence.

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