Thursday, October 6, 2022

We Are Family: Nana Camille Yarbrough Receives Award of Excellence

(L-R) Voza Rivers, Nana Camille Yarbrough Marko Nobles and Imhotep Gary Byrd (holding award) with the Jeff Foxx Band in (background)

*As an extension of her creative and activist self, internationally recognized Author/Poet/Television Producer and Broadcaster Nana Camille Yarbrough turned to writing in the ‘70s.

Her published works have appeared in The Black Collegian Magazine and The Journal of African Civilization.

Yarbrough received a Special Award of Excellence for her contribution to the arts and the community from the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce (GHCC), at the Harlem/Havana Music & Cultural Festival, held during The 43rd annual HARLEM WEEK 2017 celebration.

The award was presented to Yarbrough by GHCC’s 1st Vice President Voza Rivers and WBLS/WLIB Radio Personality Imhotep Gary Byrd and Marko Nobles GHCC’s, public relations director, on the WBLS stage at West 135th Street in the Village of Harlem.

Prior to accepting the honor Yarbrough addressed the enormous crowd, with a powerful positive message relating to family values, concluding with a soulful version of her song “Take Yo Praise,” accompanied by the popular Jeff Foxx Band.

Yarbrough is best known for her children’s book Cornrows and the Song “Praise You,” by Fatboy Slim (which included a sample of her classic 1974 song “Take Yo Praise”). Three more books followed, The Shimmershine Queens, The Little Tree Growing in the Shade, and Tamika and the Wisdom Rings.

Nana Camille Yarbrough addresses enormous crowd as Voza Rivers (left) and Imhotep Gary Byrd looks on

Nana Camille Yarbrough is also an educator. Her passion to teach is evidenced in her serving as a faculty member in the Black Studies Department at City College of New York (CUNY) for 12 years. She taught dance there. She also taught the Katherine Dunham technique at Southern Illinois University.

To this day, she has lectured at countless colleges, universities, conferences, festivals, and community events across the country, ranging from Howard University to the University of Wisconsin and from the Brooklyn Museum to the National Action Network, and many others.

In 1994, Yarbrough was enthroned by ABLADEI, Inc. (Ghanian), GA as Naa Kuokor Agyman I Queen Mother to the late Dr. John Henrik Clarke. She is also founder of the Throne House of Harriet Tubman. In 2004, she was again enthroned in the village of Agogo-Asanti, Ghana as Nana Tabuoa Tonko II. Such an honor is reserved for very few people.

(L-R) Sandra Trim-DaCosta (The BulLion Foundation), Imhotep Gary Byrd, Nana Camille Yarbrough and Voza Rivers

One can’t help but ask how is it that a woman of her season and stature remains compelled to perform and educate on a regular basis, rather than rest on her laurels? She explains “Being a griot or storyteller is not a role that I choose to play. I know this is what I was born to do. What fuels me
is the richness of African-American culture. This is what energizes me. I come from a kinship line that was re-born to re-tell our story over and over again. We must tell it to the young, tell it to the old…everyone grows when our family story is told!”

This story by Don Thomas, first appeared in the NY Beacon





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