Fantah Windham, music director for the Anderson Township Trustee Youth Center, instructed the audience on call and response as she introduced a little girl with a big personality.
“When I say, ‘Baby,’ you say, ‘Maury,’” she said as 10-year-old Jamariah McCloud took to the stage Sunday at the Anderson City Building Auditorium.
Jamariah’s rap original, “Rolling Peace,” was one of several contributors to Black History Month skits, musical selections “from the righteous to the ratchet,” dance numbers and spoken word performed by the children who attend the youth center.
“I came up with the idea for the song when I was dancing. I thought it would be fun,” she said. “I want to be a rapper. I always wanted to be a rapper.”
The song was one of several originals in an hourlong variety show that included skits paying homage to the hidden women of NASA and Rosa Parks’ defiance on the bus. Participants, including 12-year-old Isaiah Williams, channeled recent historical figures such as former President Barack Obama singing “Amazing Grace” in a 2015 eulogy at a Charleston, South Carolina, church and quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who made history by kneeling rather than standing for the national anthem in protest of police brutality.
Catrina Cooper was one of about 100 audience members who attended to see their friends and family perform. Her son, drummer Jaylon Cooper, and keyboardist Austin Morgan provided the atmosphere music before and at the end of the program.
“I believe that it helps him to be motivated to the thing that he loves,” she said. “I think the program helps them learn about their heritage and to continue to make memories that others will tell about later in life.”
“I feel our past can help us out in facing adversity today,” he said.
McClendon stressed black history neither should be limited to a month or to black people.
“It was people of all races helping push the black agenda. We wouldn’t have gotten it done without those people and organizations,” he said.