As the calendar transitions into a new month, the columnist would like to highlight Martin Luther King Jr.’s Young, Gifted, and Black Talent Show, hosted by Kevin Brooks of Group Therapy, Inc. The Youth Extravaganza is entering its third year, as Brooks provides a platform for the youth to showcase their talent as part of the MLK Festivities in conjunction with the Fayetteville Cumberland Ministerial Council’s Annual Brunch.
With their innovative ideas and boundless energy, the young generation holds invaluable potential to build a brighter future in our society. As responsible community members, the Ministerial Council and Group Therapy aim to provide opportunities for future generations while preserving the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to unlock their full potential for meaningful progress toward creating change.
Young, Gifted, and Black Talent Show Judges, Photo Credit: Tracey Morrison/The Exclusive Press
Each youth showed bravery onstage through songs, spoken words, and dancing to the assembled crowd. Although they are considered winners in the judges’ eyes, they were narrowed down to three winners: Jordan Barnett, Tyrik Johnson-Lilly, and Carrington Grace Tucker, who received a cash incentive for the talent show. The youth’s performances blew Brooks away, stating that they show out when the community provides youth a platform to thrive. Brooks was blown away by the youth’s performances, even though he hadn’t attended any rehearsals.
The Youth Extravaganza is a much-needed community initiative in the Fayetteville community to foster relationships while orchestrating youth involvement. Similarly, King Jr. had talent as a kid before his infamous speeches, non-violent boycott movements, writing collections, and 1964 Noble Peace Prize. The Civil Rights icon played the piano as a kid. He took piano lessons from his mother, Alberta King, a trained pianist. King Jr. also sang in the choir at the church where his father, Martin Luther King Sr., served as the pastor. The choir he participated in sang at the Atlanta premiere of the 1939 classic film “Gone with the Wind.”
The influences of King’s supportive village created a space for him to thrive, resulting in his influencing the world with his “I Had a Dream Speech” and Civil Rights Movement involvement that continuously shone on generations to come. Many organizations nationwide, including the Fayetteville Cumberland Ministerial Council and The Group Therapy, strive to follow the pursuit of MLK’s dream just as he envisioned it in his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Speaker of the Day, Daryl Williams Jr., sealed the event with a remarkable speech, challenging the crowd to practice excellence in everything they do to produce excellence in all things. The Charlotte-based school administrator and motivational speaker/founder of My Pursuit of Excellence LLC shared his personal experience of being wrongfully accused of stealing over $1,000 worth of merchandise in the locker room, causing him to be expelled during his high school senior year. He got back on track towards his goal of excellence with the help of his teachers, who vouch for him because of his jovial character. Despite those hardships, he produced excellence academically through his character and how he treated people. “People will hear your words, but believe in the life that you live,” Williams stated.
Overall, the event created a space for youth in our community to share their gift of excellence while challenging them to continue producing excellence like Martin Luther King Jr., allowing them to dream as far as possible to soar in excellence. The event was also a focal point for the contributions black leaders have made or are making that will encourage generations to come to make a community impact.