The Mann’s annual Voices of Hope: A Celebration of Black Excellence host an all-star and uplifting lineup of inspiration for younger generations.
The one thing that is often overlooked regarding Parkside Avenue’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts is how the non-profit organization has a mighty Education & Community Engagement Program which reaches 30,000 young people annually through free programming and also hosts its Mann Music Room where people of all ages can explore global cultures through original episodes of programming that connect artists and audiences, home to home, and include printable student activity guides for further enrichment. That’s a thing. It is in that spirit – to say nothing of getting it on live, as The Mann does – that their annual Voices of Hope: A Celebration of Black Excellence happens, and, on Friday, May 6, dedicates itself to the Philadelphia region’s most powerful voices, literally and figuratively.
“The event aims to spotlight a level of excellence for younger generations to strive for,” goes the Mann’s legend in regard to the Black artists, trailblazers and community advocates welcomed by this annual Voices of Hope celebration embodying a culture of compassion and positive change. “The central theme for this year’s Voices of Hope celebration is joy, with focuses on music, culinary, uplifting the community and unsung heroes. Focusing on these universal themes by amplifying the incredible contributions of African American culture can be unifying and powerful.”
While the Voices of Hope’s honorees include Valarie Cofield (Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council) and Leslie Smallwood-Lewis & Gregory Reaves (from Mosaic Development Partners), I’ll be yelling loudest for Robert and Benjamin Bynum, the brothers from South Jazz Parlor and Restaurant, who made their lives in entrepreneurship through live locations such as Warmdaddy’s, Zanzibar Blue, NXNW, and Club Impulse, and restaurants such as Relish.
Along with keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake doing the honors, another honoree, Philly R&B songstress Carol Riddick will act as the night’s musical guest, along with rapper-singer Chill Moody and jazz jammer Eric Wortham II. Brandon Pankey is the night’s emcee, and never forget, this celebration is also a party. Act accordingly.