Black Heritage Youth Celebration, a day of dance, music, poetry, and film, at the Family Partnership Center, February 21, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY-HipHop 101, a Vassar student organization, and R.E.A.L. Skills, based at Poughkeepsie's Family Partnership Center, will host a day of music, poetry, film, and dance, commemorating Black heritage and the great accomplishments of people of color on Saturday, February 21. The Black Heritage Youth Celebration, free and open to the public, will be held in the Lateef Islam Auditorium at the Family Partnership Center (29 N. Hamilton St, Poughkeepsie,, from 3:30-7:00pm. A Security Shuttle will be running from 3pm till 8pm, from Main Circle to the Family Partnership Center, to transport Vassar students to the event. (See detailed schedule below.)

Some of those who will be performing include Poughkeepsie's Beulah Baptist Church Choir; African drummers and dancers; talented Vassar and Poughkeepsie youth rappers; singers and dancers from the region, including the Poughkeepsie High School Step Team, M Power Dance Group, and Dutchess Community College Step Team.

Vassar junior Jay Leff, one of the co-organizers from HipHop 101, explained that this is really a unique program and "there isn't a celebration quite like this anywhere else in Poughkeepsie, and we're looking to make this event one of a kind! This is also a wonderful opportunity for Vassar students, community members, and students from other area colleges to come together and commemorate the achievements of African-American men and women who have played crucial roles in the development of Black history, courage, and dignity in our society."

In addition to the planned entertainment, there will be special presentations by students in the R.E.A.L. Skills Network Youth Leadership Initiative, which will acknowledge the success and contributions of local individuals of black heritage who are not often recognized.


The student group HipHop 101, a member of the Vassar Student Association, represents the four main elements of hip hop (breakdancing, MCing, DJing, and graffiti) with performers drawn from students, faculty, and staff.

The Relationship Empowerment Affirmation Leadership (R.E.A.L.) Skills Network Youth Leadership Initiative, directed by Tree Arrington, is a grassroots initiative concentrating on developing personal responsibility and community building for inner-city youth, are the co-sponsors of the program. Many Vassar students are volunteers for R.E.A.L. Skills, which is also one of 10 organizations supported this year by Community Works, a philanthropic campaign - funded by donations from employees and students of Vassar College - whose mission is to provide financial assistance to local not-for-profit organizations.


WHAT: Black Heritage Youth Celebration

WHEN: Saturday, February 21, 3:30-7 pm

WHERE: Lateef Islam Auditorium at the Family Partnership Center, 29 N. Hamilton St., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Schedule of Events:

3:30-3:45pm                        Opening Remarks

3:45-4:15pm                        Beulah Baptist Church Youth Choir and Praise Team

4:15-4:45pm                        Poughkeepsie High School Steppers with Class

4:45-5:15pm                        Ladies of Class Step Team

5:15-5:45pm                        Nomadic Thoughts Rap Group

5:45-6:15pm                        M-Power Dance Team

6:15-6:45pm                         Poughkeepsie Championship Light Feet Crews Team Smash

6:45-7:00pm                         Poetry and Closing Remarks

Refreshments served

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, February 19, 2009