Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
October 31, 2014

Advocates Demand The NYPD Stop Handcuffing 5-Year-Olds

Handcuffs
Chris Mathias

Man Convicted Of Double Murder In Landmark Case Released From Prison

Alstory
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Problem With That Catcalling Video: They Edited Out All The White Guys

171248054
olaser via Getty Images

Ta-Nehisi Coates On White Supremacy And A Life Of Struggle

Ta Nehisi Coates
Leigh Vogel via Getty Images

It's About Time Someone Other Than Straight White Males Got To Be Superheroes

Chadwick Boseman
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Twitter Account Leaking Details About Ferguson Investigation Was Hacked, Prosecutor Claims

Bob Mcculloch
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Why Black Women Are Less Likely To Survive Breast Cancer

Black Woman Patient
Siri Stafford via Getty Images

Halloween: The Season for Culturally-Insensitive Fashion

Native Feathers
Milk & Honey Creative via Getty Images

Mitt Romney: Obama Hasn't Given The Poor And Minorities Enough Gifts

Mitt Romney
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Beyond Ferguson -- Unrepresentative Democracy in City Elections

Election
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis for Black Women

Here Is Why 'Redskins' Shouldn't Be Heard On Television

No Honor In Racism
Red Circle Agency

California Health Officials Investigate Illness At NAACP Conference

Ambulance
PNC via Getty Images

Chicago Man Says Police Stormed His Home After He Was Just Walking Down The Street

Arrest Video
NBC Chicago

Cosby Has No One to Blame But Cosby for His Sullied Image

Bill Cosby
Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

Watch Nas React To Seeing An Ancestor's Bill Of Sale Into Slavery

Nas Finding Roots
PBS

Republicans Fear Price To Pay For Attacks On Black Interests

Vote
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Zambian President Michael Sata Dies

Michael Sata
Pool via Getty Images

Ebola Appears To Be Slowing In Liberia: WHO

Liberia
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Giants Are World Series Champions!

Giants World Series
Pool via Getty Images

Suspected Boko Haram Militants Attack Another Nigerian Town

Nigeria Soldiers
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Watch This Dancing Traffic Cop Tear Up The Roads With His Sweet Moves

Dancing Cop
WTHI

Meet The Guy Who Just Bought 6,000-Plus Neglected Properties In Detroit

2551 Fischer
Motor City Mapping

LOOK
Kansas City Star's Stunning Royals Front Page

Kansas City Royals
Newseum

Coke Is Targeting Nations That Don't Have An Obesity Epidemic... Yet

New Bill Sets A Precedent For ‘The Erosion Of Free Speech'

Mumia Abu Jamal
Lisa Terry via Getty Images

New York Police Study Reveals 'Stark Racial Biases'

Nypd
Travelif via Getty Images

When It's OK To Use The 'R-Word'

Cover Mouth Black
g-stockstudio via Getty Images

Meet 3 People Working To Ensure The Next Hurricane Sandy Doesn't Take Such A Terrible Toll

Hurricane Sandy
Spencer Platt via Getty Images

White House Fears Cyberattack Underway

White House
JIM WATSON via Getty Images

How Felons' Right To Vote Protects American Democracy

Voting
Blend Images - Hill Street Studios via Getty Images

Freedom Summer, 2015

Freedom Summer Civil Rights
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Groups Pledge $8 Billion For Horn Of Africa To End Poverty

Ethiopia Poverty
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Advocates Welcome Retirement Of Rikers Official Who Oversaw Violent Juvenile Facility

Rikers
NYC DOC

Ebola Researcher Raises $100,000 Via Crowdfunding

Ebola Clinic
John Moore via Getty Images

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. Black Voices
    4. View all RSS feeds

23 Things Any 'Scandal' Fan Knows To Be True

Olivia Pope Scandal
Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

What Nelly Tries To Remember About Raising Kids Today

Nelly
HuffPost Live

Why Deion Sanders Will Never Be On 'DWTS'

Deion Sanders Toe
HuffPost Live

Chris Rock Shows A Totally Different 'Prince' In 'SNL' Promos

Snlrock
NBC

Rihanna Gets Risqué For AmfAR

Rihanna
Steve Granitz/WireImage

The Real Story Behind Boyz II Men's Estranged Fourth Member

Boyz Ii Men
Gabriel Olsen via Getty Images

'SNL's' Michael Che Takes Heat For Street Harassment Comments

Michael Che
NBC via Getty Images

Things You Don't Know Your Natural Hair Can Do

Teyonah Parris
Bright Ideas Magazine

WATCH
This Was One 'Thriller' Of A Baseball Game

Thriller
AOL Huffington Post Video

Viola Davis Explains Why The Wig Had To Come Off

How To Get Away With Murder
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

This Is The Greatest Boxing Moment Since 'Rocky'

Tyson
NBC

At Least Theophilus London's New Song Features Kanye West

Theophilus London
SoundCloud

This Is What Happens When Fred Armisen & Ice-T Play Video Games

Ice T
Andy Kropa /Invision/AP

Marvel's Making A 'Black Panther' Movie

Chadwick Boseman
Andreas Rentz via Getty Images

Man Arrested For Pot Tells Cops He's Denzel Washington

Justin Lee Seay
Rutherford County Jail

13 Real-Life Struggles Of Perpetually Forgetful People

Forget
Imgur user: larhavoc

Dionne Warwick: Don't Call Me A Diva

Dionne Warwick
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

That Time Blake Griffin Attended A 'White Party' At Donald Sterling's House

Blake Griffin
YouTube

David Oyelowo Talks 'Selma'

Selma
CloudEightFilms

How Beyoncé & Jay Z Spent Their Monday Night

Beyonce Jay Z Nightcrawler
Mammoth PR

Angela Bassett Really Doesn't Want To Sing On 'American Horror Story'

Angela Bassett
FX

IT'S A GIRL!

Lebron James Savannah
Michael Loccisano via Getty Images

A Day in the Life With Angela Simmons: Girl Boss on the Rise

Angela Simmons
Stephen Lovekin via Getty Images

VIDEO: Vy Higginsen Brings 'Mama, I Want to Sing' To A New Generation

Comments (8)


It's no secret that New York radio personality and theater producer Vy Higginsen is on a mission to save today's teens. Not only is Higginsen concerned with educating America's youth, she is also determined to redeem the art and history of Gospel music through her Harlem organization 'Gospel for Teens.'

Each fall, Higginsen, who also serves as the Executive Director of The Mama Foundation for the Arts, recruits teens ranging from the ages of 13 to 19 to join her upbeat Gospel crew. In addition to the programs and many initiatives to formally train aspiring singers, Higginsen and her team are also adamant about developing mechanical skills in each student.



In the midst of a recent Saturday session, the seasoned theater vet noticed that many of her students were soft spoken and appeared self-doubting about where they were raised. Their behavior struck a cord with Higginsen, which led to an exercise featuring each student shouting their name along with the town that they resided in.

"They were mumbling and they were saying it under their breath," she explained during an episode of '60 Minutes' earlier this month. "And I was like, 'this is terrible' [It's like their saying] 'I'm ashamed of who I am and where I come from."

The demonstration was nothing new for Higginsen, who has broken down barriers throughout her career, including becoming the first woman in advertising sales at Ebony magazine and the first black female writer, producer, and director of the Off-Broadway musical 'Mama, I Want to Sing.'

Higginsen's track record has helped to fund 'Gospel for Teens' solely from grants, small donations, and ticket sales from 'Mama, I Want to Sing.' Implementing a non-profit business model for the organization allows the participating teens to focus on their talents and not worry about tuition.

"Any worry, any pain, any problem with your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, the dog, the boyfriend. I want that out now of your consciousness," Higginsen declared to the class later in the '60 Minutes' episode. "That's your baggage; leave the bags outside, because this time is for you."

Check out an exclusive excerpt of 'Mama, I Want to Sing' featuring the students of 'Gospel for Teens.'

PRODUCTION PLAYER! DO NOT DELETE.



http://xml.channel.aol.com/xmlpublisher/fetch.v2.xml?option=expand_relative_urls&dataUrlNodes=uiConfig,feedConfig,entry&id=947308&pid=947307&uts=1303859250
http://cdn.channel.aol.com/cs_feed_v1_6/csfeedwrapper.swf

Stars of Broadway

Phylicia Rashad, who warmed millions of TV viewers' hearts in the 1980s as Clair Huxtable on the groundbreaking NBC sitcom 'The Cosby Show,' has taken on a role like none other. Making a triumphant return to Broadway in the spring of 2009, the Tony Award-winning star of plays such as 'A Raisin in the Sun,' 'Gem of the Ocean' and 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,' exposed an emotional depth and acting range that is unparalleled. In the Pulitzer prize-winning play 'August: Osage County,' Rashad portrayed Violet Weston, the pill-popping, acid-tongued, no-holds-barred central figure of a dysfunctional clan experiencing the sudden loss of its patriarch.

Stars of Broadway

Hip-hop superstar Sean "Diddy" Combs won rave reviews as Walter Lee Younger in the 2002 revival of the classic play 'A Raisin in the Sun.'

Stars of Broadway

On the big screen, he's best known for voicing the character of Darth Vader in the 'Star Wars' franchise, but Mississippi-born James Earl Jones is an accomplished stage actor. Over his career, he's won seven Tony Awards since his 1969 breakout role in 'The Great White Hope.' Some of his notable performances include Oberon in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' and more recently as Big Daddy in the 2008 revival of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.' In October of 2010, he returned to the stage in 'Driving Miss Daisy' opposite Vanessa Redgrave.

Stars of Broadway

It takes some serious vocal chops to be the youngest winner of 'American Idol.' Given that's how Jordin Sparks got her start, it would come as no surprise that the 'No Air' singer would nail the role of Nina in the musical about growing up in Washington Heights, 'In the Heights.' Sparks made her Broadway debut late summer of 2010.

Stars of Broadway

After years of toiling on TV shows and films, acclaimed actors Ernie Hudson (of 'Oz' fame) and LaTanya Richardson Jackson (previously seen in 'The Fighting Temptations') made their Broadway debuts in the critically acclaimed revival of the August Wilson play 'Joe Turner's Come And Gone,' which opened at the Belasco Theatre on April 16, 2009. The story is set in a Pittsburgh boarding house circa 1911 and features a colorful cast of characters played by Chad L. Coleman, Roger Robinson, Aunjanue Ellis, Andre Holland, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arliss Howard, Danai Gurira, Michael Cummings and Amari Rose Leigh.

Stars of Broadway

Fans of Disney's 'High School Musical' franchise headed to Broadway to check out Corbin Bleu's Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning musical 'In the Heights.' The 21 year-old thespian, who is a native of Brooklyn, New York and trained under Debbie Allen's tutelage, took over the lead role of Usnavi in the spring of 2010.

Stars of Broadway

Hollywood heavyweight Cedric The Entertainer joined Tony Award nominee John Leguizamo and Academy Award nominee Hayley Joel Osment in a November 2008 revival of David Mamet's classic play, 'American Buffalo,' which played a short riun at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway. Following three small-time crooks who wax philosophically about society while conspiring to steal a rare and valuable coin from a neighborhood collector, the Oscar Joyner produced production marked the funnyman's debut on The Great White Way.

Stars of Broadway

'American Idol' Season 1 finalist Tamyra Gray blazed a new trail on Broadway when she revamped the look of lead character Mimi, a drug addicted HIV positive spitfire in the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical 'Rent.' It wasn't the first time around the track for the former Georgia pageant queen; she previously starred in the Indian inspired outing, 'Bombay Dreams.'

Stars of Broadway

Patti LaBelle joined the cast of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical 'Fela!' on Sept. 14, 2010. The Grammy Award-winning diva took over for Lillias White, who originated the Broadway role of the African musical pioneer's mother. The musical's big-name producers, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith came out to cheer on Patti for her first performance.

Stars of Broadway

Having already criss-crossed the world as a member of the most successful girl group of all-time, Destiny's Child, and appeared on Broadway replacing Toni Braxton as the title character in 'Aida,' in 2003, Michelle Williams took her return to The Great White Way seriously. She first played the lead role of Roxie Hart across the pond in the West End production of 'Chicago' in July of 2009 before shaking it up on Broadway.

Stars of Broadway

Comments: (8)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 1

Add a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed but they are required to confirm your comments. When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password."