Jackson State University’s Department of Art and Theatre, Department of Music and Student Government Association, have partnered together to present “The Untold Stories of African Americans: A JSU Perspective” on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 10 a.m. in the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium.
Yohance Myles, actor and professor, will serve as keynote and the event will feature performances by The Ritz Chamber Players and MADDRAMA. Myles currently stars as Councilman Kent Hamilton on the OWN network television drama series “Ambitions” produced by Will Packer. Formerly a JSU theater arts professor, Myles is also the founder of “The BEing Within” Actor’s Studio Sessions, Inc., which provides inspiring actors with knowledge and life skills in order to sustain in the competitive entertainment industry.
“The Untold Stories of African Americans: A JSU Perspective” aims to enlighten audiences on the rich history of the university by unclothing the hidden contributions of the educators employed by the HBCU. The show will also use entertainment to share the contributions of African-Americans as a whole.
“The purpose is to educate the students, faculty, staff and community on more than Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and the Black Lives Matter movement,” explained Ramon Jackson, director of musical activities. “They have all made a positive impact on our communities. However, we also want to highlight those we don’t typically hear about. By enlisting the help of Yohance Myles, the Ritz Chamber Players and MADDRAMA, we want to tell our story in an exceptional way.”
Founded in 2002, the Ritz Chamber Players has uniquely redefined traditional arts participation to one that is reflective of a multicultural society. Group members perform with and hold principle positions in distinguished organizations like the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and the London Symphony.
The Ritz Chamber Players innovative programs have been featured and reviewed nationally in many publications such as Chamber Music America, International Musician, Ebony Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, The Florida-Times Union, and by Sarah Bryan Miller, critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
MADDRAMA was founded on the campus of JSU, in 2004, by Dr. Mark G. Henderson, artistic director and coordinator, in the Department of English. Aside from producing and performing quality plays, the theatrical performance group conducts educational workshops, supports the cultural enhancement of the community, heightens the awareness of theater as a cultural art form, and serves as a recruitment tool for JSU.