Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre celebrated 47 years of keeping soul alive in Harlem with the eighth annual TEER Spirit Awards Gala, held Thursday, June 18 at the National Black Theatre, located at 2031 Fifth Ave. The benefit was held on NBT’s Founder’s Day, marking what would have been the 78th birthday of pioneering theatrical visionary Teer. NBT is the oldest continuously operated Black theater in New York and one of the oldest organizations led by a woman of color in the United States.
Honorees included Spelman College President-elect and Dean Emerita, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell; renowned dancer, actress and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade; rising star director Kamilah Forbes (“Fried Chicken & Latkes,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Stick Fly,” Def Poetry Jam”); acclaimed Artistic Director of Baltimore’s Center Stage and Order of the British Empire recipient Kwame Kwei-Armah; renowned dramaturg and editor Sydne Mahone; two-time NAACP Image Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau (“Skeleton Crew,” “Detroit ’67,” “Follow Me to Nellie’s”); Pregones Theater + Puerto Rican Traveling Theater Artistic Director Rosalba Rolon; and California Institute of the Arts Director of Arts Roberta Uno. Chief Nike Monica Okundaye, the Nigerian humanitarian, textile designer, artist and arts educator, was awarded in absentia.
Photos by Bill Moore
Other attendees included emcee and multiple award-winning Russell G. Jones (“Ruined,” “Traffic”); actress Rain Pryor, whose one-woman show “Fried Chicken & Latkes” is currently running at NBT through June 28, and actor Glenn Gordon of “Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments” (both of whom performed selections of the respective works at the event); Bert Price, conductor of the NBT House Band; NBT CEO Sade Lythcott; and Director of Theater Arts Program Jonathan McCrory.