The Mann Center for the Performing Arts kicks virtual Black History Month celebration

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Mann Center for the Performing Arts kicked off its annual Black History Month Celebration: Voices of Hope!

It's usually a big, vibrant, musical event that fills the storied venue.

This year, it's gone virtual because of the pandemic, but they say the celebration will be bigger than ever.

Both the organizers at the Mann and the artists say the idea of celebrating feels so much more powerful this year. This year's event's centers on love, hope, health, social justice and how we, as a city, come together to grow stronger

"I think people are ready to celebrate," said Naomi Gonzalez, Vice President of Education and Community Engagement for the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. "We've been through a lot when it comes to politics, when it comes to social justice, when it comes to health disparities. We need to remember that there's a lot of beauty in culture and there's a lot of beauty in music and arts and that's what music and arts are for."

The Mann's four week, free Voices of Hope series kicked off Friday with the West African Rhythm & Dance group Benu Ausar.

"There's this energy globally of unity," said Saantis Davis, the band leader for Benu Ausar Philly. "Everyone is realizing that the underlying principle of life is unity. We are all the same."

Every Friday the Mann Music Room will feature black artists in our community, from jazz to gospel and hip hop.

Alongside each performance, there's also an educational activity guide that you can use as a family to learn more about the music, the artists and their place in Black history.

Click here for details.
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