NAN Celebrates Living Black History, Honoring Camille Yarbrough

Every day during Black History Month, we will honor chapter leaders, advocates, and partners who are shaping Black History now.

(February 16th, 2021) — Today we honor Camille Yarbrough.

Camille Yarbrough is a musician, actress, poet, activist, television producer, and author. She is best known for “Take Yo’ Praise,” which Fatboy Slim sampled in his track “Praise You” in 1998. “Take Yo’ Praise” was originally recorded in 1975 for Camille Yarbrough’s first album, The Iron Pot Cooker, released on Vanguard Records. The album was based on the 1971 stage dramatization of Yarbrough’s one-woman/spoken word show, Tales and Tunes of an African American Griot, which she toured nationally during the 1970s and 1980s. Her second album is a spoken word/soul/blues CD released in 2003 on her own record label Maat Music. Entitled Ancestor House, the album was recorded live at Joe’s Pub in New York City.

Known for her dedication to raising cultural awareness among African Americans, Yarbrough has used her broad range of talents to serve as a voice of inspiration and hope within her community. Her 1975 album, The Iron Pot Cooker, has been heralded as a precursor to modern rap, and her four children’s books have received high praise.

During the sixties and seventies, there were marches, and riots, and protests. Black Panthers were being jailed and killed. Black people were outraged and fighting back. Camille Yarbrough was always right there to support her brothers and sisters. Being a performer on the stage Yarbrough took her outspoken perspective of the civil rights movement and intertwined it with her performances. “I would always lend my support. Every march there was, every protest there was, I was there, as a poet. I would perform my song “All Hid, “ says Yarbrough. She often spoke at rallies and marches and joined organizations such as Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

Camille Yarbrough has journeyed on a particular path, a spiritual and cultural path, leading her into griot woman positions; songstress; poet; author; actress; teacher; dancer; lecturer; activist, and broadcaster. She took and continues to take her positions seriously, with grace and humility. Camille Yarbrough, renaissance woman in her lifetime. All these things are the reasons why we love and appreciate her. Find her extended bio here.