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Recapping SBF 2023

Photo of soloist performing
Full crowd at the Paramount
Full photo of the orchestra


The SONGS OF BLACK FOLK returned for a second year after a truly magical debut two years ago before a mesmerized audience of more than 1,800. Songs of Black Folk took the stage of Seattle's Iconic Paramount Theatre on Sunday evening June 18th, at 7:00 pm.

SONGS OF BLACK FOLK 2023 once again presented a music tradition that began on the African continent and was transported to the Americas, via slave ships, and took root in the daily sufferings of an enslaved Black people who chose to survive and who fought to be free. This Concert featured the rise of the Negro Spirituals and demonstrate how they have evolved into other Black musical genres including, blues, Gospel, jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, and even spoken word. 

Importantly, the audience was shown how Black musical culture has functioned as both a tool of resistance and as a powerful source of hope for a Black people who have endured four centuries of white supremacy and its relentless assault on Black lives. Ultimately, the intent of SBF is to use music to connect the African American struggle for freedom, justice, dignity, and happiness with the struggles of other Americans who have had to fight their way from the margins of American society into the mainstream.

Outstanding Public Servant Awards

The SBF Outstanding Public Service Awards are intended to highlight and encourage the “next” generation of transformative servant leaders in the following five categories:

Girmay Zihalay

The Norman B. Rice

Community Development and Public Service Award


Presented to:

Girmay Zahilay

King County Councilmember

Michael Pamphlet

The Trish Millines Dziko

Diversity in Technology Award


Presented to:

Michael Pamphlet

Director of Academy Strategy & Design at Year Up

Josephine Howell

The Patrinell Wright

Excellence in the Performing

Arts Award


Presented to:

Josephine Howell

Leading Northwest Vocal Artist

Maxine Mimms

The Maxine Mimms

Educational Empowerment Award


Presented to:

Dr. Maxine Mimms

Educator/School Founder

Lyle Quasim

The Lyle Quasim

Social Justice & Activism Award


Presented to:

Lyle Quasim

Secretary WA State DSHS (Retired)


Songs of

Music of resistance and hope

black folk

Explore conversations below about what Juneteenth means for our community and purchase tickets now for this years incredible celebration.

Artistic Director and conductor

Ramon Bryant Braxton

Ramón Bryant Braxton

The Artistic Director, Orchestra Conductor, and Choir Director

Maestro Ramón Bryant Braxton returns for a second year as the Artistic Director and Conductor for SONGS OF BLACK FOLK 2023.  A native of Tacoma, Braxton is a product of the Black Church and the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) experience.

Featured Performers & PRESENTERS

Darin Atwater

Darin Atwater

James Conner

James Connor

Soloman Howard

Soloman Howard

Crystal Aikin

Crystal Aikin

Jacqueline Echols

Jacqueline Echols

Josephine Howell

Josephine Howell

Choral Singers

The Choir

Photo of the full orchestra

Orchestra & Rhythm Section

Smiling photo of our emcees

The Emcees

Isiaah Crawford

Special Greetings


Thank you for taking this journey through music at the historical Paramount Theatre

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