Keeping Black culture alive in Central Texas through music, dance

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-23 12:35:48-05

CENTRAL TEXAS — When it comes to African culture, Darlene Golden, is well-versed.

She's the founder of Songhai Bamboo Roots, a non-profit organization in Central Texas committed to teaching kids about their African roots through music and dance.

The organization has been around for a decade now and Ms. Golden makes it her mission to touch the hearts of students who choose to join by teaching them about who they are through their history.

She believes if she does not take on this great responsibility, the culture will die.

She said, "The culture is dying and it shows in the music we hear today, the songs they have no substance, and if you’re really into the music they have like the HZ (hertz)…but when you think about the drums it’s a heartbeat."

That's where her expertise comes in, she teaches the youth how to use their creative energies on the drums, to create beautiful melodies and renditions.

The class is free of charge and because of their large presence in the Killeen and Copperas Cove communities, parents are always interested in signing their kids up to participate.

Tori Stickland, an African American mother in Killeen raising twins said she knew the group would be one that would help her kids get connected to their heritage.

“The day she made me the proudest mom , she was having issues with some girls at school because she refused to twerk, my daughter said: well no, we can twerk in the house , we can act a fool in the house but that’s not to be done outside.”

Dance has been a part of African culture from the beginning of times, particularly during times of spiritual worship, so it's within even the youngest of generations.

For Stickland, she's trying to instill discernment in her kids, teaching them there's a time and place for everything.

“I believe in giving them room to make life decisions but also making sure their guided, teaching them about their roots, who they are and why they are that way.”

Vennisha Rommis, a dance instructor with Songhai added her two cents in the conversation saying, "Dance is a part of who we are and how the group has many child-appropriate dance styles and lessons."

She even goes on to say, “It takes a village to raise a child, and all of this was conveyed in our music and dance... and that's what we are here at Songhai Bamboo Roots, if a child is lost and needs direction, we want them to come here and do something constructive.”

Information on signing up for Songhai Bamboo Roots can be reached here.