Camille Yarbrough is an award-winning performance artist, author, and cultural activist. With a career that spans over sixty years, several continents, countless awards and accolades, and a few generations, Nana Camille has earned legendary status. She continues to inspire audiences today via her local, long running television show of sixteen years (Ancestor House), via her popular musical CD (also entitled Ancestor House), and via performances and lectures focusing on poetry, music, Black art, spirituality and culture.
Camille Yarbrough having been enstooled in New York by Abladei, Inc. (Ghanaian) as Naa Kuokor Agyman 1, founder of the Stool House of Harriet Tubman and again in the city of Agogo in Ghana is often called the honorary name of “Nana”.
Nana Camille Yarbrough was most recently honored in 2016 at the 16th Annual Juneteenth Arts Festival in Brooklyn, The Langston Hughes Cultural Center in Queens and Essex County College in New Jersey.
She is regularly called upon to share her wisdom and life/work, at Kwanzaa celebrations and Haitian tributes at York College, concerts in New York for Maulana Karenga, or on the Michael Eric Dyson Radio Show. Regardless of the medium, Nana Camille’s life-long vision remains clear. She consistently champions the beauty and greatness of African people wherever they are in the world.
Her mission is to raise their glory and in so doing vibrate that thread of humanity that links us all.
Yarbrough’s vision was nourished and became a creative force in her life when she toured with the pioneer dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company of Dancers, Singers, and Musicians. There Nana Camille honed her performance and producing gifts and immersed herself in independent study of African people throughout the Diaspora.
The world-traveling Chicago native currently resides in New York.
Nana Camille is also an educator at heart and for 12 years was faculty at City College of New York where she taught African dance and the Harlem community courses. As an accomplished theater actress, she co-starred in Lorraine Hansberry’s To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, and did the national tour as a member of the company. Later she recorded the cast album and wrote a half-page article about the show. Published in The New York Times. She also did a nation tour of Ted Mann’s, Circle in the Square Theater Production of James Weldon Johnson’s play, God’s Trombones, she was featured in writer Adrian Kennedy’s Cities in Bezique at New York’s Public Theater and she danced, sang and acted in the Broadway Musical, Kwamina.
For television and film, her credits include soap operas; Where The Heart Is, Search For Tomorrow, Television Special; Soul, CBS Special; Caught in the Middle and Gil Noble’s Like It Is. She also toured in her one woman show; Tales and Tunes of an African American Griot.
When asked about the relevance of her message for today, she explains:
“The freedom of the African mind depends on us being re-educated about our history and our culture. As a griot, I am charged to do more than share stories but I must preserve the meaning and beauty of our culture. That work, with me as a keeper of our culture, transcends time and space. That’s why the themes of my books and my music are not bound to my generation. The ancestors ensure that my work has meaning for all and all ages.”
For a deeper exploration of Nana Camille’s career, visit www.CAMILLEYARBROUGH.com.