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’s international hit song “Take Yo Praise” introduces the currently running Tribute Collection Commercial for Forevermark Diamonds.
A House Music remix of Camille Yarbrough’s song “Take Yo Praise” can be listened to on SoundCloud.
Eight Page excerpt of Nana Camille Yarbrough’s soon to be published autobiography “Strip Down Personal” pages 160-167 is in the current issue of Black Renaissance Noire. (Volume 17, Issue 2, Fall 2017)
Camille Yarbrough is interviewed in the forthcoming documentary Conversations: The Black Radical Tradition by Ed Stokes.
Most recently, Camille Yarbrough was a featured performer in Onaje Allan Gumb’s “Truth To Power” Concert at Aaron Davis Hall. She then returned to her hometown to perform at The Soulful Chicago Book Fair. Nana Camille also spoke to a group of young students in Harlem, New York at Carolyn Butts African Voice’s Get Your Read On Assembly at The Urban Assembly Academy for Future Leaders.
Nana Camille Yarbrough was honored at the 16th Annual Juneteenth Arts Festival in Brooklyn, The Langston Hughes Cultural Center in Queens, New York, and Essex County College in Newark, 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.
Camille Yarbrough was enstooled in New York by Abladei, Inc. (Ghanaian) as Naa Kuokor Agyman 1, founder of the Stool House of Harriet Tubman and was given the honorary title of “Nana”.
Yarbrough’s vision was nourished and became a creative force in her life when she toured 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 an independent study of African people throughout the Diaspora.
The world-traveling Chicago native currently resides in New York.
Nana Camille Yarbrough for twelve years was a faculty member at the 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 Drama Section of The New York Times. She also did a national tour of Ted Mann’s, Circle in the Square Theater Production of James Weldon Johnson’s play, God’s Trombones, was featured in writer Adrian Kennedy’s Cities in Bezique at New York’s Public Theater and 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. In contemporary pop cultural circles, Nana Camille is known as the singer whose song and vocals were sampled on the international mega-hit, Praise You, by techno-musician Fatboy Slim. Her first solo musical recording, The Iron Pot Cooker (1975) is where the hit song Praise You originated.
In 1979 Camille Yarbrough’s first book an award-winning, groundbreaking family book, Cornrows, (Putnam Publishers) was called “a gem” by Essence magazine was published and later three more books followed: The Shimmershine Queens, (Random House) The Little Tree Growing in the Shade (Putnam Publishers), and Tamika and the Wisdom Rings (Just Us Books). Camille Yarbrough wrote a three-part series “Black Dance In America” 1980-1981 was published by Black Collegian Magazine. Female Style and Beauty in Ancient Africa: A Photo Essay was published in The Journal of African Civilization’s Black Women in Antiquity edited by Ivan Van Sertima.
When asked about the relevance of her message for today, she explains: “In the tradition of the African jelimuso/griot, I am charged to do more than share stories, but I must preserve the meaning and beauty of culture. That work transcends time and space”
For a deeper exploration of Nana Camille’s career, visit