By Kodiak Hamff
On Feb. 27, music filled the LAHC cafeteria when the Silvertone Singers, alongside Tyra “T-Lilly” Mcnair, Big Brother Dee and Tony Ray, put on a show to help celebrate Black History Month with songs such as “Luv ‘em Anyway.”
The Silvertone Singers were started in 1913 in Vicksburg, Miss. They are the oldest traveling group of African-American singers. The singers are based at Jesus Dwelling Church in Long Beach.
Mcnair met up with the group as they were performing at a Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Long Beach on Aug. 28. Mcnair is a 20-year veteran of acting, nicknamed “The Lip-Synch Queen” by the industry. She introduced Big Brother Dee to the singers along with Tony Ray and Dee’s nephew, Ritchie, in Hollywood. When asked by the singers what role she would like to portray in the show, she said, “God told me to do Harriet Tubman.”
Playing this part, she performed a monologue in which she spoke about how God gave her the power to help develop the Underground Railroad, which was used to free slaves.
When the reporter asked how she keeps her voice from dulling or cracking, she gave a single word answer, “God.” The group is now headed by Pastor L. Jackson who is also the leader of Jesus Dwelling Church in Long Beach. She attributes the formation of the current performers to divine intervention.
There was also a Culinary Arts student in the ranks of the performers that day by the name of Lawrence Jones who did a baton twirl, Hambone dance and rap song for the audience. Chef Giovanni is credited with getting the performers here.