SOMERSET, NJ - Over 300 people gathered Saturday night at the Franklin Township Community/Senior Center for the fifth annual Divas & Gents Black History Month Celebration.

The event was a big success and very positive and inspiring," Councilwoman At-Large Kimberly Francois said. "Anytime you have over three hundred youth in attendance at an event celebrating Black History Month and expressing their cultural heritage through their arts and performances without incident is very positive. We even had the legendary RZA from the famous Rap Group Wu Tang Clan come form NYC and speak to  the youth and complimenting both the parents for supporting their children and the event at the Community Center."

The Divas & Gents is a community drill and drum squad, representing New Brunswick and Somerset and was founded in 2003. The group is a non-profit organization that has multiple squads made up with youth of varying ages, and it specializes in precision drill and drumming routines. 

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"I am really glad to hear everyone came out and had a good time and got along," Head Coach of Divas & Gents Angela King said. "I had to leave right before the show started to handle an emergency but my staff was there and made sure everything went smoothly." 

The celebration was sponsored by the Franklin Youth Initiative which is a “partnership between Franklin teens and adults aimed at making the township better for teens by organizing teen trips and events, creating recreational and educational programs, and searching for employment opportunities,” according to their website. 

The celebration was hosted by Miss Tasha Simmonds “Mama Cle” and was opened by a speech from motivational speaker Tormel Pittman. Over 20 different acts from Franklin, New Brunswick, Jersey City, Atlantic City, Trenton, and Philadelphia performed - dance, music, and instrumental routines. 

Simmonds kept the audience engaged and made sure all acts were ready to perform when their turn came up. During intermission a few performers took to the stage for an impromptu dance off facilitated by Simmonds "Let's keep it orderly and peaceful, we are all here to have fun," Simmonds said. 

During the celebration refreshments were sold and there were vending tables set up for attendees to purchase T-shirts, jewelry and other crafts. 

The following groups were scheduled to perform:

Dynasty Diamondettes - Royal Excellence - Dahliahs Steppers - Jessi Jone - Platinum Dance Team - Untouchable Technique - Krissy Worldwide Unique Stars - R.E.K - The Situation - Finest Drill Team - Team LightUp - Black Icee - Spazzz City - Dv8tors Dancers  -Hartford Proud - Rakeem Da Dream MCMG DSS Productions - DiamondzGurll - Uncanny Models - Philly Show Stoppas - Unique Drillers - Killer Motivation - Team Hybrid - Team Kashout - Unserenity - Jerseys Finest - Team Blackout - All Star Crew - Famous Boyz - *SHOW STOPPAZ* - New Sound Drill Team

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