Nielah Spears, the President of Performers, Blessings & Jazz, Inc., has just recently returned from a personal, professional and ministerial journey to Cambodia in South East Asia. The trip was financed by a grant awarded through AmeriCorps for two years service. She was accompanied by students from the University of Albany, New York who were experiencing an international trip for the first time. Spears served as their guide and cultural diversity/international travel mentor. It was during this trip where she toured the former war ravaged countries, received continuing educational trainings on cultural diversity, in addition to assisting in the teaching of English to Buddhist Monks during the daytime hours and the youth in the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia in the evening hours.
One of the major highlights of her trip was when she traveled through the war torn areas devastated by the Viet Nam War including the well known “Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge” and the Tuol Sleng Genocidal Campground Audio Museum where actual recordings of the Viet Nam soldiers murdering Cambodians.
Nielah Spears is an international performing artist specializing in dance, vocal, and acting performances. She is also a minister, natural wellness facilitator and mentor of women and girls. She traveled earlier this year to Nigeria to develop relationships on the continent of Africa. These trips have helped to build capacity for her organization to produce touring events and special cultural service learning projects for artists.
She founded Performers, Blessings & Jazz, Inc. or PB&J in 2012 and serves as the President of the performing arts not- for-profit organization. In describing the multi-faceted group she stated, “This organization combines all of my passions and provides me opportunities to reach out to young people who maybe struggling with self-identification. It also helps to support their artistic ability by assisting their development and talent while providing a national/international stage to exercise those gifts.”
She describes one of the benefits of her international trips is being able to share what she experiences with the youth of our community through storytelling, pictures and videos. She exclaimed, “These are perspectives that our young people need to be exposed to. Not to find contentment in their local or personal situation, but to be exposed to people who appear to have less material things, but have an abundance of strength and tenacity from their ancestors and culture that provides the ability to overcome any obstacles.” She feels strongly that it allows them to get the face to face support to discover for themselves a reality that defines culture and creativity in the performing arts and the ability to take them to a higher level and greater dimensions.
After twenty-one years of performing internationally, Nielah felt, “there is a time when an artist has to find the purpose that drove them to their career and get back to providing the services necessary to continue to be motivated while obtaining the financial support to survive.” She has performed professionally an as independent artist internationally for several years touring 166 cities for every six month contract.
This is her the true, Ministry of the Arts, and its goal has always been to reinforce the importance of the arts and the role it plays for young people here in Pensacola and in communities throughout the region. She purports that by supporting the hopes and dreams of the next generation we are keeping them grounded in reality through positive reinforcement and mentorship.
Visit Nielah Black Spears on FACEBOOK for pictures and highlights of the trip to Nigeria and Cambodia. Starting Monday, October 27th at the Fricker Community Center Nielah will be facilitating health and wellness classes which includes foods that heal, body conditioning, meditation, and dance. Nielah has been a certified health and wellness practitioner since 2005.