Recently, Voorhees alumnus Jamal Josef recently received the Champion for Children Award at the Salute THEM Awards for his work in the community through dance to help inspire and change children’s lives.
Toyota North America and AARP present the Salute THEM Awards; the Salute THEM Awards honor the phenomenal contributions of Black creatives. Through a long-standing collaboration with AARP, Café Mocha is proud to bring together the National Museum of African American Music and Salute THEM Awards as they “Celebrate Black Joy” in music.
The Salute THEM Awards benefits the Mocha Cares Foundation to support housing and services to combat homelessness and domestic violence through mentorship programs. The Salute Them Awards
Josef said he was extremely honored to receive this award among some of the artists he has looked up to, such as Ludacris, Earth Wind & Fire, Sly Stone, and Patrice Rushen. “It was amazing for young aspiring dancers to realize that their dreams are possible and to be a role model for them to look up to. It was also a great feeling to bring my alma mater Voorhees College national representation on television.”
A part of his work in the community is teaching youth to dance and feel inspired to dance no matter who they are. Earlier this year, Josef’s first children’s book “Black Boys Dance Too,” was featured on the Today Show and 200 other media outlets, including television, radio, and
The Salute Them Awards producers saw Josef’s segment on the Today Show and wanted this achievement to be recognized. Josef said he wrote the book to break the negative stereotypes often associated with African-American male dancers.
“I want to open up the conversation about more performing arts creating a norm for young girls to see young guys pursuing a dance career that is absolutely acceptable,” Josef said. “I also wanted to show parents how to love and support their kids who choose this career path.”
Also, his choreography was acknowledged by a nomination for Best Live Stage Performance by the World Choreography Awards 2021. He said he wants to continue to use the media as a platform to bring awareness to the black community, young black male dancers, and Voorhees.
Josef earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2010. While at Voorhees, he was president of Model Troupe, captain of the Voorhees College Dance Team, a Voorhees College Concert Choir member, and a member of the Eta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity Inc., where he served as step master and president.
For more information about or to purchase Black Boys Dance Too, please visit www.jamaljosef.com or it is available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble.