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FRESNO: Upcoming Black Music Month event this weekend will honor three Fresno community and local leaders

Often overlooked, these three men have quietly helped the Fresno community for decades

By ONME Newswire

FRESNO, CALIF--KOFP Radio 103.3 Fm “The Voice” will celebrate more than just its re-launch on Saturday, June 8, 2024 from 2:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Jericho Field at Vision View, located at 4974 E. Clinton Way, Fresno. Calif. 

     KOFP Radio, under its non-profit organization parent organization, Helping Others Pursue Excellence (H.O.P.E.) will host its first annual Black Music Month and Community Love Block Party.  This event is free to the public and will feature local artists from throughout the Central Valley, showcasing two stages, featuring emcees, Ken Mccoy, and Feather Da-Wyz.

     During the celebration, KOFP Radio will intertwine Black music history while highlighting local Central Valley musicians and bands such as:  emerging band, JPEG Sessions, a local jazz-infused R&B group made up of four Fresno State students and graduates; gospel legend, and humble servant, David Haynes; legendary musical artists, Bobby Brown, Bobby Logan, Charles “Al Turner,” Baby Bee and Ed Burke and the headliner group is Jamillah Oliver’s The Collective, a group of talented musicians from throughout the Valley. 

Here are the featured artists for headliner, The Collective:

Lila Imani and Tribal Behavior

Jae Summone

Alondra Williams Vasquez

Jade Hall

Jojo Keyes

J Cortez


     The event will also feature KOFP Radio’s first set of award honorees:  The KOFP Radio Community Gospel Award will go to Fresno church community singer, David Haynes; The Woody Miller Community & Broadcast Award will go to honor retired Fresno State professor and radio personality on 90.7KFSR, Dr. Robert Mikell; The Patrick Okoegwale “Innovative Award” will go to Edison High School innovative educator, Chris Finley.


Learn more below about the 2024 Black Music Month and Community Love Block Party Awardees.


About the Awardees


David Haynes was born to Bruce and Gladys Haynes in Fresno California, the oldest of his twin brother Donald Haynes who came alone 2 minutes after the 9th child out of his 12 siblings. 


David was baptized at Mt. Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Pastor L.C. Garrett at the age of 10 in 1969 along with his twin brother and baby sister, Janice Haynes.


“That is where I started singing and directing chior at the age of 10,” said David, “as well as singing at different churches with my brothers and sisters.” 


“My dad took us around The San Joaquin Valley, singing at different churches. He named our group, “the Haynes Spiritual,” I also became choir director of all the choirs’ of the church. I then started singing solos around Fresno and out of town; the first funeral I ever sung at was at Cooley's funeral home for one of my dad’s friends, Mr. Livingston.   I received a call, my dad handed me the phone, and the voice on the other end asked me if I would sing at this funeral, and I said ‘no,’ my dad took the phone, and told them ‘yes.’  My dad said, ‘You never turn away a family who have lost loved ones; that's why God gave you a gift to sing,’ .  He told me, ‘People will be depending on you in your life with your gift, and don't you let them down.’   So that's how I started singing at funerals.”


“I went on singing at wedding parties and other occasions and groups and other choirs.  I sung with churches such as the Westside Community Chior, which is now the Fresno Component Choir Gospel Music Workshop of America.  I sung with Providence Community Baptist Church, King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church, Union Baptist Church, Corinth Baptist Church, St. Paul CME, and Second Baptist in Madera, Calif.”



Dr. Robert S. Mikell is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, where he graduated from the Booker T. Washington High School. He holds an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration from Fresno City College, a bachelor’s, and master’s degree in business administration from California State University, Fresno, and the Doctor of Education degree from the University of Southern California. Dr. Mikell served as a member of the faculty at California State University, Fresno from 1972 until he retired in 2007 as a Full Professor, during which time he taught courses in Ethnic Studies (African American Studies) and in the School of Business (Management and Marketing). He served twelve years (1978-90) as the Chairperson of the Ethnic Studies Program. In 2007, the university bestowed on him the honor of Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies.

Dr. Mikell was the founder of the Africana Studies Research Center and served as the Director. His teaching emphasis was in socio-cultural dynamics which included courses in race relations, cultural diversity, and cultural music, as well as economic and business development. He developed and taught courses on African American Music and “The Life and Times of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Principles of Marketing, Organizational Behavior, and other courses.


Dr. Mikell’s research interest and consultation works are in the fields of minority business development, migration patterns, early New Orleans Jazz, innovative teaching through distance learning for which he received a FIFSE grant in the amount of $243,000, and the history of the Black town Allensworth (a published work). He received funding for several research projects that involved introducing students to research methodology.   Other projects funded were, The Evolution of African American Music which included weekend courses and lectures/demonstrations with live music performed by local musicians.

Dr. Mikell has written a manuscript titled, “Peter Davis: The First Music Master of the Great Louis Armstrong.” his most recent article is The Legacy of Louis Armstrong’s Music Teacher Peter Davis, The Syncopated Times, July 27, 2019. Several of his other publications can be found on the academic website,  

Dr. Mikell has distinguished himself through numerous community and University awards. He devoted himself to serving on a variety of committees at the Department, School, and University levels. He is a co-founder and former board member of Valley Small Business Development Corporation and was an elected official (seven years) for the Educational Employees Credit Union, where he served as the Chairperson of the Supervisory Committee.

Dr. Mikell presently volunteers as a Jazz Host at KFSR 90.7, FM streaming at, Red Beans and Jazz, Fridays, 9:00am to 12:00pm. His program theme song is “Hello Dolly” song by Louis Armstrong.


Chris Finley, Sr. is a native of Fresno, California. He attended Clovis High School, Fresno City College, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, National University, and Fresno Pacific.

Chris has taught physics, mathematics, men’s alliance, restorative justice and is currently the dual-enrollment teacher for the HBCU Step Up program at Edison High School. His tenure at Edison began in 1999 after teaching for three years for the Tulare Joint Union School District.

Prior to this he was the first Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Director at College of the Sequoias in Visalia. As director, he was responsible for running the tutorial center and providing academic counseling and support for underrepresented students pursuing degrees in math, science, and engineering. While working at COS he decided to enter the field of teaching. He felt that he would have the biggest impact in the classroom.

Chris has taught all levels of mathematics, as well as drafting, mechanical drawing, architecture, Computer Aided Drafting, physics, and Restorative Justice, which focuses on building community within the school.

He has been a speaker and presenter at various high schools, colleges, and teacher development conferences.

Since graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Chris has been involved with HCOP/AMP (Health Careers Opportunity Program/Alliance for Minority Participation) at CSU Fresno. He has taught for the Upward Bound’s summer program, the African American Historical and Cultural Museum’s summer enrichment program and Saturday school for Henry and Dr. Francine Oputa. Chris served on the United Black Students of California board for 17 years.

At Edison High School, Chris has been the Black Student Union Advisor and mentor for Young African American Males (YAAM). He has coached wrestling, badminton, golf, and football. He is the Edison Region Champion and HBCU Step Up teacher.

Chris was a member of the Transform Fresno Transformative Climate Committee for the City of Fresno. He is a member of the Local NAACP.

As a teacher advocate, Chris has been a part of union leadership for over 10 years. He was on the Fresno Teachers Association executive board and served as Director-at-Large and secretary. He served as the CTA Fresno/Madera Service Center Elections Chair. Chris was a State Delegate for the California Teachers Association for 5 years. His positions were, Vice Chair for the School Safety and School Management committee as well as a lobbyist at the state capitol.


Chris was the National Education Association Director for District 14 serving the Fresno/Madera, Merced/Mariposa, Delta & Stanislaus service center and lobbyist in Washington, D.C.


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