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Eddie Maultsby Jr. performs with his group, the Gospel Commandoes

Gospel artists and community unite to support Black Power 96 Radio

By Dr. Mariah C. Bond, Black Power 96 Radio Volunteer

The pulsating beats of gospel music reverberated through the air as Black Power 96, the eminent black radio station in St. Petersburg, Florida, hosted an electrifying benefit concert dedicated to celebrating African history on March 16, 2024.

Under the visionary leadership of station manager and fervent community advocate Eddie Maultsby Jr., the event unfolded as a powerful fundraiser supporting Black Power 96.

Taking center stage at Pastor Elizabeth V. Siplin’s New Faith Free Methodist Church, the concert illuminated the profound legacy of African gospel music.

Hosted by the esteemed Pastor Eric Davis, the event showcased a stellar lineup of gospel luminaries, including the illustrious “Ray Charles of Gospel,” Eddie Maultsby Jr. himself, alongside the Gospel Commandoes, in addition to gospel musical acts S.Y.T.E, Natasha Cash, A. Reneé, Aleah Rae and The Faithful Five.

Black Power 96 unwaveringly supports the community. It’s a project of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF), a nonprofit addressing the educational, health and economic disparities that African people face to defend their civil and human rights.

Beyond showcasing the musical talents of local artists, the concert provided a platform to highlight the importance of preserving African history and faith traditions. By bringing together performers and audiences from diverse black faiths to raise funds, the event underscored the universal appeal and enduring relevance of religion and gospel music in doing so. Maultsby passionately emphasized, “In the crucible of slavery, songs were the beacon of strength and resilience for our forebears, and today, gospel music continues to inspire and unite us.”

More than a showcase of musical talent, the benefit concert demonstrated the pivotal role of gospel music in uplifting communities and preserving cultural heritage, exemplified by how the community came together to raise funds for Black Power 96. The event highlighted the enduring allure and timeless relevance of gospel music and spirituality by uniting performers and attendees from diverse black faith backgrounds. Guided by Black Power 96 FM’s mission to “not only explain the world but also change it,” the concert emphasized that the journey forward is as crucial as the history behind us. This musical celebration embodied the resilience, faith and unity of black people, echoing through the faithful harmonies of gospel music.

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