Dr. John Henrik Clarke
Dr. John Henrik Clarke • our beloved Principal Advisor – transitioned to the ancestors on July 16, 1998. A professor in the Department of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York City, he retired from Hunter in 1984, after 20 years of service, but continued to teach as an adjunct professor until 1987.
Born on January 1, 1915, in Union Springs, Alabama, Dr. Clarke, who never received a college degree, became the founding president of the African Heritage Studies Association, an organization of world renowned scholars whose aim is to rescue
and reconstruct the documentation of African history and culture. For over a half a century, Dr. Clarke dedicated himself to the interpretation and academic preservation of the historical and cultural legacy of African people.
A prolific writer, he was the author and editor of more than 20 books and wrote over 50 articles. Even though he had been legally blind since the mid-80’s, Dr. Clarke wrote and read daily with the aid of a computerized reading machine which was purchased by a number of friends, colleagues and former students. After acquiring the reading machine in 1990, Dr. Clarke completed seven books. His more recent publications were New Dimensions of African History, African People in World History, and Malcolm X: The Man & His Times. His most ambitious work was Africa at the Crossroads: Notes for an African World Revolution, a collection of political essays and commentary.
Dr. Clarke described himself “first and foremost” as a Nationalist and a Pan-Africanist. In the final words which he wrote before transitioning to the ancestors, Dr. Clarke declared:“my feet have felt the sands of many nations, I have drunk the water of many springs. I am old, older than the pyramids, I am older than the race that oppresses me. I will live on … I will out-live oppression. I will out-live oppressors.” “DETERMINATION”
Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye
Senior Advisor to ADACI Senegal
Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye • Senior Advisor to ADACI Senegal – was the Chief Curator of the House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) and its Door of No Return on Goree Island, Senegal. The House of Slaves is a museum and memorial dedicated to the memorialization of the final exit point of many enslaved Afri-cans from the Continent during the Atlantic Slave Trade. Largely through the work of Ndiaye, the House of Slaves was reconstructed and opened as a museum in 1962 where he was appointed curator. The Maison des Esclaves is a central part of the Goree Island UNESCO World Heritage site, named in 1978, and a major attraction for tourist, especially those descended from enslaved Africans – in particular, African Americans – who have made the Museum a focal point of pilgrimages seeking to reconnect with their African heritage. Ndiaye was born October 15, 1922 in Rufisque, Senegal into a family of Gorean origin, and completed his primary education on Goree. He continued his education at the Professional School Pinet-Laprade Dakar, and later worked as a composer-typographer until he was conscripted into the French Army in 1943, where he participated in the liberation of France with the French First Army and was awarded the Distinguished War Cross, Officer of the National Order of the Lion, and Knight of the National Order of Merit of Senegal for a distinguished military career. Mr. Ndiaye, who transitioned to the Ancestors in 2009, remains one of the most renowned Senegalese figures in the world due to his impassioned advocacy of the historical significance of Goree Island and its impact on the commodification of captured African people.
Eurica Huggins Axum
Co-Founder and Director of International Affairss
Eurica Huggins Axum • Co-Founder and Director of International Affairs –
is a senior international relations and global educational leadership exchange professional with 20 years of progressive experience in the management of international educational and cultural exchange programs for foreign leaders from all regions of the world. She currently serves as the Senior Assistant Director for the International Visitor Leadership Programs Department at the Institute of International Education (IIE), the oldest and largest international educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States. She also served as the Unit Director for the Professional and Global Exchanges Division at IIE. Ms. Huggins Axum has successfully designed and managed short-term exchange programs for foreign leaders on diverse topics for several U.S. Department of State and White House special initiatives. Ms. Huggins Axum has been invited by foreign governments and the private sector to participate in several international educational/ cultural exchange programs in Brazil, Nigeria and Senegal that included a presidential delegation. She has made presentations nationally and internationally on topics such as Africa and the African diaspora, international education exchanges, and entrepreneurship. She is also the Public Relations Officer for KanKouran West African Dance Company based in Washington, DC. Ms. Huggins Axum holds a Master’s Degree in International Management from the University of Maryland (University College) and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Marketing from Bernard M. Baruch College. She currently serves on the U.S Board for the Center for Black Culture and International Understanding .
Mwangaza Michael-Bandele, Ph.D
Co-Founder and Founding Member Emeritus
Mwangaza Michael-Bandele, Ph.D • Co-Founder and Founding Member Emeritus –Earned her BA in African American Studies and Secondary Education and the MA in African History from Howard University. Ms. Michael-Bandele has developed courses in African Studies for public and private school systems and published several works on the impact of culture on academic achievement. She was an Associate Director at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and was involved with a national research project concerned with the development of culturally responsive teacher education curricula materials and has produced video learning materials and teleconferences on the impact of culture on teaching
and learning. She is a founding member of KanKouran West African Dance Company. A mother of two, and a grandMother, Ms. Michael-Bandele has traveled to Ghana on sveral occasions, as well as Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Kenya, and conducted field work in Zimbabwe. Recently, she completed a Doctor of Philosophy in African Diaspora History at Morgan State Univer-sity.Black Culture and International Understanding.
Paula Wright Coleman
Co-Founder and Director of Legal Affairs
Paula Wright Coleman • Co-Founder and Director of Legal Affairs – A proud Mother and Grandmother, Ms. Coleman grew up in Atlanta, GA and is a founding member of ADACI; undergraduate degree from Howard University and law degree from the University of Pittsburgh; retired federal government attorney; former company member with African Heritage Dancers & Drummers, and KanKouran West African Dance Company; docent at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art; coordinator of the children’s reading program at Sankofa Video and Books; member of the UNIA-ACL and managing editor for Garvey's Voice – the official magazine of the Government of the UNIA-ACL. She has traveled to West Africa, Kemet, Brazil, Cuba, Caribbean, American Samoa.
Kwasi Addai Cook
Memorial Design Architect
Kwasi Addai Cook • Memorial Design Architect – is passionate that good architecture and urban design can revitalize and strengthen our communities. An honors graduate of Morgan State University with a B.S. degree in Architecture and Built Environment Studies, his design concepts show a thoughtful connection to African principles and history. His student work for a community center in a converted rail depot was featured in the Montgomery Gazette. He keeps his pulse on recent development projects in the Washington, DC area, and the effects of gentrification on our communities. He is also a contributor to the blog Heart | Soul | Design, which explores design in architecture, fashion, nature, and the arts. His mission is to create places where we can thrive as an African community economically, socially, and aesthetically.
Senior Cultural Advisor
Melvin Deal • Senior Cultural Advisor – is the Founding Director and Executive Artistic Director of the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers, the oldest continuously operating dance company of its kind in the Washington, DC area.
Mr. Deal, a veteran artist of more than fifty-five years, has worked tirelessly in researching African cultural manifestations to be used in the building of Self-Esteem and addressing the presence of Violence, Delinquency and Dysfunctional lifestyles and abuse in African-American communities. An accomplish-ed, Dancer, Musician, Choreographer, Researcher and Director, Mr. Deal is a graduate of Howard University, with a BA degree in Fine Arts & Education. He has studied at Ghana University, University of Nigeria at Ibadan, and at numerous cultural institutions nationally and abroad in the African Diaspora. The recipient of many prestigious awards, among which include: The Washington Post's "Living Legends" Award, 1980; "Washingtonian of the Year, 1981;, "Mayor's Arts Award, 1981"; Baltimore's"Great Blacks In Wax Award", 1995; and the ADACI “Standing on the Shoulders of Our Ancestors Award”, 1999, Mr. Deal performs and teaches regularly in the African Heritage Dance Center and in many elementary and secondary school systems in the greater Washington, DC area. A consummate scholar of African dance, music, and culture, he conducts classes, seminars, master classes and lecture demonstrations for colleges, universities and provides special cultural input to motivational programs sponsored by the Robins Research Institute, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of Black Psychologists, Boys & Girl Scouts of America, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Criminal Justice, and many others. A community artist of uncommon perseverance, Mr. Deal is a consummate "Performance Artist", focusing his revealing and insightful presentations on issues of healing and spiritual renewal in the African diaspora community.
Babalawo Adejuwonlo A. Ekundayo
Babalawo Adejuwonlo A. Ekundayo • International Advisor – Priest of Orunmila, Ifalogist, Teacher, Medical Doctor and Community Organizer – Born in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa to Titilola and Ade-yemi Ekundayo, Baba Ade, as he is affectionately known, followed in the educational footsteps of his father, Ade-yemi. Both are western-trained medical doctors. Baba Ade has practiced family medicine, while his father, now deceased, was a surgeon. He is the younger of the two boys born to their Mother, Titi. Area residents will know Baba Ade through his brother, Olu Ekundayo, a well known community organizer and activist in Baltimore city. Baba Ade is happily married to Sister Mary Phillip of Delta state. The couple has three wonderful children, Olubemiga (named for his uncle Olu). Oludemiladelade, and baby Iyalode, the newest member who came into the family last September. Baba has been educated in the ten major religions of the world including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Sufism, which his father insisted he master before being taught the wisdom and mysteries of Ifa. A community organizer, Baba has been either the founder, director, publicist and overall organizer of many community organizations too numerous to name, including the Hawa Burka Foundation and Society, The Widows of Zarifa Trust, the Peoples’ Democratic Institute, and founding member of ADACI-Nigeria. With his brother, Olu, he has co-authored a manuscript awaitingpublication, Spirituality and Mental Health: An Ifa Overview.
Haile Gerima • Cultural Advisor – is an independent filmmaker and professor of film at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Ethiopia, Gerima emigrated to the United States in 1967. Following in the footsteps of his father, a dramatist and playwright. Gerima studied acting in Chicago before entering the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Televi0sion, where his exposure to Latin American films inspired him to mine his own cultural legacy. After completing his thesis film, Bush Mama (1975), Gerima received international acclaim with Harvest: 3000 Years (1976), an Ethiopian drama that won the Grand Prize at the Locarno film festival. After the award-winning Ashes & Embers (1982) and the documentaries Wilmington 10—U.S.A 10,000 (1978) and After Winter: Sterling Brown (1985), Gerima filmed his epic, Sankofa (1993). This formally ambitious tale of a plantation slave revolt was ignored by U.S. distributors, but Gerima tapped into African American communities, and booked sold-out screenings in independent theaters around the country. In 1996, Gerima founded the Sankofa Video and Bookstore in Washington, DC., a cultural and intellectual space that offers opportunities for self-expression, interaction, discussion and analysis through comm- unity events such asfilm screenings, book signings, scho-lar forums and artist showcases. Gerima continues to distribute and promote his own films, including his most recent festival success, Teza (2008), which won the Jury and Best Screenplay awards at the Venice Film Festival. He also lectures and conducts workshops in alternative screenwriting and directing both within the U.S. and internationally.
Historical and Memorial Advisor
C.R. Gibbs • Historical and Memorial Advisor – is the author/co-author of six books and a frequent national and international lecturer on an array of historical topics. He has appeared several times on the History Channel, French and Belgian television, and he wrote, researched, and narrated “Sketches In Color,” a 13-part companion series to the acclaimed PBS series, “The Civil War” for WHUT-TV, the Howard University television station.The Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Museum features Mr. Gibbs among its scholars at the museum’s Online Academy website. He is also a D.C. Humanities Council scholar. In 1989, he founded the African History & Culture Lecture Series whose scholars continue to provide free presentations at libraries, churches, and other locations in the Washington-Baltimore area.
In 1997, he led 26 people across the African continent. He won the 2008 Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation in Public Education, given annually by the Mayor of the District of Columbia. In 2009, the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust honored Mr. Gibbs for his more than three decades of articles, exhibits, and presentations on the military heritage of African and African Americans. In 2011, he provided historical commentary for WUSA-TV, Channel 9's coverage of the dedication of the King Memorial. In February 2013, he also appeared in the PBS documentary, “Meet Me At Equality” on the 1963 March on Washington. That same year, Mr. Gibbs also spoke at the annual observance of International Emancipation Day in Toronto, Canada. In 2014, Mr. Gibbs was a featured speaker at the National Civil War Project, a joint event sponsored by Arena Stage & George Washington University. Also last year, Mr. Gibbs was chosen one the 50 most influential people in the city by the Washington Informer newspaper.
Jameelah Morris • Youth Advisor – graduated from Tufts University in 2013 with a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish, where she was Co-President of the Pan-African Alliance and helped to lead the implementation of the Africana Studies program at Tufts. A native Washingtonian, she grew up in KanKouran West African Dance Company and ADACI, both inspirations behind her continued international and community work. Jameelah currently works at Root Cause, managing the City Strategy component for the company’s work with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), an organization focused on building and sustaining local BMA fields in cities across the U.S to improve the life outcomes of Black men and boys. In her role, she was a co-author of the 2015 report, The Promise of Place: Cities Advancing Black Male Achievement, which scores 50 cities according to their visible level of engagement and committed action on behalf of Black men and boys. Additionally, she organizes city convenings, disseminates assessments and other capacity building supports for leaders and organizations in CBMA’s member network. Ms. Morris also leads the Social Innovation Accelerator's operations and program implementation, cultivating external relationships and col- laborating with funders and leading stakeholders in the Black Male Achievement field. Prior to working at Root Cause, Jameelah sustained a long-term career with the international nonprofit organization Amigos de Las Américas (AMIGOS), leading and supporting projects in Honduras and Nicaragua. She is currently the Co-President of the Boston Chapter of AMIGOS.
Maureen O. Vanterpool, Ph.D
Maureen O. Vanterpool, Ph.D • Senior Advisor – has an enduring personal interest in the stories of freedom seekers and those who helped them, as well as the places where they found refuge a-long the Underground Railroad (UGRR). She has visited numerous sites in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York and she hopes to visit sites in other states. She is a friend of the Little Beaver Historical Society, which operates the Greersburg Academy Museum in Darlington, PA, a site reportedly associated with the UGRR. Several structures in that community are identified as UGRR stations. She is working toward helping the Society to join the National Park
Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. Dr. Vanterpool has dedicated her professional life to educating others. She retired from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA, where she served as a Professor of Organizational Leadership. In that role, she contributed to development of over 1,000 leaders across the Pittsburgh region. Currently, she is a Leadership Development Consultant who works with leaders of nonprofit organizations. She is a native of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Howard University and later she returned to St. Thomas. There, she served as a teacher and as a school administrator, while pursuing an M.A. in Education at the University of the Virgin Islands. Subsequently, she earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership at The Ohio State University. She plans to expand her professional pursuits to include educational projects that draw lessons in leadership for the present and the future, from the rich history of the UGRR.
Kevin Washington (Mwata Kairi), Ph.D
Kevin Washington (Mwata Kairi), Ph.D • Psycho-Spiritual Advisor – Father Kevin Washington, a priest in the African-American Catholic Congregation’s Imani Temple National Cathedral, is a licensed psychologist as well as an academician, an ordained minister, a dynamic speaker, author, life/relationship coach and percussionist who has served as a behavioral consultant for Essence Magazine Entertainment Television (BET) News, and many other national and international international organizations. His life is devoted to assisting people to step into their divine right to be and to become more powerful. Not only does he work in healing the psycho-spiritual wounds that are present within Black male-female relationships, he continues to develop healing paradigms for Afrikan Spiritual illumination beyond Persistent Enslavement Systemic Trauma (PEST). His method involves elevating spirit through providing transformational experiences found in spiritual alignment rituals/ activities in therapy, workshops, retreats and lectures. He also researches and writes about PEST, Cultural Trauma and the healing components of Ubuntu Psychology.
Currently a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies at Howard University in Washington, DC, Dr. Washington received a bache- lor's degree in Psychology from Grambling State University and a master's degree in Educational Psychology as well as a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Texas A & M University. He has served as Clinical Coordinator, and Consulting Psychologist for several mental health agencies and a foster care agency such as the Center for Life Enrichment and Helping Children Grow, Inc.
Additionally, he has taught at several universities and colleges including Grambling State University, Morgan State University, University of the District of Columbia, University of Nebraska, Trinity College, San Francisco State University and Rollins College. Currently, he is a Psychology Professor at Valencia College and a practicing psychologist for The Center for Optimal Life, his mental health practice, in Florida.
As a Fulbright-Hays scholar Dr. Washington researched the impact of socializing institutions on the healing or restructuring of post-apartheid South Afrika. Additionally, he researched traditional healing systems in South Afrika and Ghana, West Afrika. This work has been expanded to include research in Barbados and other Caribbean Islands. He is developing therapy (healing) paradigms for working with ethnically and culturally diverse populations with an emphasis on Afrikan American families, relationships, and men. The major thrust of the paradigms is to ensure that methods of healing are consistent with the essence and desires of diverse populations. His Afrikan-Centered therapeutic model has been implemented in the Prosocial Family Therapy Project that provided in-home family therapy in Washington, DC. He has published a book entitled The Resurrection of Black: Empowering Black Relationships to Succeed, and is set to release Get Up, Stand Up: A Message for Elevating the Warrior Spirit in Black Males and To Heal a People: Illuminating the Divine Afrikan Spirit in the near future.
Chief Financial Officer
Margaret Davis • Chief Financial Officer – native Washingtonian, undergraduate and graduate from Howard University in Nutrition Education and pursed business and accounting studies at the University of the District ofColumbia. Retired from the Rehabilitation Services Administration/Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program training Business Education to legally blind participants – presently an accountant for Adams Morgan Animal Hospital. Membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Sigma Xi and Beta Kappa Chi (national scientific honor societies). Former company and board member of KanKouran West African Dance Company. Docent at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art and a retired artist.
Karla M. Wynn Diouf
Director of Public Relations
Karla M. Wynn Diouf • Director of Public Relations – Karla M. Wynn Diouf [pronounced ‘Juif’] • has served as ADACI’s Director of Public Relations since 1994. A writer, editor, and blogger (http://wynnwrites productions .blog spot.com) and http://blog.loyola.edu/pastoral counseling) and book reviewer with a public and community relations background, she also provided promotional services for the KanKouran West African Dance Company, Mary’s First Child Productions by Charisma, and the Baltimore Bahá’í Community. Ms. Wynn was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia, Southern Africa who spent also over 25 years as a workforce development professional the City of Baltimore, District of Columbia, and Anne Arundel County, Maryland. An adherent of the Bahá’í Faith (www.bahai.us) for over 30 years, Karla served on the Faith’s appointed and elected institutions; taught children’s classes; produced radio broadcasts about the Faith on WEAA 88.9 FM in the 1990s; became a tutor/facilitator for the Ruhi Institute Spiritual Empowerment and Education Courses; facilitated courses on the Historical and Spiritual Significance of Being a Person of African Ancestry in the Bahá’í Faith; and delivered public addresses on various aspects of the Bahá’í Faith. The native New Yorker is an occasional performing artist having performed with the Metropolitan Washington Bahá'í Chorale, an International Bahá'í Choir in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, the Bahá’í Gospel Choir in New York, and the annual Bahá’í Choral Music Festival in Wilmette, IL; the KanKouran West African and Keur Khaleyi African Companies; and Mary’s First Child Productions by Charisma. She is the 2012-2016 Chaplain of the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. in Baltimore; and also a mediator and restorative dialogue facilitator with the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center at Howard Community College. She has a Political Science Degree from Hampton University; and Master’s Degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from Loyola University Maryland. A life-long learner, she has taken numerous professional development courses and has professional certifications as a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF), Workplace Excellence Certified Facilitator, and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). In addition, she is on the faculty of Anne Arundel Community College – serving as an Adjunct Professor who taught Business Courses to male prisoners at the Jessup Correctional Institution. Her students, aged 23-67 years of age, expressed rated “Professor Wynn” the 2015-2016 “World’s Best Teacher” who encourages them, treats them like human beings and students and pushed them to excel.
Director of Operations
Glo Ivoire • Director of Operations – A native of Pittsburgh, PA, she earned her undergraduate degree from Northeastern University in Civil Engineering and Criminal Justice, and received an M.A. in African and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Colorado, as well as an M.A. in International Economics from George Washington University, where she has completed her work towards a doctorate. A participant in Crossroads Africa, she has lived and worked in Ghana, and has traveled extensively throughout West and Southern Africa to such countries as Senegal, the Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, and Mozambique. She is a consultant on international issues, political campaigns, and event planning and special events. She presently consults with Julianne Malveaux’s organization, Last Word Productions, and is pursuing an MBA in International Finance at Michigan State University in Flint, MI.
Director of Aesthetics and Creative Services
Dietra Montague • Director of Aesthetics and Creative Services – An independent artist who has lived and studied the arts and crafts of North and West Africa, Central and South America, Mexico and Europe.Her passion was ignited as she began traveling in her late teens, first to Mexico where she visited all the finest arts and crafts centers, and then to Morocco where she lived and worked for two and one-half years, studying a wide diversity of subjects from gem identification to jewelry construction and weaving. Later in her travels, she studied bead technique, jewelry designing, basket weaving and textiles, and also traveled to Egypt, where she spent three months studying the music, art, dance, language, and customs of that country.
Ms. Montague’s altars have been installed in exhibits at the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis, Maryland, and at the Smithsonian Museums of African Art and American History and the Smithsonian’s Center for African-American Studies. She is also a recipient of a number of individual fellowship awards from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She is the Mother of a son, Aton, and grandmother of two.
Iya Motilewa Osunniyi (Tendai Paula Johnson) • Director of Domestic and International Programs – Tendai (Paula) Johnson is currently serving as Senior Program Associate/Consultant with ASSOCIATES FOR INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT, INC., Red Oak, Georgia, an educational management and consulting firm, providing formative and summative evaluations of federal grants and providing management and support training . Her former HBCU experiences include Special Assistant to the President for Grants Management and Support at Shaw University, Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Research, Testing and Title III programs at Fayetteville State University, Special Assistant to the Chancellor with responsibilities for institutional effectiveness and assessment, Director of Institutional Research at Coppin State University and adjunct professor in the department of history at Morgan State University. Other professional experiences include work in both public and private sectors. For numerous years Ms. Johnson worked as a corporate middle-level manager where she provided services to both vocational education and K-16 academic institutions. She has an extensive grant writing and management background that includes both national and international responsibilities and experiences. She is the former chair of the International Advisory Committee at Fayetteville State University. A former graduate student (ABD) from the Morgan State University Department of History, Ms. Johnson’s concentration and area of interest is African and African Diaspora Studies. A graduate of Southern Illinois University and the University of Minnesota respectively, her MA in The History of African People prepared her for the rigors of the various professional positions she has held. Her extensive international travel has provided her with rich and rewarding experiences to live, study and work in other cultures. Ms. Johnson is a critical thinker and motivated manager dedicated to the success and growth of historically Black colleges and universities. An initiated Priest of Osun, her education background in African and African Diaspora Studies coupled with extensive international travel have supported her commitment to the uplift of African people world -wide. Mother and grandmother are her greatest challenge and reward.
Binti Renaa M. Sol
Director of Membership, and Associate for Events Design
Binti Renaa M. Sol • Director of Membership, and Associate for Events Design – Binti Renaa M. Sol ,is ADACIs Associate for Events Design. Is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylania and retired from the hospitality industry in Washington, DC. Ms. Sol is a talented tailor and designer of fashions, textiles and interior designs. A skilled barber and natural hair braider. She has served customers and artists from Philly, NYC, the Washington, DC metro areas and the West coast. Including tailoring dance costumes for premier African dance companies of Washington, DC. ie. The African Heritage Dancers and Drummers and the Kankouran West African Dance Company’s Children’s Company. The African design aesthetic has been the impetus for her designs and continues to be the driving force For her creations. And she is dedicated to the perpetuity of African culture’s, designs ,textiles, music, arts, dance And more. She has traveled throughout the Caribbean in Trinidad, Jamaica, The Bahamas, The Virgin Islands Mexico and Aruba.
(Aza Zhenga) Donna Maria Smith
Director of Marketing and Web Content Manager
(Aza Zhenga) Donna Maria Smith • Director of Marketing and Web Content Manager – is a native of the South Carolina Lowcountry; a descendent of traditional Sweet Grass Basket Makers; an accomplished poet who weaves words the way her grandparents weaved their famous baskets; a graduate of Clemson University’s College of Engineering and Science; a project manager with the USHUD; author of ‘Self Acceptance – Poems by donnamariasmith featuring ‘He Go Trippin’; recipient of the prestigious 2009 ACHIEVERS Award, presented by Africa’s International Media Summit; and has studied in various cities in Egypt, toured the northern countryside of Ethiopia, and visited Caribbean countries. She is the proud mother of Amari.