DADA RAFIKI: A Celebration of Sisterhood | Fri., October 27 | Aronoff Center

CCA_Dada Rakiki logoOctober 27, 2017 – Aronoff Center

 CINCINNATI, OH – Award-winning Artist/Poet Annie Ruth and the Cincinnati Arts Association are proud to present Dada Rafiki: A Celebration of Sisterhood, an empowering, inspirational cultural gathering celebrating remarkable women in the community by honoring their spirit and the legacy of their service and accomplishments. This inspirational multicultural celebration comes to the Aronoff Center’s Procter & Gamble Hall on Friday, October 27 at 7:00 PM.  Doors open at 6:00 PM, with a pre-show performance in the Otto M. Budig Lobby featuring artists from the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Artists on Tour arts education program. 

Tickets are $25.00 in advance and $35.00 at the door and are on sale now at, (513) 621-2787 [ARTS], and the Aronoff Center Ticket Office. Group rates are available at (513) 977-4157.

Dada Rafiki is a Greater Cincinnati treasure for its unique approach, style, and purpose. It is the only event of its kind that is Afrocentric, yet welcoming to a multicultural audience. Dada Rafiki showcases multiple artistic forms, such as spoken word, music, song from several genres, various types of dance, and visual art — all in one setting.

Dada Rafiki (pronounced Dah-Dah RAH fee-KEE), which means “sister friend” in the Kiswahili language of East Africa, promotes a shared sense of sisterhood, inclusiveness, and unity in an exuberant, safe arts environment. Dada Rafiki is fun, engaging, and celebratory, while emphasizing heritage, history, and originality. It incorporates mainstream as well as lesser known, but up-and-coming, performances in the vocal and gospel arts, the visual arts, dance, and inspirational spoken word to uplift and praise the awe-inspiring “everyday” women in our community and simultaneously to enlighten the audience. This year, thirty multicultural women that serve the community will be celebrated. Dada Rafiki does not exclude men; in fact, men are welcome to attend.  In today’s world, many awesome men are proud to support and acclaim the women in their lives.

Hosted by WLWT-TV5 News Anchor Courtis Fuller, the celebration features a variety of artists, including world-touring singer-songwriter Dee Dee Foster, nationally-acclaimed dancer/choreographer Stafford Berry (Taft Museum of Art 2017 Duncanson Artist in Residence), a regional and community-wide mass choir under the direction of Dr. Catherine Roma, Emmy Award-winning spoken soul artist JaHipster, Gospel artist Janice Napier, and a host of distinguished performing artists, with special pre-show appearances by select performers and musicians from the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Artists on Tour arts education program. Annie Ruth will close out the evening with a special performance of her signature poem. As a special community outreach effort for this year, there will be a free distribution of Dada Rafiki story cards that patrons can collect during the preshow and afterwards to learn more about the remarkable stories of the women being celebrated.

2017 Dada Rafiki Honorees:

Teresa “Teri” Anderson Singer/Songwriter, Recording Artist &
Founder, ZBD Productions, LLC
Verneida Britton National Underground Railroad
Freedom Center
Denise Bryers President/CEO, Bootcamp Cincinnati
Stephanie Wright Byrd Cincy Preschool Promise
Darimelle D. Davis Founder/President, Helping Hands for
the Nations, Inc.
Dr. Vanessa Jones Enoch Cultural Impact LLC, President
Susan Upton Farley Mayor, Village of Woodlawn
Laura Ford-Harris Women & Girls Advocate
Heather Hallenberg Retired, ArtsWave, Director of
Grantmaking and Strategic Initiatives
Barbara Anderson Harris District Administrator, Greater
Cincinnati District, Ohio North First
Ewanki  Moore-Hawkins Director, University of Cincinnati,
African American Cultural & Resource
Holly Jenkins Founder, Restart Your Life Now, Inc
Tracy Johnson Administrator, Providence Pavilion
Rehabilitation & Nursing Center
Delores Lindsay Founder/President and CEO, The
Healthcare Connection
Tonya Marie Matthews, PhD President/CEO, Michigan Science
Gwen McFarlin Springfield Township Trustee
Eula Melson Educator & Community Volunteer
Ricci Michaels Community Artist & Founder,
Urban Expression 101 Project
Mona Harrison Morrow-Johnson Community Affairs Director, WCPO
Channel 9
Jeaunita Olowe Managing Director, Bi-Okoto Cultural
Bishop Todd O’Neal Pastor, House of Joy Educator,
Cincinnati Public Schools
Julia O’Neal Arts Advocate & Community Volunteer,
New American Arts Gallery II
Francie Pepper Community Leader
Delores Rowland Founder, Brighter Day Bookstore
Alisha Stevenson Cincinnati Police Department
Sallie E. Westheimer 4C’s for Children
Homa Yavar Civic Leader (National Underground
Railroad Freedom Center & Islamic
Center of Greater Cincinnati)
Brenda Zechmeister Community Arts Advocate

Annie Ruth has received critical acclaim for her work in the community – fusing her artistic talents with arts education and collaborating with major cultural institutions to bring art directly to communities throughout the United States and abroad. For more information about the history of Dada Rafiki and how to help empower young women in the community,

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