They Inspire. They Motivate. They Break New Ground.
From global community service to innovative initiatives; literary accomplishments to mass media presence, interwoven with musical geniuses, Applause Africa’s African Diaspora Awards celebrates the accomplishments of each honoree for their outstanding achievements and contributions to our global community.
On a chilly evening in early December, I left my cozy tiny space in Brooklyn, New York to join my good friend, one of the founders of the music genre Hiplife , Legendary DJ Producer Rab Bakari, and attend the 2016 African Diaspora Awards in Manhattan. I had never attended so I was not sure what to expect. However, when a true Renaissance Man like Rab says you should attend an event, you attend the event.
The event was held at the Florence Gould Hall in Manhattan, New York City. With early arrival, each guest experienced the red carpet and cocktail hour followed by the main event. As we transitioned to the auditorium for the main event, the event host, the infamous Comedian, Dulo, welcomed us. After complimenting the audience on their attire, a mixture of style and elegance that showcased classic European looks as well as African-Inspired fabrics and designs; he quickly captivated the audience with his high-energy punch lines and hilarious stories throughout the program.
Five Highlights that Made the ADA A Bit Magical
Each person honored was undoubtedly deserving of his or her honor. However, I had my favorite moments throughout the show.
1) When the Award Presenters for Advocate of the Year Award Made Us Shout Laugh
With the recent results of the presidential election in the US, the presenters entered the stage dramatically with traveling bags and suitcases. Why? One word. Trump. The crowd erupted in laughter! All jokes aside, it was wonderful to learn about the work that Mamadou Samba is doing in Washington, DC. He is a true civil rights advocate for the African Diaspora.
2) When the Person of the Year Award is nothing but Luvvable
From hilarious television show recaps to Open Memorandums that address the foul behavior of racist law enforcement officials, Luvvie Ajayi tells you what she thinks, unapologetically and with a side-eye that surpasses all side-eyes. Cheering her on as she won Person of the Year Award was one of my favorite moments, because I can actually say we are friends. A Nigerian-born, American-raised Black Woman, Luvvie oozes #blackgirlmagic, recently celebrating her new book, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, becoming a New York Times Best Seller! If you don’t have your copy yet, treat yourself or someone that you judge to this book. It is one of the best!
3) Because the Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient was the Wisest Person in the Building
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin has accomplished so much over the course of 40 years as a medical doctor, but when he spoke to the crowd, he shared his commitment to help every one of his fellow honorees achieve their goals and missions. He said that it is up to him and people like him to help ensure that the new leaders have the proper connections and resources to lead and be successful, and that he will do his part to help. What if all of our elders held that frame of mind? What a class act.
4) Owen Says, “A Talking Drum Player Must Introduce Me”
The Musical Performances were great all night, but when Owen Egharevba played that talking drum & his dancers entered stage left, they gave me something for my soul! Click here to see what I mean!
5) Sarkodie! What Else?
At the end of a beautiful night of celebration, many were excited to head to the after-party. Then Sarkodie enters from stage left and it was epic! He had the crowd up out of their seats and dancing. I never would have guessed that he was such a quiet gentleman. If you aren’t familiar with Sarkodie, now is the time. He is one of the most talented rappers alive, not just in Africa.
A Message from Applause Africa Founder| CEO Dabo Folorunsho
As the founder extended his vote of thanks to attendees for their support, he made sure that he shared the credit of curating such a well-organized event by calling key members of his team to the stage.
His team delivered a message that left the audience in reflection: Consider getting involved in your local politics instead of just focusing on politics in your home country. Shouldn’t you advocate for your rights where you actually live? A quiet gasp erupted, but the audience listened… intrigued. Then the audience was introduced to Charles Cooper, and we all sat up a little straighter in our chairs and paid attention.
Charles Cooper is an active candidate for City Council District 9 in Harlem New York, and is getting involved. Originally from Liberia, West Africa, Cooper is a businessman and community leader ready to serve Harlem New York as their next City Councilman.
“Our forefathers were taught that education would create parity with those that once ruled them. They had us, and indoctrinated us with the same beliefs, but decades later not much has changed-the rulers are still the rulers and Africa is still being exploited. However… there are those of us who are awakened and realize that parity doesn’t happen without economic liberties, and sustained by active civic engagement.”
– Charles Cooper, 2017 Candidate, City Council District 9, New York, New York
To learn more about Cooper and support his campaign, click here.
I must admit, the African Diaspora Awards was more than a little bit. Supporting the Annual African Diaspora Awards means that you support high excellence and achievements of Africans in the Diaspora.
So my question to you is, “What are you wearing to the 7th Annual African Diaspora Awards?”