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 Jurisdiction

Ewanki Moore-Hawkins

Director, University of Cincinnati, African American Cultural & Resource Center

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 Center

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 Center

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, visit

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