top of page

Intimate Conversations | Special Topic: The Whitening of African Dance

Skin I’m In LLC in partnership with CD Forum present a two-part series of Intimate Conversations | Special Topic

The Whitening of African Dance, Part 1 Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 3PM Pacific Time (6PM Eastern Time)

This panel discussion co-moderated by Dani Tirrell & Lakema Bell, is a look into black women experiences in the African Dance community locally and globally. A conversation around the gradual to almost sudden take over of black spaces by the dominate culture. A time to acknowledge and begin healing from trauma induced experiences. A SOUL FILLED conversation for us by us.

Panelists include Dr. Orisade I. Awodola, Makeda Ebube, and Sumayaa Diop. Read more about Lakema Bell and her guests below.


Lakema Bell

Lakema Bell, is an African Centered Thought Artist, Change Agent, Community Activist, Choreographer, Event and Grant Manager, Motivator, Coach, wife of 20 years and mother of 4. She is the CEO of the Skin I’m In LLC an African Centered organization that teaches self and body confidence using African Dance as the mechanism of overstanding and knowing self.

She is a founding member of Otunoba African Dance theater one of the oldest African Dance companies in the Pacific Northwest. She currently teaches African dance at Northwest Tap Connection and for the Renton School district.

she received the Excellence in Leadership award in Race and Social Justice from

the Seattle Management Association for her innovative work with community

engagement and inclusive outreach to communities afflicted from health


Her program she created has been identified and validated as the only one in the

nation of its kind through the University of Washington Masters of Public Health

Community Oriented Practice program. The Get Moving Initiative has earned her

2 additional awards last year: A National Parks and Recreation Association Ethnic

Minority Society Achievement Award for Innovative Recreation Programming and

a Washington Recreation & Park Association Innovative Marketing & Outreach

Spotlight Award.

Lakema’s younger brother Kareem died in 2016 due to complications of the

mental illness Schizophrenia. Kareem lived with this illness for 16 years, in this

time, Lakema through several introspective moments with assisting her mother

and brother with the dominate culture system infrastructures has developed a

passion around black health specifically mental wellness and securing the future

for upcoming generations.


Dr. Orisade I. Awodola, M.A., PH.D.

Dr. Awodola is a Root Psychologist, Author, Lecturer, and Researcher. Her former background as an Investigative Journalist led to a career in Psychology with an extensive clinical and academic

background in mental health approaches.

She taught at the University of the District of Columbia where she launched Root Psychology in her doctoral work, an alum of the Washington School of Psychiatry in Washington, D.C., facilitated Ancestral Healing Workshops in London and Accra

Ghana at the W.E.B. Dubois Cultural Center.

Today she serves on the King County Behavioral Health Advisory Board, a MIDD professional (mental illness and drug dependency) formerly known as (co-occurring disorders) and the founder of the Institute of African Centered Thought (IACT) in Seattle that offers Root Psychology based on her Ancestral Healing Identity Theory with other courses created to enhance and motivate mental wellness approaches through its specialized training programs to African-Centered mental health professionals.

Visit for more information on the Dr. Awodola's work with the Institute of African Centered Thought (IACT). Or contact IACT at


Makeda Ebube

Makeda Ebube, M.A.Ed, African-Centered-Philosophy Educational Consultant, is an international Artist

who has travelled to Canada, Kenya, Ghana, Guinea and twice to Egypt (Kemet).

In 2007, Makeda travelled to Egypt with the Association For The Study of Classical African Civilizations ASCAC where she accompanied the Great Queen Nzinga Ratibisha Heru, former International President of ASCAC, Dr. Asa Hillard III, Dr. Leonard Jefferies, Dr. Rosalind Jefferies, Legrand Clegg, Dr. Theophile Obenga, Dr. Wade Nobels, and Dr. Na-im Akbar on a scholarly study of African Civilizations.

Makeda holds a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on utilizing African movement as an epistemology and a catalyst to self-actualize. She is Oakland born and raised and now resides in Seattle

Washington. Makeda is the recipient of the 2008 King County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award for numerous volunteer works with young people and her dedication to the African community.

Makeda is awarded by Dr. Ndugu Khan, Babalawo of Efa/Orisha, the health Certification of Uan Tai[Chi Chi=Kng, part & 2, from the Eclectic Institute Conference in Egypt on the Nile. She most recently received the African Fashion week Seattle 2019 Best Runway Model award.

Makeda is an educator, performer, movement specialist, dance instructor, choreographer, model and an intrinsic healer who is sought after to bring forth the messages of the Ancestors. Makeda is called upon to perform for weddings, home going ceremonies and important engagements that are essential to the wellness of the community. Makeda has taught African Dance, for 30 plus years. She is well known for leading large groups of people utilizing movement for community building.

Makeda honors her Academic Master Teachers, Dr. Maxine Mimms, Dr. Ruth Kelly-McIntyre and Professor Ophelia Taylor-Walker and her Community Academic Master Teacher, Dr. Hoy Hardiman. Also, Cultural Master Dance Teacher Marie Basse Wiles, Naomi Diouf, Amadou Boly, Youssouf Koumbassa, Malonga Casquelourd, M’Byero Patrice Louvouezo, Biza Sompa, Regine N’Dounda, Mabiba Baegne, and Sador Diabankouezi.

Makeda is a relentless learner seeking continual elevation as a reflective practitioner.


Sumayaa Diop

Sumayya E. Diop is a teaching artist in dance & drum, choreographer, actor, and administrator, whose artistic goals and aspirations are rooted in the love of dance theatre. She is the co founder and program director for Griot Gurlz, an organization that presents, produces and

supports dancers & theatre artists, and dances of the African Diaspora while providing a number of diverse programs for youth, young adults and adults. As a performer and teaching artist, Sumayya has created and presented works in both traditional influenced African and contemporary African dance styles. Sumayya has contributed to the field of dance, music, and theatre through performance, instruction, and program development. Sumayya is passionate about sharing the dance, song and music of the African Diaspora, and bringing youth to the stage using performance as a vehicle for increased self confidence, esteem, and awareness.


bottom of page