Mama Odessa's 80th Birthday Party

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By: Ola Lawal

Mama Odessa was dressed in a lovely African dress and so were the rest of the hundred people celebrating her milestone of eldership. We were in Historic Oakland and the vaulted ceilings vibrated with the djembe drums in her honor as we sang in Wolof, a language of West Africa. They served jolof rice and plantains. Mama Odessa gave a small speech about what the number 80 meant. People from every walk of her life: her sorority friends, church, social work, friends, international travelers, and family members were in attendance. She talked about the importance of Africa in her life. Mama Stella wrote a beautiful piece called Dear African, African-American that described our relationship after more than the 500 hundred of colonization. She seemed to channel the connection of us before colonization, drawing visuals that brought the audience to tears. WombWork sang, danced, and gave words of acknowledgment for this great milestone.

We honored Mama Odessa for walking in a way that was pleasing to our ancestors and for not only thinking for herself. We honored her for listening to guidance and we prayed for her that when her soul reaches the end of this flesh journey she will meet the creator with straight eyes and clean hands. We told her that she’s experienced a lot, but how will she remember her 80 years of life?

Mama Lydia, Mama Odessa’s daughter, booked WombWork Productions, Inc. for this occasion. In addition to community productions, WombWork Productions, Inc. is also available to perform at personalized functions like birthdays, weddings, and social gatherings.