Celebrating Mary Carter Smith's Life and Legacy

by: Olayinka Lawal

Next Generation joined Baba Bunjo Butler,  Dr. David Fakunle, Duane “Djembe” Hinton, Kendell and Karron, Rodney 'Prince' Moore, Brother Nile to celebrate Queen Mother Mama Mary Carter Smith.  On a rainy February 4, 2018, The National Blacks in Wax Museum held almost 100 people to celebrate our most esteemed ancestor. Hosted by Dr. David Fakunle, the presentation began with an emotionally stirring reading by Dr Joanna Martin; an original Mary Carter Smith poem dedicated to Dr. Elmer Martin.  Baba Bunjo Butler was next with an original piece called "I Love Being Dark" which was performed with the cool virbrato of a jazz musician. Then brother Nile came out and told the story of Harriett Tubman in front of a large quilt and explained the meaning of the hidden messages sewn into quilts and journey through the underground railroad.

Growing Griots Literacy Learning Program graduates were awarded certificates for continuing to share in the African Oral Tradition. One of the awardees, Rodney 'Prince' Moore gave a fiery performance, their ode to the 'Black Boy'.

 Rodney 'Prince' Moore

Rodney 'Prince' Moore

Next Generation began with drumming and gave libations to our ancestors in song, dance, and acting. They discussed how violence in our communities has become normal and the cycle must end. Next Generation's performance closed with West African dance. 

The evening ended with the powerful and uplifting "Soliders" performance by the duo KenRon. Guests dined and shared stories about their memories of Mama Mary Carter Smith as they slowly trickled out of the museum.   

 Ms. Deborah Fakunle with the wax figure of Queen Mary Carter Smith

Ms. Deborah Fakunle with the wax figure of Queen Mary Carter Smith

 Next Generation

Next Generation

 KenRon performing "Soldiers"  

KenRon performing "Soldiers"  

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 Mama Rashida and Mama Kay 

Mama Rashida and Mama Kay