Omopé Carter-DaboikuWordsmith & Storyteller
An Appalachian of mixed ancestry, Omope Carter Daboiku hails from the Ohio River town of Ironton. She migrated to Cincinnati in 1972 and to Dayton in 2012. A cultural geographer and award-winning teller of tales, Omope became affiliated with the Ohio Arts Council in 1990 and the Cincinnati Arts Association at its inception in 1997 and has performed and led story circles across the U.S. and abroad. In 1993, she spoke at the Art of Survival (Nuremberg, Germany), addressing quilting as a cottage industry used by African American women to support families. In 2008, the U.S. Department of State chose her for a seven-city tour of Turkey as part of the Adana Consulate’s English Proficiency Program. Her company, Homeside, specializes in arts-based, culturally relevant academic curriculum. She is also a seasoned stage and voice actor with multiple production credits and accolades in theatre and television. Omope’s writing appears in the Southern Appalachian Writers Collective’s Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and in FX Walker and Nikki Giovanni editions of Shepherd University’s Anthology of Appalachian Writers, where her first published short story, “The Power of Water Baptism,” was nominated in 2014 for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. Grassroots work in health, nutrition, and foodways is documented in several small press cookbooks and “History Keeper” —a memoir about place and identity produced in 2018 at a Story Center/NPS Network to Freedom digital storytelling workshop— is on YouTube.
Working to share generational wisdom and encourage cross-cultural conversations about social justice, Omope serves the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition as a cast member of “Express Appalachia,” an initiative about cultural identity. She supports the National Park Service and poet PL Dunbar’s historic home, is a cultural advisor at Sinclair College and vice president of the Ohio Storytelling Network, and leads the Dunbar Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
Grade Levels/Age Groups
- Grades 1-3
- Grades 4-5
- Grades 6-8
- Grades 9-12
- Young Adults
- Older Adults
Facilities and Resources Required
- Audio System
- Electrical Outlets
- Performance Space
- Sink/Water and Drain (for tie-dye or batik)
- Microwave or access to a kitchen required for cuisine workshops
- Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
- Ohio Arts Council
- Appalachian Community Development Association
- Cincinnati Arts Association
- Greater Columbus Arts Council
- K-12 Gallery & TEJAS
- Kentucky Arts Council
- Queen Anne’s County (Maryland) Arts Council
- Sinclair Community College
- Urban Appalachian Community Coalition
Upon request with 30 days between inquiry and performance date
WADE IN: A CALL TO ACTION ON CLIMATE JUSTICE
Earth Day, April 22, 2019
World House Choir, Yellow Springs, OH
SONG: WE SHALL BE KNOWN Narration #1, O.C. Daboiku
We shall be known by the fruit that we bear.
If we plant love, we shall reap love;
if we sow hate, we will reap hatred.
What shall we hold in our hearts,
for the heart has no gender?
A complex muscle the heart operates above all consciousness.
It needs not permission, just respect for its role — for its work.
So, the drum is the heart of traditional societies;
All peoples have a pre-industrial drum culture that uses rhythms to transport
to a place and time not ruled by the clock, but by the laws of nature
as sound moves in waves — just as objects through water. **
Light, sound, color and tone – all approach us as waves.
Tonight, trust the Universe and wade in.
Be enveloped by the wave; get wet.
Let it wash you from head to toe.
Feel it in your feet, your liver, your hips, your heart.
Take this as an opportunity to realign your soul as you
listen to humanity’s generations. **
Let the rhythm feed you; let it open your soul.
It is the bass, the foundation, the heart beat that unites us all.
In the words of great composers and prophets —
“Let’s get down on the One,
And sing to the Universe, just who we are!”
*Wa Ka Lo