DIASPORA ARTS COALITION
EMPOWERING & PRESERVING THE CULTURE AND HERITAGE OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA.
Our Executive Board
Shirley Richardson, Interim President
Shirley is the co-founder of The M Ensemble Company and Artistic Director of its Creative Children’s Theatre. She received her training in Theatre and the Performing Arts at Florida A&M University and the University of Miami. She has served on the board as past President of the Diaspora Arts Coalition. Shirley has performed and directed many of the company’s seasonal productions. She has been the recipient of several awards for her artistic leadership such as the Pillars Award, NANBPWC, Inc. Champion of the Arts Award, Eckerd’s Community Service Award, and Miami-Dade County Employee Awards.
Nakai Woods, Treasurer
Nakai Woods Kelly an American gospel, traditional, neo-soul, jazz, songwriter, poet, vocalist, and co-founder of the Unique Praise Musiq Group, Inc. or Unique Praise (duo), with the responsibility of marketing, managing social media, PR, and promotions. Nakai is also a member of the Florida Gospel Announcer’s Guild (FGAG), and has served as the assistant secretary over the past two years.
While raising four sons, Nakai continued her education at the University of Phoenix where she acquired her MBA in Business Administration in 2012. Nakai plans to further her education by pursuing a teaching degree. She works in banking and finance for a major US banking institution.
Nakai loves reading, writing, listening to and writing music, and spending time with family.
Nakai continues to encourage and motivate other artist throughout the music industry by helping them understand, “If you don’t invest in yourself, no one else will.”
Tracey Bowen-Bell, Secretary
Tracey is an accomplished teacher, counselor, advocate, and life coach residing in South Florida. Her advocacy extends to education reform, domestic violence, human rights, and assistance for youth who have aged out of foster care. A graduate of Wellesley College, Tracey also has a Masters of Arts in Religion, with a concentration in Pastoral Counseling. She has be an educator, academic and career counselor for nearly 20 years. She is an accomplished singer, wife and mother of one daughter.
Dr. Yinka Tella, Parliamentarian
Dr. Yinka Tella –author, scholar, manager, student services professional, political activist and erstwhile banker and journalist - was born on August 4, 1966 in Ibadan, Nigeria. He holds a doctorate in higher education from Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida. A passionate advocate for equity and social justice, Dr. Tella distinguished himself as a journalist in Nigeria, winning the 1993 Diamond Award for Media Excellence (DAME) in the political reporting category. Since his relocation to the United States and foray into student services, he has pioneered innovative intercultural programs and presented at several national conferences of student affairs practitioners in the United States. His book, The Post-9/11 Syndrome: International Education in an Era of Homeland Insecurity was published in 2010. Dr. Tella is a recipient of multiple leadership/service awards. including Miami Dade County's Black Advisory Board's Community Pillars Award. Since 1997, he has been happily married to the lovely Ms. Lydia Shola Tella, a pharmacist with whom he co-founded Rise N Shine Pharmacy, Pembroke Pines, Florida. Their marriage is blessed with a 19-year old son (Akolade) and a 17-year old daughter (Fadekemi).
Keith Clarke, Member at Large
Keith Clarke - Is a love of the arts who spends his time promoting and producing jazz happenings throughout Miami Dade County. He is the founder and artistic director for the Miami Jazz & Film Society.
Executive Director & Program Administrator
Johnny Sanders is a young man filled with excitement and energy, which surface when he is electrifying audiences with his powerful, melodic voice. He is best known for his beloved song, “I Trust God” from his debut CD “Lifetime” which landed him on the ballets for both the Grammy and Stellar Gospel Music Awards. His sophomore project “God Said” further established him as a force in the music scene. He followed this project up with a duet CD with Gospel Recording Artist Francine Ealey Murphy entitled “The Gospel Choir Experience” which was released in December 2009 and in 2010 He and Ms. Murphy released “The Gospel Choir Experience” PART II both released in Europe. Not just an exceptional singer, Johnny holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Mass Communications and Journalism from Miami Dade College; a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Humanities & Public Relations /Communications from Florida International University and a Certificate in Theology from The Interdenominational Theology Center of Atlanta, Georgia; and a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership from Union Institute & University and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership from Southeastern University. In addition to that, he has done graduate work in Marketing, Advertising and Broadcast Journalism. Johnny has worked in the field of entertainment programming, marketing and advertising for more than 25 years. He has served as host and/or guest host on a number of local, national and international radio & TV shows; in addition to hosting his own Performing Arts Variety show, Center Stage with Johnny Sanders which aired on the Urban Television Network and currently host Gospel USA Magazine's Top 30 Countdown TV Show. Johnny is also a published, syndicated columnist. His column “Johnny on the Spot” currently appears in three national and two international publications.
Desmond Alufohai, Consultant
Desmond Alufohai is the President & CEO of Alufy International Inc., a Human Development and Capacity Building Company based in Miami, Florida, USA. Mr. Alufohai has worked as a leader in the international business community for more than 20 years. He served as the Executive Director and head of the membership services and training department for Junior Chamber Inc (JCI) from 1991 – 2002. He travels extensively throughout the world conducting trade missions, essential business development training, workshops, organizational fieldwork, professional and business seminars. He made notable contributions as the former JCI Executive Director as the liaison to the following organizations - United Nations Agencies (UNICEF & UNESCO), World Health Organization [WHO], and the African Union.
He is a founding member of the Mayors African Trade Task Force and a member of the Community Affairs Taskforce – Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. He was co-chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Pan-African Trade Committee, founding chairperson of the African Reconnect Inc., and former chair of Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce - International Trade Committee.
He has a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Anna Maria University in Paxton, Massachusetts. He communicates effectively in French. He is a Certified Meeting Professional [CMP], International Trade Specialist, International Training Fellow [ITF], Management Consultant, Instructor, and Adjunct Professor.