My Fervent New Year’s Prayer for all Liberians/Africans
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear
The Lord is the strength of my life of whom shall I be afraid
When the wicked and even my enemies come upon me to eat up my flesh
They shall stumble and fall!
Love the Lord and do good to all you meet
So that his name will be eternally praised
Share your love, wisdom, knowledge with all you meet
And comfort the broken hearted, the poor, and rich alike
And do not segregate because the God we serve is a just God
Younsuah loves all of us just the same
And what he does for me he’ll do for you
So be not envious because of evil doers
Because their days are numbered
And they shall wither away with the passing of time!
I still have deep faith and hope that we as Liberians
Will overcome the pains we are going through
If we pray sincerely and ask for God’s mercy
For no burden is too heavy for him to bear on our behalf
Because the Lord is true to those who worship him in spirit and in truth
Therefore put away your evil thoughts for your own Liberian/African brothers
Your own Liberian/African Sisters
And embrace them with warmth and love
Because we are all family
And a family tree can bend but it cannot break
Because we are from one navel string–Liberia!
Happy New Year to all and see you on Saturday in the thousands
on January 9, 2016 to hear the message of love and hope I have for you @ the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts
Come let us put Liberia back on the international map of culture
Education, and political goodwill and stop wasting our own time
For twenty-seven years have already been wasted in the breeze
And twenty-seven more will be wasted beginning 2017 if we don’t sober up
Because time and tide wait for no man and soon we’ll all be gone
Remember a child born December 24, 1989 is today twenty-six years old!
That’s how backward we have transgressed against ourselves
And disenfranchised ourselves as a people and a ‘sovereign’ nation
So, come and let’s cry and shed our tears of sorrow and remorse together
Come all you Kwa Nation peoples: Krahn, Kru, Grebo, Bassa, Deiweion,
Belleh, Sapo, Gbi
Come all you Mande Manjahs, Manalins, and Massgees: Kpelle, Lorma,
Mende, Kissi, Gbandi, Mah, Dahn, Vai, Mandingo
Come all you Americo-Liberian and Congor folks
Come to the discussion table and hear the good news
That Liberia will rise again and our house will be put back together
Because the Lord is our light and our salvation we shall not fear
And all those who want to destroy Liberia to erase our blessed heritage
From the golden pages of history shall stumble and fall!
All hail Liberia hail
This glorious land of liberty
Shall forever be ours to keep and to uphold
From now henceforth and forevermore!
May the blessings and peace of Younsuah be with all of you
And members of your households including the unborn in their ma’s wombs. Amen.
Rabbi Prince Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh Gbaba, Sr., Ed. D.
3 January, 2016
Dehkontee Artists Theatre presents an African Children’s play entitled: “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville”
“The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville”
Written and directed by Dr. Joe Gbaba
Venue: Bowie Center for the Performing Arts
15200 Annapolis Rd, Bowie, MD 20715
Date: Saturday, January 9, 2016
Show Time: 7:30 p.m.
Grand Patrons: $50.00 plus copy of play as souvenir and VIP seating
Patrons: $ 25.00 and VIP seating only
Senior Citizens: $10.00
*”The event is partially sponsored by a generous grant from the City of Bowie.”
About the Play
“The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville” is an African fireside fable and satire written by American Liberian playwright, theatre director, and actor, Dr. Joe Gbaba. The play seeks to educate and entertain the public about the cultural and historical values of Africa in general and Liberia in particular. It emphasizes the importance of unity among citizens of all nations: “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville” teaches the principles of democracy, and informs about the essence of providing civic education to citizens with respect to the rule of law and good governance. Further, it aims to empower electorates to make informed decisions in the exercise of their franchise during elections period. The play is family friendly: it is designed to educate and entertain children and adults alike, and is filled with fun and excitement! Copies of both the short story and dramatic versions of “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville” will be sold at the door for parents that would like to give a New Year’s gift to their children to introduce them to African literature and storytelling techniques. The narrative edition of “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville” costs $ 25 and the drama edition costs $15.
The production concept of “The Frogs and Black Snake” intersperses both traditional African ballet, music and dancing with state-of-the art acting and directing styles based on the Stanislavskian methods of acting and directing. Residents of Maryland and all those who get a chance to watch this drama during the New Year’s Season will certainly enjoy their money’s worth as there will be several celebrated traditional Liberian artists (dancers, musicians, and skilled drummers) participating in the production.
Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. (DATI) was organized in 1977 at the University of Liberia to educate and entertain the world about the rich and diversified cultures and histories of Africa. Since its inception DATI has performed several command performances for a wide range of audiences in Liberia and here in the United States. Some of DATI’s spectators include but are not limited to African Presidents and Heads of States (including President William R. Tolbert, Jr. of Liberia, Fred Akkuffu of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, and S.I. Koroma of Sierra Leone), and diplomats accredited near Freetown, Sierra Leone and Monrovia, Liberia, respectively; as well as the general public. DATI was incorporated in the State of Delaware as a non-profit cultural and educational organization in 1998. Recently, DATI has applied to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to revive its tax exempt status and hopes to partner with the Arts and Humanities Council and various county parks and recreation departments and school districts in the State of Maryland and other regions of the United States and abroad, to fulfill its vision and mission of educating and entertaining through cultural awareness.
About the Author
Dr. Joe Gbaba is a Liberian American playwright, theatre director, actor, and educator and a household name in the West African nation called Liberia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Liberia (1980), and is a UNC-Greensboro trained director and actor where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Drama in 1983. He studied the Stanislavskian method of acting and directing under the professorship of Drs. Richard Mennen, Charles Bell, Herman Middleton and Broadway and Hollywood actor, the late Bill Wendt who appeared in several Broadway musicals and in the movie “The Godfather.” Bill Wendt also appeared in his first Broadway musical, “Milk and Honey,” after leaving the armed forces, and later appeared in “Kiss Me Kate” and “South Pacific.”
In addition to his theatre career, Dr. Gbaba is a Jesuit trained scholar. He holds a Master of Science in Education with emphasis in Elementary and Special Education and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership (2000-2009) from St. Joseph’s Jesuit University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has also served as Principal of the Zwedru Multilateral High School in Liberia and taught English, Drama, Shakespeare, Composition and African Literature courses at Cuttington University, the University of Liberia, and many reputable secondary schools in Liberia, and was once Acting Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of Liberia.
Dr. Gbaba also taught in the School District of Philadelphia as a Special Education teacher (Learning Support classroom) and worked as a Child Protection Worker with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services for a decade prior to his early retirement in 2013. He is the self-published author of several books: Ah-zeo, Ma Garh; Conflict Resolution and the Concept of Change; and The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville. Theatre goers in the City of Bowie and its environs should expect a wonderful New Year’s treat from Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. (DATI) at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts come January 9, 2016!
You may purchase tickets for the show by PayPal by visiting our website and clicking on the “Donate” button @: www.dehkonteeartiststheatreinc.com. Inquiries can also be made at: (267) 973-1709; (267) 298-7249; (484) 664-8006; (610) 529-1576.
Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. Begins Rehearsals for “The Frog and Black Snake in Frogsville Production: Liberians and Citizens of the World Begin to Make Donations to the DATI Cultural Awareness, Peace and Civic Education Program in the Diaspora
The Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. (DATI), a non-profit African-centered theatre and educational organization began rehearsals on Tuesday, 6 October, 2015 at its temporary practice grounds at 944 Fourth Street in Laurel, Maryland, to kick off its 2015-2016 theatre season. The rehearsal space was provided through the kind courtesy of Pastor Christopher and Lady Breshana Miller of the Remnant Fellowship Worship Center in Laurel.
DATI is rehearsing Dr. Joe Gbaba’s “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville”, a dramatic version of the children’s reader the author and playwright and theatre director wrote in 2009. “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville” is a fireside African animal story whose morale is hinged on the promotion of unity and the importance of making informed decisions in society, particularly when it comes to exercising one’s franchise and practicing the ideals of democracy among persons of diverse cultures and persuasions. Indeed theatre goers in Bowie and nearby cities, including the nation’s capital (Washington, D.C.), will get their money’s worth attending the opening night of a very fascinating African play during the winter season when “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville” plays at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts on January 9th, 2016. Curtains open at sharp 7:30 p.m.
This year Dehkontee Artists Theatre celebrates its 38th year of existence, and the 41st anniversary of Dr. Gbaba as playwright, actor, producer and theatre director. DATI was organized in 1977 at the University of Liberia. Dr. Gbaba earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Language from Liberia College in 1980. A subsidiary branch was organized at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where Dr. Gbaba studied Drama and obtained an M.F.A. degree in Drama with emphasis in Directing and Acting in 1983.
On the continent of Africa DATI performed for African Heads of States, members of the diplomatic corps and the general public in the Republics of Liberia and Sierra Leone, respectively. DATI performed many Gbaba plays, key among which was “The Chains of Apartheid”—a play that depicted the racial divide in Southern African societies in the 70s and called for the total liberation of Africa. DATI also served as an implementing organization with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Military Mission (UNMIL), and World Health Organization (WHO) in Liberia during the civil crisis in that West African state. The group participated in the UNICEF Kukatonon Peace Education and Conflict Resolution Project that was later used as a model in other conflict areas on the continent of Africa.
The cast consists of a conglomeration of varied talents and fascinating individuals that are committed to the promotion of African arts and culture in the diaspora. No doubt they will make your evening to be well spent when you visit with DATI on the 9th of January, 2016 at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts. Information concerning the prices of tickets and where they can be purchased will be announced in our forthcoming newsletter. However, we are pleased to introduce some of the forthcoming stars that will be featured in Gbaba’s “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville”:
Prince Jacques Tomoonh-Yeleyon Gbaba is son of Dr. Joe Gbaba. He is named for his grandfather Prince Jack Tomoonh-Yeleyon Gbaba, I. Jacques is a graduate of West Catholic High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He holds a B.A. degree in Geography from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2007. Jacques has done little acting with DATI’s Children’s Peace Theatre and is a proud father of three beautiful children. Jackie is a very likeable person, good at public relations, loves politics and is God’s gift to the ladies!
He’s called Nyonkpoah, a name given him by his paternal grandmother Princess Martha Gbeh-Nyennonh-Garh Gaye. Linguistically the name “Nyonkpaoh” origins from the Kwa Krahn language that means: “Next of kin”, literally (“Someone has arrived”). Julian is the oldest of five siblings and is heir apparent of the Joe Gbaba clan. He is extremely gifted in the arts: he dances, sings, composes lyrics, acts, and is a crowd puller. Julian is father of two lovely children and will play the lead role in “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville”. He is a graduate of West Catholic High School in Philadelphia and a former student of Penn State University-Hazelton campus.
Ali Kamara is a student of Theatre Arts and has done a couple of acting classes at Prince George’s Community College. His parents are originally from Sierra Leone but he was born in the United States and is a U.S. citizen. Ali comes with great enthusiasm to promote the culture and history of his African ancestors and to enhance DATI’s peace and reconciliation and cultural awareness program in the diaspora.
Princess Ariminta Henrietta Porte-Gbaba is the wife of Rabbi Prince Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh Gbaba of thirty-two years and mother of five children and grandmother of five beautiful grandkids. Mrs. Gbaba is a graduate of the Assemblies of God High School in Liberia. She holds a B.A. in English Language from Cuttington University in Suacoco, Bong County, Republic of Liberia, and holds a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from St. Joseph’s Jesuit University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
She also taught grades one and two for many years as a classroom teacher at Don Bosco Polytechnique and attended the Bishop John Collins College of Education where she earned many Education credits prior to migrating to the United States. For the past ten years Mrs. Gbaba worked as Supports Coordinator with the Phildelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC)–PersonLink.
Princess Ariminta hails from a popular political family in Liberia and is cousin to Liberia’s legendary political pamphleteer and activist Albert Porte. Mrs. Gbaba believes in the rule of law and supports the peaceful coexistence of persons of varied cultural and historical backgrounds. She is a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and a distinguished stateswoman who promotes and strongly believes in girls education, gender equity and women empowerment. Madam Gbaba is a fantastic cook and her corn bread recipe is second to none in the whole wide world. Princess Ariminta serves on the Board of Directors of DATI as Secretary and as Box Office Manager with DATI’s front of the house staff.
Pastor Christopher and Sister Brehana Miller and their beautiful daughter Gabrielle. The Millers brought the blessings and spirit of the Lord to DATI just when the group was in dire need of a rehearsal space! Mrs. Miller hails from the State of Louisiana while her hubby is from North Carolina and is a graduate of NC State Agricultural & Technical University in Greensboro, North Carolina. Pastor Miller and his wife run the Remnant Fellowship Worship Center in Laurel, Maryland. This season Chris will be featured in DATI’s mainstage production of “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville”. He will be putting his pastoral skills in use as the narrator in the play while Lady Breshana will be in the background to provide spiritual, moral supports to the organization. We are blessed to have them both in Dehkontee Artists Theatre.
Agent Chris Miller Washington, DC
For the past 15 years Chris has been providing Financial Services to a diverse client base throughout the Greater Washington DC Metropolitan area. As an Investment Specialist, he managed a team of Financial Sales Specialists and promoted the sale of investment products including mutual funds, annuities and life insurance. In this capacity, he consulted with high net worth clients and small business owners to provide solutions to their financial needs while building long-term relationships. Special projects while in this position included the following:
- Developed sales management skills and trained financial sales specialists in the area of relationship selling and pipeline management.
- Organized and planned investment workshops with fund wholesalers. Researched and planned target market meetings.
Chris became a State Farm Agent in 2012 and has obtained Legion of Honor and qualified for Ambassador Travel. The goal of the Chris Miller Insurance Agency is to empower and educate our customer’s in insurance and financial services. We pride ourselves in providing quality service to our customer’s, while offering the best solutions to meet their short and long-term goals.
Chris received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Finance from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a minor in Accounting. In 2006, Chris was awarded a full scholarship for Graduate studies, from the Chief Executive Officer of National Cooperative Bank. He earned a MBA Degree from St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia, Canada with a concentration in Finance and Management. In that capacity he used his learning to improve National Cooperative Bank’s marketing strategy and branding initiative.
Chris is a member of the 100 Black Men of America—Washington, DC. 100 Black Men of America, Inc. is committed to the intellectual development of youth and the economic empowerment of the African American community based on the following precepts: respect for family, spirituality, justice, and integrity.
Additionally, Chris serves on the Board of the Council for Court Excellence (CCE). Formed in Washington, DC in January 1982, the Council for Court Excellence is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization. The Council works to improve the administration of justice in the local and federal courts and related agencies in the Washington Metropolitan area.