OUR BOARD MEMBERS

BOARD MEMBER/BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR:
RENEE KNIGHT

African Dance Consultant, Major Gift Officer and Executive Director of Ezibu Muntu African Dance & Cultural Foundation. One of Renee’s passion in life is to preserve the legacy of the dance company that began as a Virginia Commonwealth University student organization in 1973. Renee is committed to enriching the lives of children, the community and their donors thru the resources of African Dance, rhythms, culture and cultural arts. Renee was a choreographer and dancer with the dance company in the early years. She believes accountability and integrity are traits that are important for success. She was nominated for Teacher of the Year 4 times by her colleagues. She has had several articles written about her work with Ezibu Muntu. The Richmond Free Press, The Richmond Times Dispatch and Richmond Magazine to name a few.

African Dance Consultant, Major Gift Officer and Executive Director of Ezibu Muntu African Dance & Cultural Foundation. One of Renee’s passion in life is to preserve the legacy of the dance company that began as a Virginia Commonwealth University student organization in 1973. Renee is committed to enriching the lives of children, the community and their donors thru the resources of African Dance, rhythms, culture and cultural arts. Renee was a choreographer and dancer with the dance company in the early years. She believes accountability and integrity are traits that are important for success. She was nominated for Teacher of the Year 4 times by her colleagues. She has had several articles written about her work with Ezibu Muntu. The Richmond Free Press, The Richmond Times Dispatch and Richmond Magazine to name a few.

Renee Knight

BOARD MEMBER/ARTISTIC DIRECTOR:
FAYE WALKER

Faye Walker taught African Dance at Virginia Commonwealth University for thirteen years and has been instrumental in keeping Ezibu Muntu a viable entity.   Faye Walker is a teacher and performer of African dance and one of the founding members of the Ezibu Muntu African Dance Company. A Hampton, Virginia native, “Sister Faye” has studied extensively with many African and African-American dancers and musicians who were or are now considered masters of the art form. Mrs. Walker has served Ezibu Muntu in many capacities throughout the years: performer, Dance Captain, General Manager, Board Member, Director of the Visual Musicians Color Guard Corps (Footnotes), and Artistic Director. She continues to mentor, choreograph, sit on the Board and co-direct the company. Sister Faye has also choreographed for other companies and theatrical groups including: the University of Richmond’s Ngoma African and Modern Dance Company, the Kuumba Dancers and various community and recreation centers. She has also choreographed and staged musicals for the Hampton University Players. A short list includes: “Dream Girls,” “Ain’t Misbehaving,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and Scott Joplin’s opera, “Treemonisha.” Sister Faye happily worked at John H. Smith High School for 32 years, working with the Hanover Juvenile Correctional Center. She currently works at the Reception and Diagnostic Center at the W. Hamilton Crockford Annex High.

Faye Walker-Taylor

BOARD MEMBER/ LEAD CHOREOGRAPHER: BABADUNJO OLAGUNKE

Babadunjo is a professional dancer, choreographer, and costume designer. He currently is the co-director of The Ezibu Muntu African Dance Company, the Director of Ngoma African & Contemporary Dance Company at University of Richmond, and Color Guard Instructor at Deep Run High School and Lee-Davis HS. Has worked closely with Baba Chuck Davis (Durham, NC) and danced with Baba Melvin Deals’ African Dancers and Drummers (Washington, DC). He is also a member of The Dzifa Masquerade Fraternity. Among these many talents he has also had the opportunity to travel to Senegal, West Africa as a dance liaison. He is also a performer with Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps, Rocky Mount, NC for 8 years. Since at Carolina Gold, he has received Most Outstanding Performer 2003 and has held the captain leadership position 06, 07, 08. Mr. McCain is a past member of The Light Brigade World Winterguard Philadelphia, PA for 3 years. He received Most Valuable Member 2006 and Co-Captain 2007. Babadunjo has over 20 years of experience African Dance. His educational background includes study at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) with a degree in Physical Education and a minor in Dance/Choreography.

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BOARD MEMBER/ MUSIC DIRECTOR:
RODERICK DAVIS

Roderick Davis is the Music Director and Lead Drummer of Ezibu Muntu. He was introduced to the dance company in 1994 by one of his mentors and original member of the Ezibu, Renee Knight.  Roderick has been an active member of the company dedicating 20 plus years of studying and sharing his knowledge of West African Djembe music.  Mr. Davis has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Architectural Drafting & Design from Virginia State University and an Advanced Certification in Principles of Engineering from Duke University.  He has taught Technology Education, Pre-Engineering and Basic Architecture at MLK Middle School for 8 years, also starting a West African Music program after school at MLK Middle.  Roderick is currently the Lead Teacher for Richmond Public School’s Governor’s Engineering Academy at RTC for 3 years now.  He is also an adjunct professor of West African Djembe music and history at University of Richmond.  He mentors under-served youth centered around teaching them West African music, and he also volunteers teaching music therapy to adults and children with various cognitive disabilities in Richmond and surrounding counties.  Roderick is also the co-founder of Capoeira Resisténcia Richmond with world renown capoeira master, Mestre Panão in 2005.   Mr. Davis is now the group’s first graduated American Instructor of capoeira and is now teaching this Brazilian martial art form in Charlottesville VA.

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BOARD MEMBER/ PUBLIC RELATIONS:
LASHARA SMITH

LaShara Smith is a Senior Analytical Research Scientist with Tredegar Film Products, a film extrusion company. She has been with Tredegar for 13 years in various roles. She has been a member of the Ezibu Muntu board since 2007 managing marketing and public relations (includes print, social media and website support). LaShara is also a member of the senior performance company. Outside affiliations include being President of the National Society of Black Engineers Richmond Professionals Chapter and serves as secretary for the Richmond Minorities in Engineering Partnership Board, and co-lead of Richard Allen Young Adult Council at Third St. Bethel AME Church.

LaShara Smith