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LaShara Smith

LaShara Smith-Scott

Board Member

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Renee Knight Lacy

Board Member

African Dance Consultant, Major Gift Officer and Executive Director of Ezibu Muntu. 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.

Mayah Mbaye

Mayah Mbaye

Board Member/Co-Artistic Director

Mayah, 35 years old, has been dancing with Ezibu Muntu since she was in her mother's (the late Sister Faye) womb. She made her public debut at the age of five with Ezibu Muntu's award-winning junior company, Daughters and Sons of Ezibu Muntu. Mayah has also performed in three theatrical productions at Hampton University, "Little Shop of Horrors" , "Once on This Island" and a premiered musical "Forty acres and a Mule". She was a member of Richmond Ballet's performing group for six years, Minds in Motion - Team XL & XXL, Girt Scouts, Delta Academy, Meadowbrook High School Color Guard and Ezibu's winter guard; Footnotes Visual Musicians. In August of 2006, Mayah attended Benedict College in Columbia South Carolina. She was a color guard member of the Band of Distinction (B.O.D) and crossed in Spring 2008 line of Delta Phi Delta Dance Fraternity Inc. Mayah is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (crossed in Fall 2008). Throughout her time at Benedict, Mayah worked as a Summer Title I Tutor, for grades K-8 teaching Reading, Math, and History through Richmond Public Schools systems, Virginia. Mayah graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management (Cum Laude) in May of 2010. After graduating from Benedict, Mayah worked in retail management with Sears - Lands’ End, Cato Fashions, and Goodwill Industries. Mayah then began a career in insurance with Marsh and McLennan Agency; having served as a Client Services Processor and a Surety Assistant. During her tenure at Marsh, Mayah gained a Property and Casualty license and became a Notary Public. Mayah ended her time with Marsh and McLennan Agency in June 2023. Currently, Mayah is serving as choreographer and Dance Instructor with Ezibu. She also is continuing to expand her knowledge of Traditional West African drumming and dances, primarily Mali, Guinea, Senegal, and Ivory Coast. Some of Mayah’s performance highlights include: Dancing with Ezibu Muntu in the video for the Dave Matthews Band song Stay “Wasting Time” (1998); performing with Ezibu Muntu for Brooklyn Academy of Music (2004); performing individually with Busta Rhymes for the MTV Video Music Awards (2021). Dancing is her true mode of expression and performing is her passion.

Jess Couser

Jessica Couser

Board Member/Co-Artistic Director

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Hampton Couser

Board Member

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Alex Walker

Board Member

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In Memoriam

Faye Walker

Board Member/Artistic Director

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 was a teacher and performer of African dance, and one of the founding members of the Ezibu Muntu. A Hampton, Virginia native, “Sister Faye” 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 has mentored, choreographed, sat on the Board and co-directed the company. Sister Faye 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. Her choreograph portfolio also extends to 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 and finally at the Reception and Diagnostic Center at the W. Hamilton Crockford Annex High. Our family here at Ezibu Muntu said our goodbyes to Sister Faye. A dynamic force within our company and all of our lives. Although, physically Sister Faye is no longer with us, her impact, mentorship, passion and love will be forever a driving force and, the fundamentals on which Ezibu Muntu continues to serve our community, just as Sister Faye has done in every aspect of her life.

Sister Faye
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