Awele Makeba

Storytelling Rituals that Nurture Our Humanity


Awele (ah-WAY-lay) Makeba is an internationally renowned storyteller, a stage actor, an acclaimed recording artist for film and CDs, an award-winning drama teacher, a literacy specialist, a racial justice activist, the producer of the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Festival (Oakland Unified School District) featured in the Emmy-winning documentary, We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical (2020). She is elated about her forthcoming role, The Dark Queen of the Night in the animated production of The Magic Flute (Pocket Opera and The Gibbs Sisters) premiering in 2023! She is recognized as a “truthteller,” someone who sparks “aha!” moments. 

Inspired by folklore, life experiences, and the hidden histories of African Americans, Awele’s stories focus on making meaning of the present, understanding the influences of the past, and imagining new futures. Her life’s work is to tell history through the words of silenced and oft-forgotten witnesses; and use art to catalyze deep conversations about race, our common humanity, and our vision of a just, humane, multiracial society.