In many cultures, seven is a number of achievement, enchantment, and good fortune — and Soka Tribe’s 7th year had all the above!
Nothing quite captures all that like our anniversary celebration, and this year’s was no different. In addition to the 2022 Soka Tribe Convoy showing up and showing out, we all enjoyed the artistry, skill, and vibes from percussionist Jeremy Caesar, DJ Fyah Oats, Kaisokah Jumbies, and the incomparable Coyaba Dance Theater. HUGE thanks to the DC Department of Parks and Recreation for its steadfast support of our celebration.
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Soka Tribe enjoyed several amazing community collabs this past year. We served 15 youth through our Soka Tribe Apprenticeship Program via the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, which offers arts enrichment and professional development through hands-on study of Caribbean carnival culture. We brought Caribbean carnival culture and history to the 35th Annual Dance Africa DC, in which groups and artisans from all over the D.C. area paid joyful tribute to the late Baba Melvin Deal. Our three Kennedy Center engagements — headlining the Millennium Stage, offering three community Soka Tribe classes as part of the Social Impact Dance Sanctuaries, and closing out an incredible National Dance Day on the REACH lawn — were a dazzling success.
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Bringing our culture to acclaimed venues was a major theme of 2022. First (but not least), Soka Tribe dance fitness permanently returned to 905 U St NW, the studio that started it all. Shout-out to our new friends and hosts at Yoga Heights U Street! And another shout-out to our new friends at luxury boutique hotel brand, The Line (DC) — our rooftop classes this summer were crazy vibes with crazy views to match.
In the spring, Culture Unmuted: A One-Act Play, was presented in person for the first time at the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Public Library, as part of the 2022 DC History Conference. In the summer, Black excellence was on the menu at the illustrious Salamander Resorts for Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s The Family Reunion event, where Soka Tribe created unforgettable vibes. And we closed out an extended Convoy season in the fall with pure bacchanal on the D.C. Wharf Floating Stage as a Mayor Muriel Bowser Encore Program grantee.
We were also proud to join the 2022 class of COMCAST Rise awardees, an amazing opportunity that will allow us to grow the Soka Tribe community and strengthen our mission to help even more people tap into the love, joy, and freedom of Caribbean carnival culture.
The wins we experienced were epic, but the best part of every year is always the people. We wukked up with guest instructors Betty Rox (based in Los Angeles) and Luna (based in Trinidad) in two special classes. We had a wave of new, first-time Convoy members who brought fresh energy into our community and practiced hard all season. And we can’t wait to introduce you to our new Soka Tribe Chiefs this coming year — they’ve also been working hard! Shout-out to Nicola Charles, our operations specialist, for her one-year anniversary with Soka Tribe. We were also fortunate to have significant strategic support from Tonya Noble and Andrew Wright on a variety of projects behind the scenes; THANK YOU two for your keen minds and valuable work. Another special thank you to our Director and Chief Jazelle for keeping the ship sailing through an unprecedented dynamic year. Our founder Shermica was named one of Carib Biz Network’s 150 Caribbean American Boss Ladies of 2022, and was also featured on the YOU Better! podcast with Kiesha Garrison.
Last but never least, the Soka Baby made her debut (during Hookie Weekend, just like a #babybachannal would), and Sokanista, Soka Dad, and the whole Tribe have been loving on her since.
Seven years in business is a huge accomplishment. But these vibes don’t create themselves! THANK YOU to our leadership team, Convoy, Ambassadors, partners, funders, clients, collaborators, friends, and family for creating them with us and helping Soka Tribe thrive. We don’t take any of it for granted.
The best is yet to come.
See you in 2023 – #sokatribegr8ness!