Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Omelika Kuumba is an alumna of Spelman College and proud mother of Zanaida and Akumba Bynum-Roberson. Omelika Kuumba is a founding member and director of GIWAYEN MATA where she is a writer, drummer, musical arranger, vocalist, choreographer, and dancer. She is a cultural arts educator, instructor of African Dance Forms in the Department of Drama and Dance at Spelman College, and instructor of African Dance Forms in the Department of Dance at Emory University.
She has studied under the direction of masters of African dance and percussion in this country including Marie Basse Wiles, Assane Konte, Youssouf Koumbassa, Mahiri Keita, and Dr. Zak Diouf. During her first journey to Africa, Omelika studied drumming under master drummer, Taffa N’Daiye Rose and African dancing under master dancers including members of Ibrahima Cisse’s African Dance Company in Senegal.
As a percussionist, dancer, choreographer, musical arranger and an educator, Omelika has traveled to Stuttgart, Germany, Hastings, England and Bermuda. Omelika was Assistant Director of Barefoot Ballet Children’s Dance Ensemble and is founder and director of the Kuumba Krew, a children’s performing ensemble. She directs Ashietu, the Sisters Chapel African Drum and Dance Ministry at Spelman College. Omelika is an instructor and workshop leader and lecturer of music and dance at various schools and programs to expand awareness and appreciation of African dance and music. She has been a consultant for the Atlanta Public Schools Gifted and Talented Program and the National Black Arts Festival. Omelika has played with vocalists including Dionne Farris, Goapele, Laurnea, Wunmi, Doria Roberts, Donnie, and Rahbi. Her commercial and television credits include being a featured guest on several cable television programs and being a percussionist for an American Cancer Society anti- smoking campaign with Mike E.
Omelika was a first round winner with GIWAYEN MATA in the third season of NBC Television’s America’s Got Talent. She also performed as the percussionist in the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf under the direction of Ms. Jasmine Guy. In addition to other awards that she has received with GIWAYEN MATA, Omelika is the recipient of awards from Women of Multi-Ethnicity and Nationality and USA Magazine as well as the Ruby Gem Drama and Dance student departmental award at Spelman College. She is also listed in Who’s Who in Black Atlanta. Omelika is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. East Point/College Park Chapter, the Spelman College Alumnae Association, and Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society at Spelman College. Sis. Omelika continues to thank the Creator for all of her blessings.
Amamansa has been a student of Abdoulaye Camara, Youssouf Koumbassa, Marie Basse-Wiles, Souleman and Souquan Diop to name just a few. Her stage experience has included: Tyson Wayne Reide’s Off Broadway Shows, NY; Coca Cola South American Tour with Las Morenas Caribenas; Ballethnic’s “Leopard’s Tale”, 1996 Opening and Closing Olympics Ceremonies; Fugees Benefit Concert in Haiti; Best Of The Best Mor Thiam; Pascal Bokar (Senegalese Artist) Music Midtown and Alabama Music Festival; TLC “Girl Talk” Video; Music Midtown Stage (Fox 5); Dionne Farris Essence Music Festival; Ron Brown’s Evolution at The Rialto, National Black Arts Festival; Amakou Productions Presents “The African Diaspora” at Ga. Perimeter College; and “Dance Africa” NY, DC, Chicago, Dallas, NJ with Giwayen Mata. Amamansa is known in Atlanta as a dance instructor, choreographer, co-director and director for GIWAYEN MATA, Barefoot Ballet Children’s Dance Company, Price Performing Arts Center, Rick McDevitt’s Community Center, Black Dance South, Fa Nyere Fa, and the Atlanta African Dance & Drum Festival. She has been a member of GIWAYEN MATA since 1996 where she shares her talented gifts to GIWAYEN MATA and Atlanta’s audiences.