MZURI MOYO AIMBAYE
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye is an internationally acclaimed singer actress, and playwright of the multi-award-winning one-woman play, "The Fannie Lou Hamer Story." Her Swahili name means Mzuri (beautiful) Moyo (heart) Aimbaye (who sings). Her talents combine the presence of a movie star with a booming vocal range and versatility of an opera singer. Ms. Aimbaye has been enthusiastically received on cabaret and concert stages both nationally and internationally. She lived and sang briefly in Paris, France and Rome, Italy.
Upon her return from Europe she trained as an actress at HB Studio in New York City. She performed in small productions in the NY/NJ area. Ever mindful of the importance and power of culturally sensitive stories, she was later cast as Lucy in the first film depicting an African American slave revolt, Sankofa.
Mzuri continued to search for material and projects in which she could invest and share her multi-talented artistic gifts. In 1998, she happened upon a television interview of Fannie Lou Hamer, the mother of voting rights for African Americans, which aired on the program "Like It Is." Ms. Aimbaye was struck by the realization she had never heard of Mrs. Hamer. Her incredible story was mesmerizing as well as the display of her kindness and forgiveness. Mrs. Hamer described voter registration inequities and brutal jailhouse beatings without showing any signs of anger or bitterness. Mrs. Hamer’s uncanny display of courage and compassion inspired Ms. Aimbaye to conceive the powerful one-woman play, "The Fannie Lou Hamer Story.“ When she dons her wig and ankle-length dress…Ms. Aimbaye channels Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer and takes the audience on a riveting 90-minute journey. The storytelling is integrated with twelve power songs coupled with a video montage. The play is an attempt to raise awareness about Mrs. Hamer’s activism whose efforts led to the passage of the Voter’s Rights Act of 1965.
The founder’s inspiration first takes roots in her childhood where she encountered an indelibly horrifying experience that created many nightmares and many sleepless nights. Mzuri was an innocent little 7 year old Black girl when she happened to watch the frightening and confusing TV news reports of the hatred displayed in the senseless Birmingham, AL 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, which murdered four little girls that looked like her and injured 22 others. This inspired Mzuri to tell Mrs. Hamer’s story which became a source of a get out to vote campaign to be a part of each performance.
In January 2020, Ms. Aimbaye celebrated her 19th year anniversary resurrecting the indomitable spirit of Fannie Lou Hamer. She endeavors to close out the year with the official announcement of THE FANNIE LOU HAMER VOTER REGISTRATION DAY. The play is speckled with uplifting music from the 60’s movement. She speaks with the power of a warrior and the voice of an angel when she sings. Audiences become transfixed in the 60s-civil rights struggle, experiencing the emotional highs, lows, twists and turns of the courageous spirit and determination of Mrs. Hamer. Ms. Aimbaye travels the country with her signature performance in theaters, churches, high schools, colleges, universities, and civic organizations. The show has become a backdrop for voter registration wherever it is performed, leaving audiences inspired and spellbound!