African American Holiday Association




As Seen On: WUSA, Channel 9; News Channel 8; ABC,-Channel 7,WTTG- Channel 5; WETA; CNN;

Arlington T.V. / DCTV


As Heard On: Steve Harvey Morning Show:

Bev Smith Show : American Urban Radio Network;

Tom Joyner Show, Syn: XM Radio:

WOL: Bernie McCain Show;

WPFW-FM: Harambe Internet Radio:

Metro News Syn; WKYS;

Voice of America – 22 Countries


Articles: The Washington Post: New York Times: CNN : The Washington Afro: The Informer: Target Magazine:

FAMU Gazette: Black Psychiatry Review




Ayo Handy-Kendi, the oldest daughter of Doris A.M. Thomas, Actress
and Company Director of the Serenity Players, learned the art of
“storytelling” as a child listening to her Mother’s stories. She then
created story dramas and skit re-enactments with paper dolls, doll
babies, stuffed animals and friends.  As an adult, she professionally
started telling stories in her work as a Community Organizer and Mental
Health Counselor, as early as 1970. 


In 1981, she founded a cultural event that grew and grew developing as
the Founder/Director of the African American Holiday Association
(AAHA) in 1989.  Here, she delighted young and old, lovingly called
Mama Ayo- the Kwanzaa Griot.  A “Griot” (pronounced Gree o)
offers storytelling in the oral tradition of Motherland Africa
that are culturally based, filled with  life’s lessons, values and
history.  Mama Ayo continues to connect culture, health and history
to delight young and old with story performances that make information
come alive!


Ayo Handy Kendi has presented before millions over radio, t.v. and
print as a Storyteller, Holiday Authority, founder of Black Love Day –
Feb. 13th, Workshop Facilitator, Rituals Officiator, Breathologist,
Inspirational Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur, and Spokesperson for
Holiday Stress Management.  


As Mama Ayo – the Kwanzaa Griot,  she has presented notable story
performances locally at the National Theater, National Harbor,
the Smithsonian, Fort Dupont Summer Theater, P.G. Mall and is featured
at   numerous Kwanzaa, Juneteenth and D.C. Emancipation Day events; 
schools, churches, hospitals and community programs.  Nationally she has
performed with African American Women on Tour, N.Y’s Kwanzaa Expo, and
Atlanta’s Juneteenth Celebration; while internationally on Voice of
America broadcasted over 22 countries  and at the  Roots & Gospel
Festival, Benin, West Africa. 

Holiday Presentations /Ceremonies for

=  Black Love Day – Feb 13TH

=  MLK Birthday

=  Rituals of Reconciliation

=  Women’s History Month

=  D.C. Emancipation Day – April 16th

=  Juneteenth  - June 19th

=  International Breath Day

=  Kwanzaa


Popular Stories

=  It’s Kwanzaa Time

=  The Talking Drum

=  A Diversity Healing Story

=  Freedom Song

For media interviews of Handy-Kendi; for booking stories, speaking engagements, relationship ceremonies, or  workshops; or technical assistance for cultural holidays and stress management, contact Rashida Thomas, publicists for AAHA at 202-667-2577 Or to request an appearance (click here)