We mourn the passing of DENISE "Story Mama" VALENTINE
KOTC Logo (c) 1996 Columbus Knox
A symbol of Remembrance
Sankofa is an African word from the Akan people of Ghana. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “It is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.”
The word is derived from the words:
FA (look, seek and take)
Denise was a early member of Keepers Of The Culture. Her journey in storytelling was rooted in keeping the culture, sharing the culture and being the culture.
"Roots and Wings" was her moniker. May she rest in the peace & love she radiated. She will be greatly missed by family and friends.
KOTC's greatest "poetic storyteller" Thelma was awarded "Poet Laureate of South Philly." She will be remembered for her contribution to civil rights in Philadelphia. "You Catch More Flies With Honey" is one of her many books of poetry she left for us to enjoy.
This video is her telling an original poem on the integration of the trolley system in Philly.
May our beloved Thelma rest in poetic power!
Dec. 9, 1991 - May 5, 2019
Our beloved Eric was the youngest, son of Irma Gardner-Hammond, past president of KOTC and little brother to Earl Hammond.
Eric was an original Watoto Of Joy, KOTC's youth component.
Eric was telling stories since his youth, a drummer, poet and artist. Eric possessed a very warm and loving personality.
Eric loved hip-hop and could bust a rhyme with the best of 'em. His dream was to get married, wear plaid shirts and live in the county. Sadly, Eric was taken from us, by a senseless random act of violence in Philadelphia.
Audrey was a brilliant and creative librarian, scholar and voice over artist who dedicated her life to the art of storytelling.
A early member of KOTC she will always be remembered for her bright and loving personality.
Theresa "Feathers In The Wind" Randall was a family counselor, storyteller and also hosted a storytelling TV program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
She served as a Creative Director and was a warm and caring storyteller.
Vina "Brightlocks" Bright was a Educator, Storyteller, and Musician extraordinaire. She loved life and constantly blended her talents to express and reflect her life. Her favorite Singer was Bernice Reagan, a fellow alumnae of Howard University and founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock. Vina's voice was similar to that of Bernice Reagan's. She was well known and loved in her spiritual community, always studying to seek the deeper truth. Vina was a healer, message therapist and herbalist.
"Moonsong" retired as a health educator at Downingtown Middle School, PA. Owner/photographer of "Paparazzi by Appointment." She enjoyed taking photographs of storytellers in action.
Storytelling drew Moonsong to explore her first people ancestry. She is shown here portraying & telling the story of Lena Horne at KOTC's Family Day program.
Doni was a professional dancer who performed in NYC in "Golden Boy" with Sammy Davis, Jr. and a tour stint with James Brown. She also danced in several revue's at Smalls Paradise in Harlem, New York.
A devoted mother of 4, community activist, jewelry artisan and business woman. Her company trained and employed woman in home health care services. Always culturally conscious, she joined KOTC for love of our culture and her sister, Oni Lasana
Brother Abiodun, the original "Hip-Hop Pop Pop" and cultural activist.
Abuidyb blended modern poetry, African folktales and legendary Black-His Stories to life.
Faith, an opera singer of freedom songs and teller of African folktales.
A resident of Ghana, Africa & Philadelphia, PA.,
Faith was a powerful melodic storyteller.
Phyllis was a peaceful storyteller, poet and an excellent writer. A community worker dedicated to helping young, troubled women to get their lives on track. She was a member of NABS and enjoyed attending several conferences. She was a dedicated KOTC member who worked tirelessly behind the scene Her forte was historical stories. She will always be remembered for her poem, The Legend of Henry Box Brown, an enslaved man who escaped by mailing himself in a box from Virginia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Shirley is on the right with legendary storyteller, JACKIE TORRENCE (RIP) at the 1999 NABS conference in Winston Salem, NC.
Shirley hailed from New York City. A author of short stories and poetry books. She was KOTC's photographer and a powerful voice in the black consciousness movement.
KEEPERS OF THE CULTURE, INC.
Philadelphia's Afrocentric Storytelling Group
P. O. BOX 15083
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Contact our president, Paul D. Best
Voicemail: 1-317-759-4732 / kotcPhilly@gmail.com
Copyright © 2020 Keepers Of The Culture, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
"Telling Our Story, Claiming Our Glory"