Dede Ayite Makes History as First Black Woman to Win Tony Award


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Dede Ayite has carved her name in history at the Tony Awards, triumphing with the Best Costume Design in a Play for her exceptional work on “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” in New York.


The play, penned by Jocelyn Bioh, unfolds in a vibrant Harlem salon, delving into the lives of West African immigrant hair braiders navigating their place in a community that sees them as outsiders.

Despite a brief stint on stage from October 2023 to November 2023, “Jaja’s” left an indelible mark, largely due to Ayite’s remarkable costume designs that breathed life into the characters and their narratives.

In her acceptance speech, Ayite expressed deep gratitude to her family, particularly her supportive brother from Ghana.


Dede Ayite
Photo via The Daily Beast

She also credited her collaborators, including Bioh, for crafting a compelling play, and acknowledged the skilled costume shops and makers who contributed to the show’s visual brilliance.

Reflecting on her groundbreaking win, Ayite underscored its significance for aspiring artists facing uncertainties, urging them to persevere.

She emphasized that her achievement was a collective effort, celebrating the supportive community that rallied behind her.

Ayite’s triumph not only underscores her artistic prowess but also serves as a beacon of inspiration, encouraging storytellers to embrace their narratives and reminding us all of the transformative power of community support.


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