Applause Africa honored and celebrated 16 African leaders in New York City last Saturday November 30 at our 3rd annual African Diaspora Awards (ADA). Conceived to recognize the achievements of African leaders and professionals with ingenuity and creativity, who work across categories of media, entertainment, community advocacy and philanthropy, the ADA, is the only major awards show that celebrates exemplary brands and individuals who have made a significant difference in the African community in the United States.

2011 Laureate Leymah Gbowee Tops the Shortlist for the 3rd Annual African Diaspora Awards Honoring the Best in the Diaspora. List of High Caliber Nominees Will Be Released on at 5 p.m. on Monday, November 11, 2013


[NEW YORK, NY] — [November 4, 2013] – The African Diaspora Awards, the only major awards show that celebrates exemplary brands and individuals who have made a significant difference in the African community in the United States across categories of media, entertainment, community advocacy and philanthropy, will celebrate its 3rd year live from the Gerald W. Lynch Theater At The Lincoln Center, 524 West 59th Street, New York, NY Live on Saturday, November 30th, 2013, 6:00PM-12:00AM EST. Nobel Peace Prize winner and activist Leymah Roberta Gbowee will deliver a keynote address, on the “The Power of Our Voice”, the ADA theme for this year’s glittering red carpet event. Three-time Emmy nominated media professional and PIX 11 News Producer and Correspondent, Ojinika Obiekwe and Actor and Writer Mohamed Dione III will join Gbowee as hosts of the show. 



In her 31 years, she has accomplished more than most people would dream to accomplish in a lifetime. She saw a need in her home country and found a creative solution to tackle that problem- all done in style, if we might say. Yet, when you ask her about her accomplishments, Ms. Jones will tell you that she has barely scratched the surface.

Read more: The ADA AWARDS Winners Spotlight: Saran Kaba Jones Person of the Year, 2011

Winner of the Person of the year prize at the 2012 edition of African Diaspora Awards, Lola Ogunnaike has contributed to the New York Times, Essence, Rolling Stone and now Arise Entertainment 360 . She has worked at CNN as an entertainment correspondent for American Morning.  Ogunnaike has also been spotted on VH1  The View, MTV and BET and her articles have been featured in Rolling Stone, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vibe.  In 2007, she was named one of Ebony magazine’s “150 Most Influential Blacks in America.”

Read more: The ADA AWARDS Winners Spotlight: Lola Ogunnaike Person of the Year, 2012


We are happy to officially announce that the African Diaspora Awards will be taking place on November 30th, 2013 - New York City. We have adopted the theme: “The power of our voice” and our keynote speaker will be the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate - Leymah Gbowee. Our hosts of the ceremony are Ojinika Obiekwe of WPIX TV/PIX 11 News and Actor Mohamed Dione III. MARK YOUR CALENDAR!  

Read more: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate - Leymah Gbowee to speak at the 2013 African Diaspora Awards

“The African diaspora are peoples of African descent and heritage living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and who remain committed to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African union.” - African union. The African Diaspora Awards is a special initiative aims to identify and celebrate exemplary individuals who have made a significant difference in the African community in the United States. 
A Message From our Founders
For over twelve years, Applause Africa has committed time and resources towards identifying and celebrating Africans in the Diaspora who make a significant difference in the global African community. Our successful and astounding track record is a testament of our quest to highlight the efforts of deserving role models in the African community and serves as the passion behind the African Diaspora Awards.
Applause Africa strongly believes that it is important to celebrate leaders of today in order to inspire leaders of tomorrow.The African Diaspora Awards joins the list of initiatives created by Applause Africa with a singular objective to celebrate, empower and connect the people, culture and visions of Africans in the Diaspora. The African Diaspora Award proves to be as inclusive as Applause Africa Magazine which is reputed as one of Diaspora Africa’s most respected media platform.
Thank you for joining us on this journey!
Michael Ikotun & Debo Folorunsho
Our 2013 Keynote Speaker: Leymah Roberta Gbowee 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Resilient, prevailing, and resolute are a few words that come to mind when we think of a woman who has become the face of peace in such a short time. If her current status as the 2011 Nobel Laureate for peace doesn’t reinforce the above title, then wait till you learn how much Leymah Roberta Gbowee has shaped rural women in Africa and particularly her hometown of Liberia. It was in the year 2002 that Gbowee courageously led a delegation of Liberian women to the Peace Talks Congress in a plea effort to the Liberian government to abolish the Liberia conflict that had been going on for fourteen years. Her demonstrations did not come without a struggle. Several times during Gbowee’s peace movement arrests were made and protests turned into local wars, but Gbowee’s conviction resonated in her message: "We are tired! We are tired of our children being killed! We are tired of being raped! Women, wake up – You have a voice in the peace process!"
In 2003, the African Union decided to recognize the African Diaspora as the sixth region of the Africa Union. The Diaspora is home to thousands of Africans (established entrepreneurs, world-class entertainers, renowned scholars, top politicians, skilled athletes, reputable philanthropists, and distinguished professionals of various careers) who incessantly add value to their society and serve as positive role models. They are fed up with the media that focus on customary stigmas of Africa and Africans -- such as terrorism, fraud, poverty, hunger, disease, aids, brain drain, etc. It is not that they do not acknowledge these failings, but they choose daily to rise above them, and celebrate the successes instead of dwelling on the challenges. Applause Africa believes it is our duty to celebrate and raise awareness of such role models to further change the narrative of Africans and to inspire our generation.
Our Mission
The African Diaspora Awards is a special initiative that aims to celebrate exemplary individuals who have made a significant difference in the African community in the United States. The awards are particularly aimed at motivating young and accomplished African Diaspora professionals to become the change they wish to see in Africa. The African Diaspora Awards aims to identify and celebrate notable Africans that have genuinely excelled in various spheres of life, as well as individuals in society who have contributed to the advancement of Africans in the Diaspora and Africa as a whole.
As a new breed of African leaders now seek closer ties with the Diaspora, fully aware of the need to build lasting partnerships between the African Diaspora and the African continent through sustained dialogue and resilient collaboration with the governments and peoples of different regions of the world, home to the African Diaspora; Applause Africa is strategically positioned to empower the Diaspora to effectively engage in the conversation.
Meet Our 2013 Hosts:
Co-Host Ojinika Obiekwe - Producer/Correspondent, WPIX-TV/PIX 11
Ojinika Obiekwe was born and raised in Enugu, Nigeria - Ojinika is the second of five children. At the age of 16, after graduating from high school, she moved to the United States for college where she studied Communications at Seton Hall University.As a producer/correspondent for PIX11 Morning News, Ojinika writes, produces and interviews celebrities, politicians and people from all walks of life.“The best part of my job, I think is the fact that I’m good at what I do, but I also realized that with this I can reach so many people and touch many lives, especially women; not just in Nigeria, but the entire continent of Africa and hopefully all over the world.” says Ojinika about journalism.
Co-Host: Mohamed Dione III - Actor, Director & Writer
Mohamed Dione III was born in Saudi Arabia. He is of Guinean and Senegalese descent. His father is a Guinean diplomat and his mother is a social entrepreneur specializing in promotion and African fashion. He has been featured in plays,TV shows, commercials, music videos, student films, independent films, and feature films. Some of his credits are Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Across the Universe, Notorious, Restless City, Mother of George which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival; and several commercials. He’s also posed for paintings by Afro-American painter Kehinde Wiley. He is bi-coastal; living in Los Angeles and New York. He enjoys horseback riding, opera, Congolese soukous, sports, and anything that has to do with cinema.
Meet our Past Winners:
Advocate of the Year: Eddie Bergman Executive Director, Africa Travel Association | Website
Scholar of the Year: Dr. Mamhood Mamdani, Professor of Government and Anthropology. Columbia University | Website
Entrepreneur of the Year: Ella Gorgla Founder and CEO, I-ELLA.COM | Website
Musician of the Year: Les Nubians R&B Grammy- nominated sisters | Website
Actor of the Year: Winner: Gbenga Akinnagbe Actor,The Wire & Graceland | Website
Creative Artist of the Year: Tony Okungbowa Resident DJ,The Ellen DeGeneres Show | Website
Designer of the Year: Farai Simoyi Founder & Designer, Farai by Farai Simoyi | Website
Company of the Year: The Whitaker Group | Website
Face of Africa: Flaviana Matata | Website
Friend of Africa: Krista Krieger Chair, Africa Foundation USA | Website
Person of the Year: Lola Ogunniake Journalist and (CNN/ARISE) TV Personality | Website
Humanitarian of the Year: Saran Kaba Jones Founder and Executive Director, FACE Africa | Website
Community Service Award: Sire Dione Conde President of NewYork UNESCO State Chapter | Website
Lifetime Achievement Award: Angelique Kidjo Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter and activist | Website