TallDrums TallDrums To be the leading global entity in the telling of the African story and the celebration of the lives and accomplishments of Continental Africans outside the continent. The Quintessence Ball: A celebration of African People in World History brings together African people from Africa, North America, and the Caribbean, to break bread and celebrate community and nation building in the African world. Entertainment is usually provided by African dance troops and drummers, and disc jockeys that provide dancing music from the rich African musical tradition for the dancing pleasure of the attendants. Often speeches and remarks in various aspects of the African life are offered by guests of honor. One of the main highlights of the annual event is the presentation of the Quintessence Award, the preeminent Pan-African Leadership Award in North America. The Quintessence Award is given each year to at least one continental African leader and at least one African American leader, “for distinguished accomplishments in the person’s field of endeavor, and for outstanding contributions to the history and heritage of African people.” Recipients of the award in the past have included Professor Ngugi wa-Thiongo of Kenya, Professor Chinua Achebe of Nigeria, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), Mr. Gill Noble, U.S. Congressman Donald Payne, Professor Molefi Kete Asante, Vice President Atiku Abubakar of Nigeria, Lona Hooks, Esq., former Secretary of State of New Jersey, and Professor Dora Akunyili, to mention a few (see the list of past honorees). In each case, the recipients were present in person to receive the award, which is our only requirement of the honorees. The award is usually accompanied by a signed proclamation from the Governor of the State of New Jersey, and a joint resolution in the honoree’s name from both the New Jersey State General Assembly and the New Jersey State Senate. The award consists of an elephant mounted on a mahogany base. The elephant represents the majesty of African people, even in times of adversity, while the mahogany base symbolizes the status of African people as progenitors of the human race. The event is presented each year by the Sungai Corporation (publishers and consultants) and hosted by the African Writers Endowment, Inc. Please click the “Events” link above to get information about the next Q’Ball event and other events. The show is hosted by the Princeton , New Jersey-based author and publisher, Dr. Ugorji O. Ugorji. The idea of this television series was a consequence of the launching of Tall Drums: Portraits of Nigerians Who Are Changing America on July 29, 2004, at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel. The coffee-table book, which was publicly presented at the Abuja event, was written by Ugorji – it is one of five books he has authored. Praised by Professors Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and Ngugi wa-Thiongo for his contributions to the documentation of Africa’s intellectual heritage and literary traditions, Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji hails from Nigeria and resides both in Nigeria and the United States of America . In 1993 he founded the Sungai Corporation, a publishing and consulting firm based in Princeton, New Jersey (USA) and Abuja, Nigeria. Dr. Ugorji holds four degrees, including a doctorate degree in Education Administration from Rutgers University in New Jersey . A Former Ralph Bunche Fellow in Human Rights of Amnesty International-USA, he has authored five books: I saw the sky fall; Tall Drums: Portraits of Nigerians who are changing America; The Crow Bride; From the Belly of the Gods; and The Adventures of Torti. With a commitment to helping African writers tell the stories of African people, Dr. Ugorji founded the nonprofit African Writers Endowment, Inc. in 2000 and serves as its Executive Director. He also works as a public administrator with the State government of New Jersey. Tall Drums television program is produced under a new company known as Tall Drums, Inc. (TDI), with offices in New Jersey, USA, and in Owerri and Abuja , Nigeria. TDI is a Broadcasting and Moving Images Production firm.
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