About ADA

Over the past ten years, Applause Africa has committed time, energy and resources to identify and celebrate Africans in the Diaspora who have made a significant difference in African communities and sectors around the world. Applause Africa’s success and committed 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 birth of the African Diaspora Awards.

The African Diaspora Awards joins the list of projects and programs created by Applause Africa which seek to empower Africans in the Diaspora and render positive messages that empowers them and their community. The African Diaspora Award will prove to be as competitive as the Applause Africa Magazine which is reputed as Africa’s most respected leadership platform.

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 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.

Past Honorees

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Angélique Kidjo

Angélique Kidjo is a Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter and activist originally from Benin Republic, West Africa. Time Magazine has called her “Africa’s premier diva”. Kidjo is the first woman to be listed among “The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa” by Forbes Magazine. She serves as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and is a fervent advocate for girls’ empowerment and access to education.

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Chinedu Echeruo

As founder of HopStop.com, Nigerian native Chinedu Echeruo has been helping New Yorkers navigate the city’s overwhelming mass transit system since 2005. Eager to improve its mapping tools, Apple Inc. recently acquired the popular online city transit guide. He founded HopStop.com after working several years in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Leveraged Finance groups of J.P Morgan Chase.

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Leymah Gbowee

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 a 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 African 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.

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YaYa DaCosta

The 32-year-old actress first burst onto the scene as a model contestant of Tyra Banks‘ hit show America’s Top Model in cycle 3, where she placed second. After the show, YaYa started honing in on her acting skills and starred in movies Take the Lead, The Messenger, The Kids Are All Right, Tron: Legacy, and The Butler. YaYa DaCosta is also getting noticed for her portrayal of Whitney Houston in Lifetime’s upcoming biopic Whitney, which airs earlier this year! Yaya DaCosta took the role of one of the greatest voices in modern music, Whitney Houston. The Lifetime biopic, Whitney, directed by Oscar-nominee Angela Bassett. DaCosta has been sought after for several pilots following Whitney and she is set to star in Chicago Med, the proposed ensemble medical drama spinoff from NBC’s Chicago Fire.

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Meck Khalfan

Meck Khalfan is the CEO and co-founder of Puku LLC, a New York based company that is revolutionizing the mobile charging industry with high quality and beautiful designed portable chargers. Mr. Khalfan is a Tanzanian born serial entrepreneur and a veteran software engineer. In addition, Mr. Khalfan is a passionate supporter of minority causes. He is an active supporter of Touch Foundation and sponsorship for Education Opportunity (“SEO”), two organizations that aim to make a difference in underserved communities. Meck is also on the Associate board of Madison Square Park conservancy, a non profit organization dedicated to raise the funds to keep the historical Madison Square Park bright, beautiful and active public park.

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Mpule Kwelagobe

Mpule K. Kwelagobe is the founder of the MPULE Institute for Endogenous Development, a New York City based think tank that strengthens linkages between agriculture, food security, nutrition, health and human development. In 2003, Mpule was selected as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum, which also selected her to join the forum of Young Global Leader in 2006. In 2000, she was appointed as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth and HIV/AIDS by the UN’s Population Fund, UNFPA. She was featured on five (5) postage stamps issued in her honor by Botswana Post. In 1999, at the age of 19, Mpule Kwelagobe became the first delegate to represent Botswana at the Miss Universe pageant, and she won! She made history as the first African woman to be crowned Miss Universe.

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Semhar Araia

Semhar Araia is the founder and executive director of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), an organization whose mission is to develop and support the next generation of African diaspora women focused on African affairs. A specialist on US-Africa relations, diaspora engagement, humanitarian affairs, conflict resolution and international development, Semhar is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Elliot School for International Affairs and teaches on conflict & development in the Horn of Africa

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Tony Okungbowa

Anthony “Tony” Okungbowa, is a charismatic British born actor, film producer, and disc jockey of Nigerian decent. He is the resident DJ for The Ellen DeGeneres Show. His acting roles include guest appearances on The X-Files, NYPD Blue and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He is the executive producer of Restless City which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011.

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David Tlale

Having launched his eponymous label 11 years ago, award-winning designer David Tlale has etched his mark on the South African, continental, as well as global fashion design landscape. In September 2012, Tlale became the first ever African designer to earn a solo show at the prestigious Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. Since then Tlale has been a regular at New York Fashion Week. September 2015 marked his 5th solo show at this fashion week, a show which set tongues wagging and critics praising his work. Tlale etched his mark during Spring 2015 when international male model Tyson Beckford opened and closed his show: a bold and loud statement. .

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Gbenga Akinnagbe

Gbenga Akinnagbe, American actor of Nigerian origin, best known for his notable role as Chris Partlow on the HBO original series The Wire. Akinnagbe has appeared in features including the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Lottery Ticket, and Nurse Jackie and The Good Wife. The actor has made his recent producing debut in Newlyweeds – an independent film recently selected for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

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Ms. Kajunju

A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ms. Kajunju is the first African woman to ever serve at The Africa-America Institute. Ms. Kajunju joined AAI in October, 2012 from the New York-based Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate, train and inspire under-resourced entrepreneurs in the Tri-State Area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where she served as executive director for 10 years. Under her leadership, she bolstered the organization’s programming and served more entrepreneurs than any other institution of a similar size in New York City.

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Kemi Adetiba

Though a law school graduate, Kemi has, in a short space of time, excelled in the entertainment both in Nigeria and across sub-saharan Africa. Starting out as a radio personality with Rhythm 93.7FM, Kemi soon became the voice behind two nationally syndicated hit shows: Soul’d Out and her signature, Sunday at the Seaside, also frequently helming other shows on the station. In 2007, after years of success in front of the camera, her love of storytelling drew her to enroll in the New York Film Academy. Today, Kemi is an award-winning director, producer and cinematographer. Her body of work includes music videos, commercials, television content and films. .


African Diaspora Awards joins the list of projects and programs created by Applause Africa which seek to empower Africans in the Diaspora and render positive messages that empowers them and their community.The African Diaspora Award proved to be competitive as the Applause Africa Magazine which is reputed as Africa’s most respected leadership platform. For the first time, the awards were held at the newly SVA Theatre, Chelsea - New York . The theme of the night was Still We Rise. The night belonged to Saran Kaba Jones, who each walked away with our Person of the Year Awards and Ella Gorgla for our Entrepreneur of the Year. Hosted by NaMó Skee alongside Yetunde A. Odugbesan Jane H.
The second annual African Diaspora Awards took place on Saturday December 8, at the newly SVA Theatre, Chelsea - New York The theme of the night was The Power of our Voice. Actress Ebbe Bassey from Nigeria and Sduduzo Ka-Mbili, a South African radio personality at WBAI 99.5FM hosted the award ceremony. The distinguished honorees include CNN’s Lola Ogunnaike, Tony Okungbowa of the Ellen DeGeneres show, Les Nubiens, artist Angelique Kidjo, actor Gbenga Akinagbe-to name a few, as well as keynote address by Amini Kajunju, President and CEO of the Africa- America Institute and a live performance by Grammy- winning artist Angelique Kidjo, Les Nubiens and Nigerian singer-songwriter BEZ. John B
An historic night for the Africans in the Diaspora, a spectacular speech was given by 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee The Nobel laureate, who will speak at the future of Africa and girls education. Guest reactions to her speech were largely positive, particularly when it came to Girls education in Africa. We also had Chinedu Echeruo, Founder of HopStop, Mpule Kwelagobe, Former Miss Universe & CEO, MPULE Institute for Endogenous Development and Yaya Alafia on stage! The prestigious ceremony was hosted by Three-time Emmy nominated media professional and PIX 11 News Producer and Correspondent, Ojinika Obiekwe and Veteran French radio presenter Nasser Diallo. John B
In one of the most electrifying and highly anticipated awards shows in New York and an unprecedented 1,510 participants in person and online, last year’s Awards was the largest event to date. The 2014 ADA Honorees were: Actor of the Year: Ger Duany, star of “The Good Lie” [South Sudan]; Creative Artist of the Year: Kemi Adetiba [Nigeria]; Entrepreneur of the Year: Meck Khalfan, Puku Charger [Tanzania]; Community Leadership Award: Semhar Araia, Dawn Inc. [Eritrea]; Musician of the Year: Somi [Rwanda-Uganda]; Friend of Africa: Bernadette Paolo, The Africa Society [U.S]; Advocate of the Year: Dr. Olajide Williams, Hip Hop Healthcare [Nigeria]; Designer of the Year: David Tlale [South Africa]; and Company of the Year: Ogilvy and Mather [U.S.].

African Diaspora Awards 2014

African Diaspora Awards 2013

African Diaspora Awards 2014




If this season calls you to a fancier fete, take notes from these stylish and successful women of the Diaspora on how to boldly dress for the 2014 African Diaspora Awards.



The honorees and some 500 attendees are a testament to the progress of the Africans in the Diaspora.



The Awards drew attention to inspiring movements of Africans in the Diaspora who are driving the revitalization and economic progress in the global African community



ADA awards provide a stage for people to admire and to become aware of these individuals and the difference they are making in society.



The African Diaspora Awards Celebrating leaders and exemplary figures who pave the way for future generations.



iconic tributes from honorees to their mothers, spouses, children and their faith for their success were highlights at this year's awards show.



Applause Africa is fast becoming the Ebony of America's new Africa diaspora, highlighting its diversity and accomplishments, the African Diaspora Awards is now equivalent of the NAACP Image Awards.



We offer the latest advances in safe and effective prevention and treatment of fleas, ticks, worms, heart worm, and other parasites.



The most electrifying and highly anticipated awards shows celebrating the African Diaspora. The awards engaged attendees in a cultural extravaganza of iconic tributes, powerhouse performances, and unforgettable moments.

Nominations Now Open for The African Diaspora Awards 2017


1. The applicant demonstrates that s/he has directly and individually fueled the success of his/her work. African Diaspora Award winners are program founders and/or leading activist/advocates. Their involvement and leadership are integral to the success of their program or cause.

2. The applicant has created great awareness about his/her brand. S/he exhibit excellent communication and creative skills, which they use to motivate and mobilize community members, promote their brand, and develop relationships with media, government, other not-for-profits, individuals, and funders.

3. The applicant is confident and enthusiastic about being a leader. African Diaspora Award winners aren't reluctant heroes. They are confident, honest, and passionate leaders who take on challenges for the greater good.


Eligibility: In order to be eligible for the African Diaspora Awards, nominees must be at least eighteen (18) years of age or older as of November 1, 2017 and some portion of the nominee's activities must have taken place on or before the close of the nomination period. Nominees may be contacted to provide additional information and have their information verified. Applause Africa's ADA reserves the right to request and require additional information from nominees in order to have their nomination considered. The ADA Panel of Judges ("Panel") will select ten (10) potential finalists (the "Finalists") and an alternate from the nomination.

Nominations are open through Oct. 31, 2017

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