Ghanaian Dede Ayite Makes History As First Black Woman To Win Tony Award For Best Costume Design

by Gee NY

Ghanaian costume designer Dede Ayite has made history as the first Black woman to win a Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Play at the 2024 Tony Awards.

Ayite earned this prestigious honor for her exceptional work on “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” a play set in a Harlem salon, written by Jocelyn Bioh.

Despite its brief run, “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” garnered five Tony nominations, with Ayite’s costumes playing a pivotal role in its storytelling.

The intricate and culturally rich designs helped bring the vibrant world of the Harlem salon to life, captivating both audiences and critics.

In her heartfelt acceptance speech, Ayite expressed profound gratitude to her family, collaborators, and Jocelyn Bioh for creating the beautiful narrative that served as her canvas.

She also highlighted the indispensable contributions of costume shops and makers, stating that their efforts were fundamental to the play’s success.

Reflecting on her groundbreaking win, Ayite described it as “huge,” expressing hope that her achievement would inspire others to persevere and tell stories that resonate with them.

She said her victory was not just a personal triumph but a collective one, made possible by the unwavering support of her community.

The 2024 Tony Awards, held at Lincoln Center in New York, marked this historic moment in theater, celebrating Ayite’s trailblazing achievement and is evidence of the importance of diverse voices in the arts.

This milestone honors Ayite’s exceptional talent and paves the way for future generations of designers from underrepresented backgrounds to aspire to and achieve greatness in theater.

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