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Ayoka Chenzira

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Information about Ayoka Chenzira

Profile image of Ayoka Chenzira

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Animator
Communications Professor
Film Professor
Film Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Burnt Orange
Favorite Food:
Sushi, Tuna Fish Sandwiches
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Amalfi Coast
Favorite Quote:
That's What I'm Talking About.

Birthplace

Born:
11/8/1953
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Animator
Communications Professor
Film Professor
Film Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Burnt Orange
Favorite Food:
Sushi, Tuna Fish Sandwiches
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Amalfi Coast
Favorite Quote:
That's What I'm Talking About.

Birthplace

Born:
11/8/1953
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how Ayoka Chenzira is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Ayoka Chenzira was born on November 8, 1953, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Paul and Bernice Wilson. Chenzira was reared by her mother who owned a beauty parlor in the building where they lived in north Philadelphia. Pennsylvania. Chenzira played the cello, field hockey and studied ballet for a number of years. She attended private boarding school during high school. After graduation, she attended The College of New Rochelle in Westchester, New York, where she studied film and photography. Chenzira received her M.A degree in education from Columbia University and her B.F.A. degree in film production from New York University, where her thesis piece was Syvilla: They Dance to her Drum, a short film that documented the African American concert dancer, Syvilla Fort, who was her dance teacher.

As the chair of the department of media and communication arts at the City College of New York, Chenzira managed programs in advertising, public relations, journalism, film and video. She also co-created the City College of New York’s first M.F.A in media arts production graduate program.

Chenzira is a prolific film artist whose works include features, performance art, documentaries, experimental productions and animation. In fact, she is considered the first African American female animator. In 2002, Chenzira was invited to serve as the first William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professor in the Arts at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she is creator and director of the Digital Moving Image Salon (DMIS) and teaches a year long research and production course. She also created and served as co-director of Oral Narratives and Digital Technology, a joint venture between Spelman College and the Durham Institute of Technology (DIT), where she designed and taught workshops primarily for Zulu students at DIT.

Chenzira lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and has one adult daughter.

See how Ayoka Chenzira is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ayoka Chenzira's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls growing up in a diverse apartment in North Philadelphia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother's apartment in North Philadelphia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira describes Thanksgiving celebrations with her family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her childhood games and activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the demographics of Philadelphia's Gesu School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira remembers buying stockings for her First Communion
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the nuns at Philadelphia's Gesu School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira remembers an accident on the playground
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her interest in Catholic rituals
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her childhood personality and her mother's parenting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother's emphasis on healthy meals
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her outdoor and cultural activities as a child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls a lesson about racism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her ballet lessons
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira remembers Philadelphia's Jewish community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls transferring to Steven Girard Elementary School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her experiences at Steven Girard Elementary School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls her community's reaction to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's death
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls how her artistic interest emerged at Philadelphia High School for Girls
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her high school experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls developing her artistic identity at Lourdesmont School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls her experiences at Lourdesmont School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ayoka Chenzira remembers her decision to study filmmaking
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira reflects upon Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her perception of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira shares her opinion of Malcom X as a young woman
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls attending The College of New Rochelle in New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes film education at New York University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her artistic influences
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls her film professors, Peter Glushanok and Haig Manoogian
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls learning animation to create her film, 'Hair Piece'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her decision to attend Columbia University's Teachers College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her documentary, 'Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls working as a video editor to fund her films
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her daughter and late husband
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls learning animation and working with Byllye Avery
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'Hair Piece,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'Hair Piece,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira reflects upon African American women's hair trends
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the negative response to her film, 'Hair Piece'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira explains why she does not consider herself the first African American woman animator
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her film, 'Secret Sounds Screaming: The Sexual Abuse of Children'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'The Lure and The Lore'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'Zajota and the Boogie Spirit'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her film company, Red Carnelian Films
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her international film projects and her teaching career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'Alma's Rainbow'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'In The Rivers of Mercy Angst'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about two of her short films
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her interactive film project, 'Her,' with her daughter
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her stage play, 'Flying Over Purgatory,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her stage play, 'Flying Over Purgatory,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the courses she teaches at Spelman College
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her professional and personal goals
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira shares her advice to aspiring filmmakers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira shares a message for future generations
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her admiration for African American filmmakers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered