Adassa Café

Schedule at a Glance

10:30 am
Adoption and the African-American Community

12:30 pm
From Page to Screen: Authors on Scriptwriting

2:00 pm
Community Forum: Black Love is Forever

3:30 pm
Special Book Discussion and Q&A with Ghanaian Author and UC Davis professor, Halifu Osumare

The Hip Life in Ghana

The Hiplife in Ghana: West African Indigenization of Hip-Hop (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
explores how hip-hop music and culture in Ghana, West Africa has morphed over two
decades into a whole new form of world music called hiplife. The groundbreaking
scholarship investigates hiplife music as more than just an adaptation of hip-hop,
but as a revision of Ghana’s own century-old popular music known globally as highlife.
Ghanaian hiplife becomes an example of the emphasis on localization of hip-hop with
its highlife rhythms, melodies, and the use of local languages. In the process,
hiplife’s well-known artists, such as Reggie Rockstone, Batman Samini, Tic Tac,
Okyeame Kwame, and Sarkodie, who are perched for international notoriety,
are featured.

Adoption & The African-American Community

Panelist will be discussing black children and the issues foster care and adoption. A social worker with the County will be on hand to provide factual information of the status of black children and referral information for those interested in becoming foster parents and adoption.
A true Renaissance woman, Victoria Rowell combines her startling ability to do many things extraordinarily well with a dyed-in-the-wool New Englander’s tough work ethic – attributes she credits to the many women who raised her.

As a symbol and reminder of lessons about discipline that she learned early on from her primary foster mother and mentor, Agatha Armstead, the actual farmhouse doorknob which substituted for a ballet barre in those young years – is displayed today like a masterwork of art in Victoria’s Hollywood Hills home. From those early lessons, at age eight Rowell went on to receive a full scholarship at the Cambridge School of Ballet in Harvard Square, under the auspices of the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, eight years later winning a scholarship with the American Ballet Theatre School. After dancing professionally with such companies as American Ballet Theatre II, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Julliard School of Music Dance Extension Program with Anthony Tudor, Rowell returned to New England to teach ballet to inner city youth.

Discovered by none other than Bill Cosby, he cast her as his daughter in LEONARD VI, and a recurring role on The Cosby Show. Rowell then starred in two CBS series regular roles.

In addition to eight seasons on Diagnosis Murder, which she co-starred with TV great Dick van Dyke and fourteen years of her unforgettable Emmy nominated and 11 NAACP Image Award-winning portrayal of the iconic Drucilla Winters on The Young and the Restless, Rowell also starred in award winning films, and TV movies, notably with Forrest Whitaker. In 2012 she starred on Law and Order and Single Ladies. Rowell’s versatility has become her hallmark with acclaimed performances in comedy as well as drama. Her credits include EVE’S BAYOU and HOME OF THE BRAVE opposite Samuel L. Jackson, THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN opposite Eddie Murphy, DUMB AND DUMBER with Jim Carrey, Victoria has been featured on Dr. Phil and Oprah and host of CBS's two flagship parades – Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses and New York City's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In 2007 Rowell received critical acclaim for her memoir, THE WOMEN WHO RAISED ME published by Harper Collins, becoming a NYT Bestselling author, winning the African American Literary Award, NAACP Literary Award for a Debut Author, and included in Oprah Magazine’s Reading Room. The memoir was also a PARADE Magazine Pick. Her novel SECRETS OF A SOAP OPERA DIVA won the Walter Mosley Versatile Author Award and was an Essence Magazine Book Club Pick. She also wrote for VIACOM/CBS.

Victoria served as spokesperson for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s direct service arm, Casey Family Services for thirteen years and remains passionate around raising awareness and foster and adopted children.

The distinguished, American Program Bureau has represented Victoria as a lecturer for nearly two decades. In recognition for her humanitarian work, community service, and cultural contributions, Victoria has received numerous commendations and honors on local, state, national and international scopes, among them a United Nations Association Award, a National Arts Award from the National Association of Counties, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Southern Maine, an Honorary Doctorate from Wheelock College in Boston, and a National Angel Award from the United States Congress’s Coalition on Adoption Institute. Rowell was an invited guest to World Forum under the auspices of Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Founder of MENTOR USA. And in 2012 received The Marcus Garvey Bridge Builder Award.

Rowell has affiliations with Princeton University/Advisory Board of African American Studies, Wheelock College, University of Southern Maine, American Ballet Theatre, National Urban League, Writer’s Guild of America, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Finally, no great American true story would be complete without the possibility of it becoming a feature film or television series. Victoria has been in talks with entertainment giants to turn her York Times Bestselling memoir in to a big and small screen project. As well, Victoria has a two book, novel series deal with Simon & Schuster /ATRIA, which has received Editor’s Choice from Ebony Magazine, Essence Book Pick, with favorable reviews by Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

To book Victoria for lectures, her topics include arts, community, women’s health/mental health issues, philanthropy, education, child welfare, entrepreneurship.

Victoria resides between Los Angeles and Atlanta and has two children.

From the Page to the Screen

From Page to Screen: Adapting Books Into Screenplays is designed offer tips to aspiring and established writers on how to transform novels, non-fiction books and articles into scripts for television and feature films. With the insider’s point-of-view of experienced authors and screenplay writers, attendees will also receive practical advice on successfully navigating – and surviving – the Hollywood development labyrinth.

Black Love is Forever

Prominent single, married and divorced African-Americans lead a community discussion on how more of us can find sustainable, healthy partnerships in our love lives.