Meet Storyteller J’miah Nabawi

Akwaaba-a-a!

Welcome to Storyteller J’miah Nabawi’s online references and performing arts resources for programming, product information, bookings and opportunities for community partnerships and collaborations.  Managed by The Elijah Agency, LLC. Thank you for visiting!

 

Making Masks and Faces. J’miah presents Mmoguo (Recreational Folktale-Songs) as musical storytelling interludes at the Savannah Music Festival.  Photo by John Zeuli Photography

 About Storyteller J’miah Nabawi

A native of Philadelphia, PA, J’miah Nabawi is an award-winning, multi-faceted storyteller whose storytelling career was inspired by the late celebrated Mandinka Griot (Djeli), Djimou Kouyate and National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS) co-founder, Ms. Linda Goss, the “Official Storyteller of Philadelphia” (PA). J’miah’s brand of upbeat storytelling reflect the story-dance-musical storytelling drama found in many parts of Africa and its Diaspora. J’miah also tells and adapt stories from around the world. Through his presentations, he has often served as Cultural Ambassador (City of Miami Cultural Affairs), Music Education Program Host (Savannah Music Festival) and Parent Engagement Facilitator (Annie E. Casey Foundation) at various venues presenting culturally entertaining, family-friendly, children’s programs and educational workshops. J’miah has shared his brand of high-spirited storytelling across the U.S. and Mexico in schools; art, history and science museums; colleges; and universities. Bilingual in Spanish and a polyglot of sorts, J’miah is known to incorporate story-specific phrases, greetings, songs and text in Japanese; Yoruba; Gullah; French; Russian; Ukrainian; Twi; Ki-Swahili; Korean; Chinese; and Vietnamese as a form of inclusion and to make deeper connections with  immigrant communities, children and families whose mother-tongue may be other than English. 

During his career, J’miah has often used his talent and name as a public figure to bring community awareness to social causes and services for the benefit of children, uninsured women and families; drug intervention; teen motivation; the homeless; elder-care; immigrant communities; and support for our military veterans and their families. Under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), J’miah has appeared on the concert stage for regional and nationally recognized international festivals and events with concert pianists, professional Chamber Music ensembles, Jazz ensembles and University Mass Choirs. Ask J’miah what has been his most challenging and inspirational work outside of his usual storytelling programming and he will tell you: “Preparing my narration and rehearsing with a professional concert musicians that include a chamber ensemble of strings and oboe for Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Jean de Drunhoff’s text for Francis Poulenc’s Babar the Baby Elephant. Exhilarating!” 

  J’miah’s primary mentors in the art and presentation of performance storytelling have been the late Oscar Brown, Jr. (OBJ) and Linda Goss, The Official Storyteller of Philadelphia (PA). As an actor, J’miah was first introduced to performing professional public theater by Tony Award winning American Playwright and Director of Theater and Film, George C. Wolfe.  He has also taken on lead voice-acting roles for national radio plays written and directed by J. Rufus Caleb (Benny’s Place). A writer of fictional stories, J’miah has an original work and adaptations in Simon and Schuster’s TALK THAT TALK: An Anthology of African American Storytelling, Edited by Linda Goss and Marion Barnes (1989) and on Bantam Double Day Books’ book-cassette, The Baby Leopard, by Linda Goss (1989).  J’miah’s books can be found on AMAZON’s global markets and are available through Barnes & Noble.

 

Committed to Serving Others

Throughout his career, J’miah has used his talents to promote and encourage the publishing of traditional folktales and to present performance storytelling that encourages positive self-esteem and sensitivity to multicultural communities. He prioritizes helping children and teens, the disadvantaged and intercultural communication. J’miah is currently active as a roster traditional artist with Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) and with South Carolina Arts Commission’s (SCAC) as a teaching artist. His community endeavors: Helping the Homeless • Assisting the Elderly • Helping Individuals Stop Drug Use • Supporting Military Veterans • Supporting Immigrant Communities.

Citations, Recognitions and Awards

J’miah has received numerous recognitions and a Proclamation for  giving back to his community to the benefit of family audiences, children and immigrant communities in urban and rural settings. His work has not gone unnoticed as he has received citations, congratulatory and honors from various organizations, city officials, schools and state run agencies such as: Pennsylvania House of Representatives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania • Blue Mountain Schools District in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania • Miami-Dade City Council in Miami, Florida • Public recognition and appearances with Boston’s Mayor, the late Thomas Menino, as READ Boston’s Bookmobile inaugural “Storybook Man” and storyteller.

J’miah is an esteemed recipient of the “ORACLE Award for Outstanding Service and Leadership, Southeast Region, for the contributions he’s made to his community through storytelling,” awarded by the National Storytelling Network (NSN) of Jonesborough, TN.

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“Mr. Nabawi is one of Savannah’s most visible and favored storytellers. He has been the community’s choice for various festivities, with no barriers on race, ethnicity, or age. Whether it is through the Live Oak Public Libraries, The Telfair Museum, local churches, schools, universities, the leadership and service that he continues to provide through his profession is legendary here amongst Savannahians.”

Dr. Otis S. Johnson, Former Mayor of Savannah, GA

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Learning is Understanding. We know that you have done this today, not for yourself, but for the ultimate good of our children and the betterment of their lives.  We fully realize that it will take work and dedication but we are willing to accept the task gladly.  We start with faith in ourselves, faith in our children and with a firm hope in what will come tomorrow.  I know I speak for everyone here when I thank Mr. Nabawi for sharing his expertise and his insights with us. I know that I have profited from being here, and in the name of us all, I thank you for caring enough to come.”

Sarah E. Boyd, Principal, Williamsburg County Magnet School of the Arts, Kingstree, SC

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“The students at Jasper Elementary love J’miah. (The teachers at our school find him to be a full partner in curricular planning and implementation of lessons and units.) J’miah can tell stories, write and direct plays that are performed school-wide, teach small groups and make children laugh and smile. If he had a cape, he could fly . . . at least the children think so.”

Dr. Kathleen Thompson, Retired Arts Educator/Former Director of Cultural Projects, Georgia Council for the Arts

 

 

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“Tuna taka maji sasa! We want water, now!” A Kenyan folktale unfolds during one of Nabawi’s impromptu storytelling ensembles.

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“J’miah’s work passes on tradition, teaches language and helps develop a love for storytelling. His Why Spiders Hide in Corners (Anansi Makes It So!) is a lively appealing book and consistent with who he really is.” ~ Judy Strong, Retired Youth Services Coordinator, Live Oak Public Libraries, Savannah, GA

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For School Visits, Artist Residencies, Community Events and Collaborations
Email:  TallTales@jmiahnabawi.com
"I just love how J'miah gets all of us to 'play' with our voices and faces and just get silly as adults. This really does help to bring the storybook alive and more fun at family gatherinds." ~ Julia Vargas
“I just love how J’miah gets all of us to ‘play’ with our voices and faces and just get silly as adults. This really does help to bring the storybook alive and more fun at family gatherinds.” ~ Julia Vargas
 
 

 

 

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