Ekiuwa Asemota, BA, '04
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I had an enriched learning experience at Hofstra with many great classes. My favorite class was graphic design, and my favorite professor was Dyane Harvey Salaam. She is an amazing and powerful dance professor and a renowned choreographer. I enjoyed her class because she taught with passion and made students feel powerful and confident.
My fondest memory was in art class during 9/11. We were drawing live nude models when the towers were hit. I remember leaving class and walking over the Unispan to see on the television the planes crashing into the towers. I thought to myself: my Lord, we were just creating art; how is this happening?
- What was your first job after graduating Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My favorite job after graduating from Hofstra was working with my sister and her company, The Gift Agency, LLC [a talent and service management company], where I served as creative director and image consultant. This was a great opportunity to work with people in the fashion and entertainment industries. I learned a variety of skills such as costume design, wardrobe styling and artist management. It was a great step in my entrepreneurial career in the fashion and performing arts world.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I would say that my field of specialty is in performing arts and fashion, with an emphasis on peace, love and joy in all I do. I came to work in these industries because I've always known that I had a gift, and I ask God to order my steps daily to do my work well – with the continued support of family and friends.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
I would advise Hofstra students to follow their dreams, however big or small they are, trust the process, take it one day at a time, and always think positive.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- What is the single most rewarding/exciting experience in your career thus far?
Receiving the Estabrook Distinguished Service Award last month at Hofstra University.
- What did you gain or learn from your experiences at Hofstra that helped you achieve all that you have accomplished so far in your career?
I gained and learned knowledge and support that has kept me focused on my journey. One can do much but with a village can move mountains.
- What aspects of African culture and dance do you hope to pass on to those who come to Eki’s Famous and Your Queens?
With Eki's Famous, to know that we can pursue our dreams through movement and self-esteem building. With Your Queens, to know that our lineage is rich, and it did not start from slavery, as we have been taught. With so much going on in the world right now, it vital that our African communities and culture are enlightened by positive images and truthful knowledge of our royal lineage. We came from kings and queens.
Ekiuwa (pronounced "Eh-Key-Wa") Asemota was born in the Bronx of parents from Nigeria and the Dominican Republic. She was raised in Africa for seven years, and there she developed a well-rounded love for culture and humanity. When Ms. Asemota and her family returned to New York, she attended P.S./I.S. 308 (a school for gifted and talented children), where she studied African dance. African dance opened up a creative and grounded adaption of a different style of movement that Ms. Asemota enjoyed, thus allowing her to start her career in the arts at the early age of 9. During her time at I.S. 308, she became a member of the Kashani Shelly Japhia Africa Malesha Melanie (KS JAMM) Dance Troupe, where she was taught jazz, modern, tap, liturgical and hip-hop dance.
Ms. Asemota continued to pursue her passion and expression in dance at John Dewey High School, where she worked with John Goring, Eleo Pomare and Eddie Morales. Studying ballet, jazz, hip-hop and modern dance, she recognized dance as one of her gifts, through which she was able to transfer all her emotions into the movement of her body. Her experience at John Dewey High School, which she noted as “challenging because her teachers were very strict,” made her into the vibrant, passionate and ambitious artist she is now.
After graduating from John Dewey High School, she went on to attend Hofstra University. While at Hofstra, Ms. Asemota was a student leader and active participant in various organizations and performance shows. She was an active member and subsequent president of Imani Dance Ensemble. Also, she became a member of the Xi Gamma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Ms. Asemota majored in fine arts with a minor in dance. Upon graduating from Hofstra University in 2004, Ms. Asemota interned at Rocawear, a clothing company, and later became the fashion editor at YRB magazine.
In 2006 Ms. Asemota took a break from fashion and taught her first dance class at Acorn Community High School in Brooklyn, New York. After a few classes, it was evident that it was time to give, learn, inspire and be inspired while teaching. In 2007 she launched her first business – Eki's Famous – to promote “one-of-a-kind jewelry.” While continuing her jewelry line, Ms. Asemota was promoted to head after-school coordinator at Acorn Community High School.
In 2009 Ms. Asemota was offered a position as a teaching artist with the Center for Arts and Education (CAE). Through the CAE, she was trained to teach any age group from different cultures and backgrounds – which inspired her to launch the performing arts division within Eki’s Famous in 2010. This new division included fusion-based dance classes for toddlers to adults.
To date, Eki’s Famous has provided services around the world at various organizations, churches, schools and orphanages, and has donated clothes, books and other items to those in need. Since 2011, Eki's Famous has taught dance at the Jesus Evangelical Assembly Church in Ikeja, Nigeria, and donated books and clothing to the Itedo Primary School and a local orphanage in Nigeria. Ekiuwa has taught dance at Los Clavelines School in Santo Domingo and donated to La Fundacion de Cristo, an orphanage in Boca Chica.
In her local community of the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, Ms. Asemota is a designer, teaching artist, performer, artistic director for the Ron Brown Dance Ensemble, choreographer for New York City (NYC) Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Liturgical Dancers, dance teacher at Brown Memorial Baptist Church’s after-school program, choreographer for Ark of Praise Dance Ministry at Concord Baptist Church, and head choreographer of Eki’s Famous.
Always eager for future endeavors, in January 2015 Ms. Asemota founded and serves as creative director of Your Queens, a costume character company that teaches the historic legacy of African queens through storytelling, song and dance.