Better late than never, the saying goes — pun intended. The City council of Philadelphia and The Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs posthumously honored Liberia cultural icon Tokay Tomah as a “Peace Builder” in her adopted home of the City of Philadelphia and in her Native Country of Liberia by championing her artistic gifts and talents in addressing positive social change poignant women and immigrants communities.
The recognition came through Black History Month on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 when the City Council of Philadelphia/The Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs presented an Official Citation to Tokay Tomah’s Daughter’s Jamah Ndoma. Philadelphia City Council woman Jamie Blackwell who presented the City Council of Philadelphia Citation said that the Late Tokay Tomah who left this world on November 13, 2017 was a fabulous accomplished traditional singer and a composer, and recording artist from Nimba County, Liberia.
The City Council of Philadelphia Citation cited Tokay’s valuable role played in peace and reconciliation in Liberia’s Civil War while working for the United Nations (UNMIL) in Liberia. The Citation also lauded Tokay’s achievements, such as her 2002 Song used as a catalyst by the Liberia Peace Movement headed by Leymah Gbowee as a rally for peace in Liberia.
The late Tomah was a celebrated singer, composer, recording artist and cultural dancer, Tokay Tomah, who joined the Liberian National Troupe in the late 1970s.
Born in Buutuo, Nimba County in 1968, she was the last of six children and was therefore named Tokay, meaning ‘stay in the house,’ because she was her parents’ favorite. She was recruited as a teenager to join the Liberian National Troupe when former President William R. Tolbert and Director of Culture Peter Ballah visited her county on a tour and were impressed by her dancing.
Prior to going solo as a musical recording artist in 2002, Tokay Tomah served as a back-up singer to Liberia’s Cultural Icons like Fatu Gayflor, Zaye Tetee, Marie Nyenabo, and Nimba Bird.
Liberia’s Cultural Icon Tokay Tomah displayed her artistry in her adopted home in Philadelphia when she was awarded the 2013 Arts and Change Grant and the Arts Fellowship in 2016 respectively.
The Citation concluded the honors and recognition of Tokay Tomah as their proud adopted daughter who advocated for the powerless to social issues and social justice in a group called “Liberia Women Courage of Change” that dealt with domestic violence.