Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye is an internationally acclaimed singer actress, and playwright of the multi-award-winning one-woman play, “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story.” Her Swahili name means Mzuri (beautiful) Moyo (heart) Aimbaye (who sings). Her talents combine the presence of a movie star with a booming vocal range and versatility of an opera singer. Ms. Aimbaye has been enthusiastically received on cabaret and concert stages both nationally and internationally. She has lived and performed in Paris, France and Rome, Italy.
Upon her return from Europe, Aimbaye trained as an actress at HB Studio in New York City where she performed in small productions in the NY/NJ area. Ever mindful of the importance and power of culturally sensitive stories, she was later cast as Lucy in the first film depicting an African American slave revolt, Sankofa.
Mzuri continued to search for material and projects in which she could invest and share her multi-talented artistic gifts. In 1998, she happened upon a television interview of Fannie Lou Hamer, the mother of voting rights for African Americans, which aired on the program “Like It Is.” Ms. Aimbaye was struck by the realization she had never heard of Mrs. Hamer. Her incredible story was mesmerizing as well as the display of her kindness and forgiveness. Mrs. Hamer described voter registration inequities and brutal jailhouse beatings without showing any signs of anger or bitterness. Mrs. Hamer’s uncanny display of courage and compassion inspired Ms. Aimbaye to conceive the powerful one-woman play, “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story.“ When she dons her wig and ankle-length dress…Ms. Aimbaye channels Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer and takes the audience on a riveting 90-minute journey. The storytelling is integrated with 12 power songs coupled with a video montage. The play is an attempt to raise awareness about Mrs. Hamer’s activism whose efforts led to the passage of the Voter’s Rights Act of 1965.
In January 2020, Ms. Aimbaye celebrated her 19th anniversary resurrecting the indomitable spirit of Fannie Lou Hamer. She endeavors to close out each performance with the official announcement of THE FANNIE LOU HAMER VOTER REGISTRATION DAY. The play is speckled with uplifting music from the 1960’s movement, and it is said that Mzuri speaks with the power of a warrior and the voice of an angel when she sings. Audiences become transfixed in the 1960s-civil rights struggle, experiencing the emotional highs, lows, twists and turns of the courageous spirit and determination of Mrs. Hamer. Ms. Aimbaye travels the country with her signature performance in theaters, churches, high schools, colleges, universities, and civic organizations.