Mama Amma Oloriwaa! Bernard

[Mama Amma Oloriwaa Bernard, 2022]
Photographer: Tony Turner
BAM Affiliation Iyalorisa Amma Oloriwaa! is a proud Brooklyn native, artist, activist, teacher, and lecturer. She is an esteemed member of Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Dance Africa’s Council of Elders. As a member of The Interfaith Center of NY, she represents religions and culture of the African diaspora.

A visionary who is the founder of Egbe Iwa, Inc (Society of Character) Rites of Passage Program which has mentored youth of color since 2002. She’s one of five recognized African American Apons (singers of traditional African religious music) in the world, also an apprentice Oba Oriate (leader of religious ceremony), a position not held by women for centuries.

Iya is a published author, and designer of Brooklyn SkaRunch Hats. She is a founding member of the Omo Obatala Egbe, Inc, and of the Ijo Orisa Yoruba Church, and served as vice admin of Oloshas United NY. Iya, along with her children created the annual Ibaye-In Memoriam Tribute to honor deceased members of traditional communities.

She’s received awards and commendations for her work and considers it a blessing to be of service. Iya Oloriwaa! invites you to please visit the Rites of Passage Egbe’s web site at