Dede Ayite Makes History

Dede Ayite Makes History as First Black Woman to Win Tony for Best Costume Design

Groundbreaking Moment in Theatrical Excellence

In a momentous occasion, Dede Ayite has etched her name in the annals of Broadway history, becoming the first Black woman to win the coveted Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Play.

Her triumph came for her exceptional work on the now-closed production of Jaja’s “African Hair Braiding,” a poignant play that navigated the intricate experiences of West African immigrant hair braiders in Harlem.

A Celebration of Diversity and Storytelling

As Ayite took to the stage to accept her well-deserved accolade, she expressed heartfelt gratitude to her family, including her brother cheering her on from Ghana, and her collaborators.

In a moving tribute, she acknowledged the playwright Jocelyn Bioh, who “wrote such a beautiful piece,” and extended her appreciation to the costume shops and makers, crediting them for their invaluable contributions to the show’s stunning visual impact.

“Without them, I would not be here, and the show would not look as amazing as it does,” Ayite graciously remarked, underscoring the collaborative nature of her craft.

A Beacon of Inspiration for Future Generations

In the Tony Awards pressroom, Ayite’s joy and humility shone through as she marveled at the significance of her history-making win.

“People like me that are just starting out and aren’t sure and are fearful and just don’t know what it’s going to take, and you don’t know how to find that step to take you forward,” she reflected, “so I’m just hopeful that this moment says, ‘Just keep at it.’”

Her words resonated as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring designers and storytellers, encouraging them to persevere and embrace the narratives that hold profound meaning for them.

“Tell the stories that matter to you, tell the story that you find value in, and the moment will meet you. That’s what’s happening for me right now,” Ayite affirmed.

A Triumph for the Collective Community

Ayite’s triumph extended beyond personal glory, as she graciously acknowledged the collective effort and support that paved her path to success.

“It’s not just about me, but we did it: the community that supports me, the community of people that love me each day and cheer me on,” she declared.

“For me, I just feel like it’s not just about me right now. It’s the community. It’s that we have done it together.”