Arla Scott

Arla Scott (Mama Janell) is Founder and Director of Taratibu Youth Association.

Mama Janell began her dance training during college studying Horton and Graham modern dance techniques. After graduation from the University of California at Davis, she became the Director of the Black Repertoire Dance Troupe of U.C. Davis. Once she relocated to Washington, D.C. she began dancing with the University of the District of Columbia and then joined the staff at the D.C. Youth Ensemble (DCYE) under the Direction of Carol Foster.

While working with DCYE Mama Janell studied Taratibu with Mama Afia Akoto of the Nationhouse Positive Action Center, Watoto Shule. In 1990, she started the DCYE Taratibu Drill Team and has since performed Taratibu nationwide as well as internationally in the Virgin Islands, Scotland, Tanzania, Ghana, Togo, and Benin. After 20 years of teaching and performing Taratibu with DCYE, Mama Janell started the Taratibu Youth Association in August of 2007.

Naima Hylton

Naima Hylton is Founder and Co-Director of Taratibu Youth Association. Naima began dancing at Suto Dance Studio, Hyattsville, MD. After a few years with Suto, she quickly joined the D.C. Youth Ensemble (DCYE), founded and directed by Carol Foster; where she studied ballet, Horton modern dance, tap, and Taratibu. As a student of DCYE, she was afforded the opportunity to learn the basics and choreography of Taratibu under the direction of “Mama Janell” and was part of the first DCYE Taratibu Pan African Drill team. She has performed Taratibu locally as well as nationally from 1990 – 1995.

Soon after graduating high school, she began teaching Taratibu in the D.C. public schools and for the D.C. Department of Recreation. She assisted in the development of and participated in 7 annual Harambee’s (a Taratibu conference developed by Mama Janell and hosted by DCYE) where 15 – 20 Taratibu teams/organizations from the greater Washington metropolitan area as well as Pennsylvania and California celebrated and promoted Taratibu. The conferences included workshops and master classes on African and African American history, dance, culture and arts.

Naima developed and mastered the technical side of the arts. She learned and later worked as the Technical Director for DCYE several years as well as with other artistic organizations. Naima’s strong organizational skills led her to serve as DCYE’s Studio Manager for several years managing the daily operations of the organization, scheduling performances and serving as the liaison to parents and students. She also served as the“Acting Director” of DCYE while Mrs. Foster was on hiatus; having complete oversight responsibility for the organization.

Naima, a founding officer and Co-Director of the Taratibu Youth Association, brings her wealth of talent, organizational and technical skills, as well as love for the arts to full use while playing an essential role in the development of this organization and the mentoring and support of our dancers.



Tararibu Youth Association's Board of Directors includes four officers and six members.

Arla Scott


Management Analyst, CSOSA

Naima Hylton

Vice President

Senior Sales Manager, Hilton Alexandria Mark Center

Andre Lucas

Chief Financial Officer

Director of Compliance, Maryland & District of Columbia Credit Union Association

Doris White

Financial Secretary<br>Poject Specialist, Tribal Tech, LLC

Maya Jones-Little

Board Member

Registered Nurse, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Jeffrey Little

Board Member

Electrician, Kolb Electric

Dr. Yanique M. Edmond

Board Member

Dr. Cheryl Lee Butler

Board Member

Cheryl Y. Lee, D.D.S., P.C.

Melanie Middleton

Board Member

Human Resource Specialist, Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Emesha James

Board Member and Parent Liaison

Community Supervision Officer, CSOSA



Melanie Middleton

Dance Instructor and Choreographer

Sonia Dawkins

Modern Dance Instructor and Choreographer

Janell Edgerly

Dance Instructor

Nehemiah Dixon

Art Department

Merinda Evans

African Dance Instructor and Choreographer