Amari Ajamu joined The Soulsville Charter School in the 6th grade in 2013 and has attended every year through 2020, his senior year. Dedicated to his academic work but also fascinated with drums since he was a toddler, Amari has also been a student of the Stax Music Academy, in addition to being a member of The Soulsville Charter School Band and the Nubian Theater Company. Now he has received a band scholarship to Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he will be a fourth generation Ajamu family student and performing in arguably the country’s most famous marching band.

It’s safe to say that The Soulsville Charter School and Stax Music Academy helped prepare Amari for this next phase of higher education, as did his dedicated family. About the charter school he says, “The teachers and the CAST counselors influenced me everyday to be diligent and they helped me with my admissions applications, scholarship applications, and FAFSA applications. I will truly miss the positive energy and the numerous opportunities the school has given me.”

Photo by Mark Webber, Daily Memphian©

Speaking of positive energy, the media has been writing about Amari and his family since before his three-month-early premature birth at 2 pounds, 9 ounces and shortly after he was born while he was still in the hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They were stories by David Waters in his Faith Matters column in The Commercial Appeal that told the story of his mother Veda’s and father Olori’s determination to have more children despite complications.

Now Mr. Waters, who writes for the Daily Memphian, has written about Amari and his family again. Not ones to let missing graduation, Decision Day, and prom because of coronavirus get them down, the family recently orchestrated a parade to celebrate his finishing high school and getting the scholarship to Grambling, complete with some 32 vehicles, balloons, Stax Music Academy music director Paul McKinney on trumpet, and other festivities.

The article also contains a YouTube video documentary Amari’s family made that includes footage of him as a toddler through today. Even if you don’t click on the article to read it in full, we urge you to watch this video and be amazed, just like we are. Congratulations, Amari!