On May 12th, 2021 Marianne Harkless Diabate passed away suddenly due to complications from treatment for lymphoma. Due to the sudden nature of her death, we are asking for help with Celebration of Life service expenses and for her beloved company, Benkadi Drum and Dance. A celebration of Marianne's life will take place this summer.
I believe that moving to rhythm integrates mind, body, and spirit and keeps us centered. Every culture has rhythm and dance. It is an essential part of human existence.
—Marianne Harkless Diabate
Marianne Harkless Diabate was an educator, a visionary, and dancer. She believed that anyone can, and everyone should, dance!
Marianne was the most can-do person you ever met. Her optimism was boundless. She thought of others before herself and worked for the greater benefit not for her personal glory. Not a saint, just the kind of person who makes a difference in the world—she was a down sister, she made the best potato salad you ever tasted, she loved to throw parties, she was a fighter, she had endless energy to get things done, she respected the truth and keeping her word, and she was a tireless advocate for dance. Her death leaves a gap a mile wide in the Boston and national Black Dance community that is sorely felt.
Marianne leaves behind a loving husband, family, so many friends and students, and a huge hole in our hearts. Marianne Harkless Diabate, you were a warrior for so long. It’s time to rest.