April 2009

Ron & Natalie Daise

Actors, Educators and Writers

Ron and Natalie Daise are writers, actors, educators, and internationally-renowned TV performers. They have presented storytelling, music, history, and lectures about Gullah heritage, faith, and creativity at museums, theaters, conferences, and educational institutions across the country.

A native of St. Helena Island, SC, Ron is a graduate of Beaufort High School. He received a B.A. degree in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University, graduating with highest honors. Natalie was born in Rochester, NY, graduated from Pine Forge Academy, and received a B.A. degree in Writing from Vermont College. She says she felt as though she had come “home” when she arrived in Beaufort, SC in 1983 to visit relatives. The couple met soon afterward and began singing in a group performing original contemporary Christian music. Wed in 1985, the couple continued performing together, following a dream of modeling actors Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Their productions about Gullah heritage began after the publication of Ron’s first book, Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage, in 1986.

From 1994-1998, the husband-and-wife team starred in Nick Jr. TV’s award-winning “Gullah Gullah Island,” for which they also served as cultural consultants. The show was cited by TV Guide as on of the “10 best children’s shows” in 1996. They were nominees for two NAACP IMAGE Awards and a Daytime Emmy Award. Ron and Natalie are recipients of the 1996 South Carolina Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest honor, and the 1997 State of South Carolina Folk Heritage Award, given for lifetime achievement and excellence in folk art that has enriched the lives of the people in their community and state.

A storyteller and workshop facilitator, Natalie also has been a featured Design Expert on HGTV’s “County Living” show. She crafts commissioned Story Chairs, art, and furniture through Ms. Natalie’s Workshop and is Play Coach and Designer at Environments, Inc., in Beaufort, SC.

Ron, Vice President for Creative Education at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC, presents a weekly Gullah/Geechee Program Series and supervises the Education Department. He is a Commissioner with the Gullah/Geechee Cultural heritage Corridor and a recipient of the 2008 S.C. African American Heritage Commission’s “Lifetime Achievement” Award. Gullah Branches, West African Roots (Sandlapper Publishing, 2007) is his most recent publication. The couple and their children, Sara and Simeon, reside in Port Royal, SC.