Afi Scruggs is an experienced musician, songwriter and teaching artist. Her primary instrument is electric bass. She also plays keyboards, mandolin and balaphone, the West African ancestor of the xylophone.
She is the staff bassist for Progressive Evangelistic Baptist Church and also plays bass for the youth choir of Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, both in Cleveland. In addition to gospel, Afi plays blues and jazz.
Afi has been a teaching artist since 2004. She’s developed arts-integrated curriculum for subjects ranging from social studies to financial management. She conducts songwriting workshops for grades k-6, using the blues to teach history, music theory and literacy.
Since 2011, she’s helped middle- and high-school students write lyrics for the “Stop The Hate: Youth Sing Out” songwriting competition sponsored by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage and Roots of American Music. Three of her classes have won prizes totalling $7,500 for their respective schools.
Afi is also an award-winning author, columnist and reporter, whose work has been featured on NPR, The Plain Dealer and in national and international publications and news sites.