This study incorporates aerosol effects into satellite radiance calculations within the Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS) to investigate its impact on the analyses and forecasts of African easterly waves (AEWs). Analysis fields from the aerosol-aware assimilation experiment were compared to an aerosol-blind control during August 2017. The results showed that the aerosol-aware assimilation warmed the Saharan boundary layer, accelerated the African easterly jet, and modified the time-averaged AEWs by enhancing the northern track and reducing the southern track. The changes to the tracks are qualitatively consistent with arguments of baroclinic and barotropic instability. During the time period, we also examined two AEWs that developed hurricanes Gert and Harvey over the Atlantic but were structurally different over Africa; the AEW for Gert consisted of a southern vortex, while the AEW for Harvey consisted of a northern and southern vortex. Analysis differences of the cases showed stronger vorticity changes for the AEW that developed Harvey, which we attribute to the aerosol-aware assimilation capturing the radiative effects of a large-scale Saharan dust plume interacting with the northern vortex of the wave. Subsequent forecasts for the AEW cases using the Global Forecast System (GFS, v14) showed that the aerosol-aware assimilation reduced errors in the downstream vorticity structure for the AEW that developed Harvey; neutral improvement was found for the AEW that developed Gert. Thus, aerosol-affected radiances in the assimilation system have the ability to account for dust radiative effects on the analyzed AEWs, which, in turn, can improve the forecasting of AEWs downstream.