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Naanana Camille Yarbrough has a remarkable career in theater, film, dance, music and publishing. As a writer, she has published numerous essays and poems over the span of her 40-year career. As an award-winning children’s book author, she has published four books: Cornrows (1979), The Shimmershine Queens (1989), Tamika and the Wisdom Rings (1994) and The Little Tree Growin’in the Shade (1996). The Chicago native is an acclaimed recording artist as well. In 1975, she released The Iron Pot Cooker, a spoken word album that received stellar reviews. In 2000, one of the songs from that album (Take Yo' Praise) was covered by a British DJ Fatboy Slim. The international hit went on to be featured in commercials, movies, and television shows. In 2002, Yarbrough formed Ancestor House Productions and debuted a “song, story, music, dance” stage presentation by the same name. Her latest CD, also titled Ancestor House, was recorded live at Joe’s Pub in New York City in 2004 to rave reviews. Today, Nana Camille lives in Harlem and continues to write, teach, lecture, and perform all over the country.


Kathe Sandler is a Guggenheim award-winning independent filmmaker whose work includes A QUESTION OF COLOR--concerning attitudes about skin color, hair texture and facial features in African American communities; REMEMBERING THELMA--on the late dancer, teacher and mentor Thelma Hill, THE FRIENDS--based on Rosa Guy's classic coming of age novel by the same name, and the forthcoming WHEN AND WHERE WE ENTER: STORIES OF BLACK FEMINISM.  Sandler, who is completing a master's degree in Africana Studies at New York University this Spring will become a Ph.D. candidate in Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers/New Brunswick this fall.


Farah Jasmine Griffin is William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies and Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University in the City of New York.   She is the author of Who Set You Flowin':  The African American Migration Narrative (Oxford University Press, 1995), Beloved Sisters and Loving Friends:  Letters from Rebecca Primus of Royal Oak, Maryland and Addie Brown of Hartford, Connecticut 1854-1868 (Knopf, 1999),  If You Can't Be Free, Be A Mystery:  In Search of Billie    Holiday (Free Press, 2001) and Clawing at the Limits of Cool:  Miles  Davis, John Coltrane and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever, written with Salim Washington (Thomas Dunne Press, 2008) Her essays and articles on fashion, politics, literature and music have appeared in The New York  Times, The Guardian, Harper's Bazaar, Art Forum, Callaloo and African American  Review.    She is also a frequent commentator and blogger for NPR A widely sought-after speaker, Professor Griffin addresses a wide range of audiences. She has presented academic papers and given lectures throughout the United States and in  Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.


Majora Carter simultaneously addresses public health, poverty alleviation, and climate change as one of the nation’s pioneers in successful green-collar job training and placement systems. She founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 to achieve environmental justice through economically sustainable projects informed by community needs. Her work has garnered numerous awards and accolades including a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, one of Essence Magazine’s 25 Most Influential African-Americans in 2007, and one of the NY Post’s Most Influential NYC Women for the past two years. She is a board member of the Widerness Society, and hosts a special national public radio series called “The Promised Land” (thepromisedland.org). Her work now includes advising cities, foundations, universities, businesses, and communities around the world on unlocking their green-collar economic potential to benefit everyone as President of the Majora Carter Group, LLC.


Michaela Angela Davis has explored the power and beauty of urban style, women’s politics and hip-hop culture for over 15 years. As assistant fashion editor at ESSENCE magazine in 1991, her first assignment was styling Anita Hill. Next stop: the launch of Vibe. She’d soon she’d lend her unique taste and image-making prowess to Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Prince, Diana Ross, Donald Trump, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Pink and others, and to magazines such as EW and Vanity Fair. Her fashion and culture commentary appeared in Everything But The Burden: what white people are taking from black culture, and she authored Beloved Baby, a scrapbook and journal for alternative families. 

Our sister was fashion director and editor-in-chief of Honey, executive fashion and beauty editor at ESSENCE andspokeswoman for the groundbreaking “TAKE BACK THE MUSIC” multi-media campaign to bring awareness to the hyper-sexualized representation and lyrical disrespect of young women of color in mainstream media. Davis hosted a session at the 2005 Congressional Black Caucus and spoke at the first Young Feminist Summit as part of N.O.W.’s 50th anniversary. She has taken on both Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and appeared several times on CNN.  BBC, MTV, VH1 and BET. In 2006 and 2007, Davis co-produced the Essence Music Festival’s Empowerment Seminar Series and served as a speaker and/or moderator on the panels, “Who You Calling a Ho? (2006) and, “Sisters Take Issue with Our Images” (2007) to record audiences.

Michaela has been a style expert on Metro TV, WE, and E!, hosted and co-produced The Rogue Fashion Report.She is currently producing a documentary and developing an “Urbanista” TV show. Michaela serves on the board of Black Girls Rock!, ImageNation and The Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School. Born in Germany and raised in D.C., she studied acting at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts as a National Arts Scholar, at NYU, Stella Adler Acting Conservatory, and at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. She currently and proudly resides in Brooklyn with her teenage “Urbanista” daughter Elenni.


asha bandele is a journalist and the author of four books including the award-winning memoir, The Prisoner’s Wife (currently being adapted).  From 1999-2004 she was features editor at Essence Magazine, and since 2001 she has co-produced the seminars at the Essence Music Festival.  Last year she scripted a PSA (Jac Benson, director) for use at the Festival that starred such notables as Oprah Winfrey and P. Diddy among numerous others.

asha’s work has been included in a wide range of literary anthologies, she’s been the recipient of the Black Issues Books Review Best Urban Fiction award (2003) and the Columbia University Revson Fellowship (2004-2005). She was a finalist for the Zora Neale Hurston / Richard Wright Legacy award (2004) for fiction. 

In the course of her career asha has interviewed a wide range of people, from Winnie Madikizela Mandela to Mary J. Blige, Kofi Annan to Denzel Washington.  She’s covered a variety of news stories including police shootings, men living on the “down low” and its impact on their wives and children.  She traveled to Cuba for an article on the day-to-day reality of Black women in Cuba. She’s written for Essence, The New York Times, Family Circle, Vibe, the Source, Heart and Soul and Real Health among other publications. Her work has been profiled or covered in The Washington Post, O, the Oprah Magazine, Vibe, the Source, Essence, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune (cover story).  She’s been a featured national interview on Oprah, the WE network, 20/20, the Oxygen Network and CNN, most recently with Anderson Cooper.  She frequently appears on local television and radio in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. She is represented by Victoria Sanders and Associates (New York, New York).


Phyllis Yvonne Stickney’s commitment to excellence spans her professional life and is exemplified in her community activism. While embracing Harlem as her second home, she helped save her historic 52-unit building from greedy developers, shut down two crack houses and led the building from City to tenant management, and ultimately to tenant ownership. Ms. Stickney developed Alternative Careers in the Arts, an entertainment industry training program for youth at risk. She’s active in improving the well-being of generations to come through her work with the Harlem Birth Action Committee. She developed a program to help women and girls develop basic living skills and transition from group homes and incarceration to independent living.

Ms. Stickney joins the few who have been bestowed the title of African Centered Scholar and she’s received numerous other awards and accolades including Professional Women of Color’s Phenomenal Woman of the Year, African Voices Magazine’s Ellie Charles Artist Award and the 2006 African Jewel Award.

As an author Ms. Stickney’s theatrical work entitled “Big Momma and Nem” is included in the anthology entitled “Black Comedy: 9 Plays.”  Most recently she published “Loud Thoughts for Quiet Moments,” a collection of  poetry and personal perspectives.  She has two books ready for publication and a one woman play, P.S. I’m Still Standing…ready for production.

Ms. Stickney is internationally known for her work in films such as New Jack City, Malcolm X, What’s Love Got to Do With It?, The Inkwell, and How Stella Got Her Groove Back among others. She’s one of the most recognized faces in the industry, having worked as well in television and on stage. Nevertheless, her commitment to making a positive difference is what brought Ms. Stickney to be chosen in the Essence Magazine 25th Anniversary issue as “One of the 200 African American Women Who Has Changed the World.” On the horizon for this dynamic sister is her own clothing line called ButterBaby, influenced by the styles of the 40’s and 50’s.


Mireille Liong grew up in Suriname, South America , majored in Computer Science in the Netherlands, then left the city of Amsterdam for the city of Brooklyn, New York in 2002. Bad experiences with hair-straightening chemicals inspired her to explore natural hairstyle options. When she realized how common a problem hair breakage was in the Black community, Liong wrote the first Dutch book about Natural Hair Care. One year after a successful debut in Amsterdam, Liong published Going Natural, How to Fall in Love with Nappy Hair in the United States. The paperback now lists at no. 1 on Amazon’s list of natural-hair-care books.
Inspired to take Natural hair to the next level and spread the message of natural beauty, Liong developed going-natural.com and kroeshaar.com. Besides hosting these fast-growing natural-hair sites, she also organized an “America’s Next Natural Model” as well as an exhibit that features natural hairstyles.

For information about Liong’s work and products, contact:
http://going-natural.com and info@going-natural.com.  


Dominique Morisseau is an Actress/Writer with numerous credits, including her favorites:  MCC Theater’s Fresh Play Festival (Playwright’s Horizons), Candace in Remembrance (Women’s Project), Unspeakable (SoHo Playhouse), The Bridge Party (with Ruby Dee), and Prix in Breath, Boom (MCC Theater). Author of two NAACP Image Award-winning plays, an honoree for the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, and a Wendy Wasserstein Prize nominee, Dominique is currently a resident actor at Creative Arts Team, Inc. 


Fatima Friday began dancing when she was just seven years old. Her training originated at the Deeper Light Institute of African Dance and Drumming. Ms. Friday continued training in Jazz and Modern and began teaching while at Texas A&M University.

Today, dynamic energy and a passion for musical rhythms inspire Fatima to choreograph and teach an eclectic fusion of Modern, Hip Hop, Jazz and West African Dance Movement. In addition to her eight years as a professional dance instructor, Ms. Friday received her Masters in Secondary Education from Pace University and is a proud High School Biology teacher in her home borough of Brooklyn.

Fatima is also an extraordinary entrepreneur, specializing in the fields of science research, performing arts and writing.


Julia Chance is a journalist and author based in Brooklyn, N.Y. She is currently the Beauty and Fashion Editor for Heart & Soul magazine and a contributing culture reporter for WNYC Radio. Her photo essay book, “Sisterfriends: Portraits of Sisterly Love” (Pocket Books) explores sisterly relationships between black women who are either biologically related or friends. In addition she is the co-author of Fine Beauty, a how-to makeup guide by celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine, and served as editorial coordinator and essayist for Men of Color: Fashion, History and Fundamentals by style expert Lloyd Boston.

M’ten Halsey is Brooklyn-born and rooted in African-centered thinking. A percussionist and spoken word artist, M’ten is a product of an upstanding and talented family. He’s been drumming since he was five years old and has traveled around the world spreading his cultural message with his spirited drum rhythms and powerful lyrics. He has performed in London, the Bahamas and throughout the United States and with companies such as Asase Ya Drum and Dance Troupe and Bennu Ausar Dancers and Drummers.  M’ten has taught in many settings for private students and large classes including the Ausar Auset School in Brooklyn and the Gloria Eve Performing Arts Foundation. His goals are “to preserve African-American culture through music and to promote cultural awareness because it seems people forget or don’t know our roots and how powerful we are.”
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