A collective of dope and brilliant people who commit to curate and create major stories and discussions. They work in a diverse range of industries, and are located in different parts of the world.
Kaia Niambi Shivers, Founder/ Editor-in-Chieftess
A professor at New York University who specializes in writing and media studies. By day she researchers how people of the African diaspora use media to imagine, construct and perform identity. At night, she turns into the first arkitect, crafting stories with the Ark Republic collective. From news to features, she covers a wide range of stories. For over 20 years, Shivers has worked in media.
Amara Brown, Health & Wellness and Motherhood
A mother, wife and career woman with studies in biology, Amara Brown takes health and wellness seriously. She is the queen of positive attitudes, but is fierce when following social justice issues.
Monica Brown, Immigration, UK, Caribbean & African Diaspora
Monica D. Brown is a UK-based teaching fellow, media specialist, poet and training consultant. Studying in the UK and Paris, she is the first producer of the longest running TV programs, Hill an’ Gully Ride, which is still on the air. Selected by the BBC in 2007, to explore her family history took her to Zanzibar and Tanzania, which is chronicled in her book, Journey to Zanzibar. Currently, she teaches media production and English and also operates as a consultant.
Nicole Bovell, Education
Nicole Bovell is a longtime advocate of the special education community. She is the author of The Journey of Special Education and How to Have a Great School Year, informational resources to help special needs parents with the special education process. Nicole has her Masters of Arts in Special Education, an Educational Specialist degree in Teaching and Learning and over fifteen years of experience teaching and working with students who have a variety of disabilities. Nicole believes that early intervention is the key to helping children succeed and is passionate about educating young children.
Tasha Curtis, Webisode, TV & Video editing
An editor on some of reality TV’s popular shows, her love is editing experimental, VR and experimental and feature films. A native Los Angeleno, Tasha Curtis started as a writer then quickly moved to her love for movies. She has a precise eye for great cuts and all things beautiful. She commits to ensuring that people of color are represented in their beautiful hues.
Lisa Durden, Podcast, TV, Film & Panels
As a sought after television personality, pop culture commentator, producer, content creator, celebrity blogger and motivational speaker, Lisa Durden, was born and reared in Newark, NJ. Involved in a number of media initiatives in-and-around New Jersey, she is also a strong fixture in her community. Holding such positions as Vice Chair of Membership for Diversity Newark, formerly a New Jersey based organization that helped to bring diverse groups of people together in Newark and the surrounding cities. Since 1994, she has mentored inner city youth.
Gabrielle Lenhard, Arts & Culture, News & Science
A freelance filmmaker and writer based out of Brooklyn, she has written for news blogs like Vast.com and Ditmas Park Corner as well as SAT passages on art and science for educational publishing. Creatively, she has completed narrative episodes for the podcast Desperate Nightmares from Christ The King, M.O, and staged readings of several of her full-length plays at Dixon Place Theatre. With a BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she is a storyteller at heart. Gabrielle continues to write, direct, produce, and edit experimental short films under the name Rude Ink.
Daniel Jackson aka Embassy, Podcast, Arts & Culture, Entertainment, TV & Film
A freelance videographer, photographer and owner of Embassy: Interactive, LLC. Some of his work has been printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer and viewed on TV networks such as VH1 and ESPN, clothing designer Christian Louboutin’s Instagram account, the Blackstar Film Festival, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, and websites including HBO.com, Yahoo! Sports, All Def Digital, SoulTrain.com, Okayplayer.com and Philly.com
Matito Ki’Abayomi, Travel & Lifestyle
By day he drives trucks, by night he is a Los Angeles socialite who knows every nook and cranny of the City of Angels. He prefers to capture the essence of the city in his traipses in underground social clubs, eateries and cultural activities. Hands down, he is a Los Angeles aficionado. An almost alumnus of Tuskegee University and Southern University, he loves his HBCUs and the South, where you will find him too. He is the owner of Stone’s Juke Joint and has recently started giving Stone Tours LA tours to those who want the real experience in a city that often is seen as glitz, glamor and silicon.
Cassandra Loftlin, Foodways, Culinary Traditions & Culture
This chef travels around the world digging into sumptuous dishes. She is part Edna Lewis, part Zora Neal Hurston who island hops and country jumps most of the year. In 2007, she made the radical shift to leave her doctoral studies in anthropology and Africana Women Studies to learn the world through her Augusta, Georgia palate. After graduating from the Cordon Bleu, she carved out a career that fuses her interests in culture, wellness and food.
Charlie Moss, Pop Culture & Masculinity
A freelance writer based in Chattanooga, Tennessee with bylines in The Atlantic, Slate, Washington Post, VICE, MOJO Magazine and other publications. He started off in the pop culture journalism in 2007 writing features on music and movies, eventually moving into a staff position as a comic book reviewer until 2011. He went on to become the weekly pop culture columnist and continues to write about all facets of pop culture, from comic books and music to literature and movies.
Donavan Ramon, Race & Ethnicity and Fatherhood
An Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at Kentucky State University. A specialist in African American Literature, he is a recipient of the 2018–19 Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Currently, he is editing a collection of journal articles to commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of Nella Larsen’s novella Passing, and is revising his book manuscript on the psychoanalysis of racial passing. Each year, he conducts a summer institute at his undergraduate alma mater, Hunter College, where he trains Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows for graduate study in the humanities.
Duane Reed, Markets & Real Estate
A small business owner in business, Duane Reed has been a stylist for over two decades. While in a shop as a young barber in the 1990s, he saw a veteran stylist playing with stocks on his laptop. Intrigued, learned stocks from his coworker then began to study on his own. Since, he’s been trading in currency and stocks. Now he looks at everything for blockchain to Karat Bars, and has been dabbling in real estate.
Jennifer Wager, Latin America & Social Justice
A filmmaker, documentarian and communications professor, her film, “Dare to Dream,” is an award winning documentary about Cuba’s Latin American Medical School, the largest scholarship based medical school in the world. She also is a communications professor and director communications at an NJ college and is the director of film submissions for Newark International Film Festival.