Ryann Richardson made history becoming the 50th Anniversary Miss Black America. Before that, the marketing executive-turned-tech founder spent 10 years building consumer brands for companies spanning from early-stage startups (Victor) to billion-dollar “unicorns” (Uber) to the Fortune500 (T-Mobile/Deutsche Telekom). Ryann is the youngest honoree on Savoy Magazine’s list of “Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America”.
Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico raised by Haitian-American parents has allowed Alexandra to shape her into the person she is today. With her siblings and herself being first generation American’s in her family, her parents always inspired them to always go above and beyond when it came to anything they put their heart and mind to. Alexandra is currently studying Psychology with a minor in Child Development at the University of New Mexico. While being a student Alexandra always stayed steadfast in pursuing her dreams and being involved within her community.
Seraiah Nicole is a performer, activist & founder of Seraiah Nicole Creations, LLC. Her debut album “The Truth Is” is a combination of poetry, hip-hop, and soulful vocals that speak truth to power. This creative & performing artist delivers vitalizing vocals, powerful poetry & passionate interactive performances; all while organizing & capturing Philadelphia’s Black arts community with Light Open Mic & Serai’s Eyes.
Brittany Lee Lewis. Miss Black America 2017, Miss Delaware 2014, Miss America 2015 contestant. A Ph.D. candidate specializing in African-American, urban, and U.S. 20th century history at George Washington University and professor of ethnic studies at Wilmington University, Brittany is a political commentator and host, appearing on networks ABC and RT News, amongst others.
India.Arie is an American singer/songwriter. She has sold over 3.3 million records in the US and 10 million worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards from her 23 nominations, including Best R&B Album. With her latest album “Worthy” as always, Arie advises others to love themselves unconditionally and embrace their imperfections.
Jully Black is a true Canadian Icon. Named as one of ‘The 25 Greatest Canadian Singers Ever’, (CBC Music) she has been dubbed ‘Canada’s Queen of R&B Soul’. As a platinum-selling recording artist, her music career has yielded multiple singles reaching the Top 10 pop, R&B, and dance music charts. She has taken home Juno and Gemini Awards, earned innumerable industry accolades, and was hand-selected to sing for the Queen of England. With her powerhouse vocals, hilarious personality, and love of people, Jully Black truly is every woman.
Rachel Anne Dolezal (born November 12, 1977), also known as Nkechi Amare Diallo, is an American former college instructor and activist known for her status as a self proclaimed Black woman but having been born to white parents. She is also a former National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) chapter president. Dolezal was president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington, from 2014 until June 2015, when she resigned in the midst of controversy over her racial identity.
By day, Amanda Parris is a television and radio host for the CBC and writes a weekly column on Black art and culture. By night, she writes stories for the stage and screen. In 2019, her play Other Side of the Game was awarded the Governor General Literary Award for Drama. In 2018 she joined Johanna Schneller as the co-host of The Filmmakers for a Canadian Screen Award winning second season dedicated to Canadian female filmmakers. In the same year she joined Tom Power as co-host of From the Vaults, a docu-series that used CBC archival footage to revive forgotten stories in music history. In 2020 Amanda launched Black Light, a weekly column for CBC Arts that showcases, explores and critically engages art and popular culture created by Black people.
Dr. Cheryl Thompson
Cheryl Thompsonis an assistant professor in the School of Creative Industries at Ryerson University. Her research focuses on histories of Black hair, racial performance, the critical study of media and advertising, and the intersections of gender, class, and power. Her work has appeared in Emergent Feminisms: Challenging a Post-Feminist Media Culture; the Journal of Canadian Studies; Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire, Feminist Media Studies; and Fashion Studies. Her books include Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture (Wilfrid Laurier Press, 2019) and Uncle: Race, Nostalgia and the Politics of Loyalty (Coach House Books, 2021).
Dr. Carolyn West
Dr. Carolyn M. West is an award-winning international speaker, domestic violence/sexual assault expert, cultural sensitivity trainer, expert witness, and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Washington. She has written more than 80 publications, including “Mammy, Sapphire, Jezebel, and the Bad Girls of Reality Television: Media Representations of Black women”. With more than three decades of experience, Dr. West is a nationally recognized scholar who investigates the psychological impact of media images on Black women. She is writer/producer of the upcoming documentary “Let Me Tell Ya’ll ‘Bout Black Chicks: Images of Black Women in Pornography,” a searing illustrated multimedia presentation that explores sexualized images of Black women in popular media.
Dr. Heather Widdows
Heather Widdows is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, UK. Her most recent book is Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal (Princeton University Press, 2018) which has been defined by Vogue as “ground-breaking” and listed by The Atlantic as one of the best books of 2018. She is author of The Connected Self: The Ethics and Governance of the Genetic Individual (2103), Global Ethics: An Introduction (2011), and The Moral Vision of Iris Murdoch (2005). She has co-edited, with Darrel Moellendorf, The Routledge Handbook of Global Ethics (2014). Heather’s Perfect Me book led to her founding the #EverydayLookism campaign, in order to increase public and policymaker understandings that negative comments about other people’s bodies matter.
Garvia Bailey has a career in media spanning close to two-decades as a producer, writer, host and columnist for the CBC and is part of the podcast production team Media Girlfriends. She is a sought after interviewer and moderator, her notable interview subjects include Eddie Glaude Jr (Hot Docs). Claudia Rankine (AGO), Roxane Gay(Toronto Public Library), and the late John Singleton (TIFF). Garvia is a co-founder of jazzcast.ca amplifying the roots of jazz as an African-American-derived artform.
Rayne Sutherland is in her second year at Western University. She is currently studying health sciences and business, which combines her passion for helping people in a real world setting. She is very enthusiastic, energetic, fun and hardworking. Rayne enjoys cooking, reading, listening to music and having fun with her friends and family!
Torie Williams is a proud Jamaican-Trini-Grenadian. She is a fourth-year student at McGill University studying economics. During her time at McGill, she has been very involved in the Black Students’ Network and is beyond thankful for the dynamic community it has provided her with. She love music, cooked food, and trying out new hairstyles.
Kaya Joubert Johnson