2018 Artist LINE-UP*
Lula Saleh is an Ethiopian, Eritrean American and Saudi-born, multidisciplinary artist, writer, consultant, facilitator, public speaker, energy cultivator, healer, community organizer, and Empath. As a third culture kid, Lula uses poetry, music, and storytelling about her multicultural diasporic upbringing as forms of personal and community healing. Lula's poetry and unique fusion of electronic-soul music have gone viral, featured in Button Poetry, Okay Africa, City Pages, Al Jazeera English, The Current, and more. Lula is an inaugural Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow, a Creative Community Fellow with National Arts Strategies, and was a Givens Black Writers fellow. Keep up with Lula on all platforms: @lulathelily and her music at soundcloud.com/LulaSaleh.
KATLEGO KAI KOLANYANE-KESUPILE
Botswana-born Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile (Kol- Kes) is a groundbreaking Trans* ARTivist using various art forms for human rights activism and advocacy, bridging the gaps created by jargon and societal insecurities across the globe. Kol-Kes is a TED Fellow, member of the World Economic Forum initiative – Global Shapers Community, a queer theoretician, the author of “...on about the same old things”, and founder and Creative Director of the Queer Shorts Showcase Festival in Botswana. She holds a Masters in Human Rights, Culture and Social Justice from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Chuma Nwokolo was admitted to the bar in 1984, after which he worked briefly for the Legal Aid Council and was managing partner of the C&G Chambers. He has convened legal and literary conferences, and was writer-in-residence of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. He is also the publisher of African Writing magazine and has seven books to his credit, including the the newly releasted book "The Extinction of Menai".
Loyce Gayo is a Tanzanian born creative, aspiring scholar, teaching artist, and activist based in Houston, TX. Gayo’s work is influenced by her experience in the African Diaspora and celebrates the journey of a people dispersed. Her work has been featured on Button Poetry, Write About Now Badilisha Poetry, Fields Magazine and PBS. She founded a creative writing and performance initiative for East African youths called Paza Sauti.
Meka Oku Is a Nigerian-born dancer from a musically inclined household. Meka found love for choreography through his exceptional Afrobeat and Dancehall inspired style of movement and this has allowed him to Choreograph for A-list Artists Including P-Square and Selebobo. An occasional introvert, a CHOREOGRAPHER and DANCER, an Electrical Engineer with a keen sense of style, Meka continues to share his art and cultural experiences with a smile for all who embrace it for the love of Afrobeat.
Gelila Mesfin is an Ethiopian artist based in NJ. The inspiration for much of her art work comes from African culture and black women. The abundance in color as well as patterns are influenced by traditional African clothing and vibrant prints, and her subject matter heavily focuses on black women, who were misrepresented and not fully appreciated as muses in the art community. Her art is meant to uplift and celebrate the rich ancestry, heritage, culture and beauty that black women posses.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Roye Okupe is a creative specialist in MD. His passion for animation led him to found YouNeek Studios in 2012, an avenue to pursue his dream of creating a diverse library of superheroes. Roye has made it a goal to create a connected universe of heroes, with origins from locations that are currently neglected and/or ignored. His books have won several awards including a Glyph Comic Award (2017) and a Heruica Character Creation Award (2017).
Múkami Kinoti Kimotho is a Kenyan-born entrepreneur, girl crusader and creative based on Washington D.C. She is putting her passion into action by inspiring women and girls through her work spanning fashion, media, the arts and philanthropy. Her company Royelles Inc, intersects technology + innovation + creative storytelling to meets the demands of the girl and young woman of the 21st century. She is on a mission to tackle the global identity crisis, disrupt and expand the narrative and broaden the aspirational standards of girls and young women to include value-driven pursuits in leadership, entrepreneurship and STEAM.
She’s the airy-fairy, witty scriptwriter and up and coming young director. She’s into words, concepts, ideas, pictures, textures, beautiful things...but she’s also into adventure, impossible tasks and getting the job done and done well. She had her first nationally broadcast TV Show a year out of film school and in 2013, she was selected to take part in the Focus Features Africa First programme with her short film, Hair That Moves. Still on the hair theme, she is now working on an animated series about a 5 year old black girl with a magic afro called Rapulani and Rapunzel while preparing for the release of her first full length documentary feature, Rumba in The Jungle - The return about Dance sport in South Africa. Yolanda is a multi-layered individual, with an entrepreneurial spirit, who seeks to be a power-player in making the South African film industry a viable career option.
Johanna is a social and cultural psychologist whose research interests revolve around the individual in society, and the interplay of political, cultural, social, and economic forces in shaping the social order. She currently studies how concepts such as ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ affect processes of identification and social categorization across and within different socio-cultural contexts. A PhD student in Psychology at the University of Cambridge and recipient of a 2017-2018 Fox Fellowship, Johanna is currently at Yale completing her dissertation, titled: "The Psychology, Economics and Politics of Black Hair"
Clifford Owusu is a Ghanaian American comedian and entertainer whose dancing, humor, and positivity have won over African and non-African viewers alike. He is internationally known for his dancing & comedy videos on YouTube. and has had his videos featured on Good Morning America, Yahoo.com, Pandora Radio, BET and BuzzFeed. A firm believer in the ability of dancing to bring happiness and bring people together, he infuses his videos with elements of his culture that include music and comedy.
Kachi Ihuegbu, professionally known as DJ Kash, is a DJ, radio personality, promoter and co-founder of Connecticut’s foremost African entertainment group, Aboki Entertainment. He is the resident radio host for Yale’s “Afrobuzz Show! Afrobeats Without Borders” on WYBCX Radio New Haven and Africa Salon’s resident DJ. He is also a resident DJ at GPSCY Lounge, New Haven and a regular at Harvard, Weselyan and Yale African scenes.