2019 Artist LINE-UP


Chiké Frankie Edozien

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Frankie Edozien has directed the Institute’s Ghana based ‘Reporting Africa’ program since 2008. He is a journalist who honed his skills writing about government, health and cultural issues for a variety of publications. He is the author of the 2017 book Lives of Great Men, a Lambda Literary Award winner. ‘Lives’ is an exploration of the lives of contemporary LGBTQ men and women on the African continent and in the diaspora. His work has appeared in The Times (UK), Vibe magazine, Time Magazine, Transitions Magazine, Out Traveler, Blackaids.org, The Advocate, Quartz, New York Times, Jalada and more.

Aala Marra

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Aala is an author, impact entrepreneur, & media personality, best known for her success story in healing herself from an autoimmune illness. In 2017, she established her rapidly growing platform on Instagram, where she shared the cleanse that saved her life.

Since sharing her story publicly, hundreds of people have used her method to heal their own conditions. She launched her digital platform "aalaCare," which teaches people how to transition into a healthier lifestyle. Beyond health, Aala is heavily focused on impact entrepreneurship--on using business as a means to reinvest in our communities & serve people by creating real, quantifiable change.

Aala graduated from Yale University in 2014 with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and B.A. in Political Science.

ANNE AGHION

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Anne Aghion has been praised as a filmmaker of poetic vision, and a unique documentarian whose multiple award-winning films, in the words of one critic, “pull us deep into the social fabric” of the places she covers—be it on the hillsides of rural Rwanda after genocide, in scientific expeditions to the vast, silent ice fields of Antarctica, or in the paradoxical lushness of Nicaragua’s urban slums.

JULIANE OKOT BITEK

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Juliane Okot Bitek has never stopped exploring the power of narrative, focusing her essays, poetry and nonfiction work on political and social issues.  Her work has been published widely on-line, in print and in literary magazines such as Event, The Capilano Review, Room, ArcWhetstone, and Fugue. Juliane’s 100 Days won the 2017 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Poetry and the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry.

LILIANE UMUHOZA

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Liliane Umuhoza was born and raised in Rwanda and is currently in her last year of undergraduate studies at Juniata College, in Pennsylvania. She uses her life experience of surviving the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, her education in Peace and Conflict Studies, and her work with her fellow survivors, to advocate for increased awareness of Human Rights abuses and mass atrocities. She is a founder of the ‘Retreat for Women Genocide Survivors’ a program that offers psychological and financial support to the women who experienced rape during the genocide in Rwanda, in collaboration with Survivors Fund ( SURF).

Liliane has been a guest speaker at the UN headquarters, The Embassy of Rwanda in Washington DC, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, Oregon Historical Society Museum and different universities like Duke, Tufts and Leeds in the UK, to mention a few.

MARIEME

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Born amidst a war between the African nation of Mauritania and Senegal, and raised in the Bronx, Marieme's unique upbringing shaped her into a brutally honest and dynamic artist with a captivating and socially-conscious voice. Her music explores themes of self-reliance, change and evolution.

JOJO ABOT

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JOJO ABOT is a Ghanaian artist expressing herself through music, film/photography, fashion, literature and performance art. FYFYA WOTO, meaning "New Birth - New Discovery" serves as the theme and title for her ongoing project exploring the SELF as a provocative tool in the discovery, exchange and evolution of the subject of IDENTITY. Through her work, JOJO Investigates new forms of spirituality and expression as part of a growing global conversation around shared space, identity and spirituality that exists beyond the conventional bias of color, race, class or sexual orientation.

SONIA DENIS

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Sonia is a NYC-based comedian and writer. She was honored as a Comedy Central Comic to Watch at the New York Comedy Festival in 2016. Her tour of her live show “Black Side of the Moon” in DC and Chicago through the Second City Touring Company was met with rave reviews. Sonia can be seen in the acclaimed web series BROWN GIRLS as “Patricia” and on HBO’s HIGH MAINTENANCE. Sonia also appears in the recently released Netflix feature SET IT UP, directed by Claire Scanlon. She is currently the host and executive producer of the upcoming Facebook Watch series AFTER AFTER PARTY, premiering in July.

YEDOYE TRAVIS

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Yedoye Travis is a stand up comedian, writer, and actor from Atlanta, GA. In 2017 he was named a New Face at the Montreal Just For Laughs festival, during which he opened for W. Kamau Bell and taped for Kevin Hart's LOL Network. He has since appeared on Search Party, Comedy Central, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and contributed content for MTV. He has also performed at the Hell Yes and Bridgetown Comedy festivals and appeared on the fourth season of Coming to the Stage. His debut album, OK, produced by Comedy Dynamics, was released on January 12th.