“Glow In the Dark”
“The Blackness” is a multimedia, long-form, investigative reporting newsroom focused on shining light on overlooked and untold human interest stories impacting communities of color. We leverage a distributed network of diverse journalists.
Erika Alexander is an actress, writer, producer and activist seen as Maxine Shaw on the FOX sitcom Living Single, for which she won two best actress NAACP awards, and Detective LaToya in the Academy Award-winning movie Get Out. Erika was most recently seen in HBO’s Insecure and horror-thriller film, I See You, with Helen Hunt. She is also in Queen Sugar, Beyond and Bosch.
Erika has launched a media and venture studio called Color Farm Media with Ben Arnon, a former Google executive and blockchain tech entrepreneur. The new banner’s slate of film, television and digital projects features diverse creators. Color Farm has hit the ground running, setting up an untitled horror/thriller film, written by Alexander, at Lionsgate Entertainment. She is also a co-writer of the new Buffy spin-off, Giles, a graphic novel collaboration with Joss Whedon and Dark Horse. Alexander previously collaborated on Dark Horse’s award-winning, ground-breaking sci-fi series, Concrete Park.
Erika is on the advisory board of VoteRunLead.org, a non-partisan group that trains women to run for office and win. She was Hillary Clinton’s most traveled surrogate. Born in Winslow, Arizona, Erika grew up in Philadelphia.
Ben Arnon is the co-founder and CEO of Color Farm Media, a media and venture studio. Color Farm is digitizing and scaling the Motown model of talent and content development, building a human capital IP base in the process. Ben’s co-founder is award-winning actress/writer/producer, Erika Alexander.
Ben has been a Contributing Writer and Photographer for the Huffington Post since 2008. Check out his posts here
Prior to founding Color Farm, Ben joined the Facebook-incubated tech startup, Wildfire, as its 6th employee, and played an integral role in building the company to 400+ employees and an acquisition by Google in 2012. Ben then spent four years at Google in a Head of Industry leadership role.
Ben began his career in the film and music industries. He spent several years at Universal Pictures, where he worked in a variety of divisions, including film music, retail marketing, and brand marketing.
Ben is also a documentary photographer. His work can be seen here
Ben earned a BA from Emory University and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Joy-Ann Reid is a political analyst at MSNBC and host of “AM Joy,” which airs Saturdays and Sundays from 10 A.M. ET to noon ET. She is the author of the book Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide (William Morrow/Harper Collins 2015) and the co-editor, with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, of We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama(Bloomsbury, 2016).
Her columns and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, the Miami Herald, New York Magazine, The Daily Beast and other publications.
Reid is the former managing editor of TheGrio.com, a site exploring issues of importance to African-Americans, and the former host of The Reid Report, a daily news program on MSNBC. She has previously worked in local TV news, as a talk radio producer and host, and in politics as a Florida press secretary and a Florida press aide.
Reid graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in film in 1991. She is a former Knight Journalism fellow (2003) and previously taught a course in “race, gender and media” at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications’ New York City annex (2017-2018).
Radcliffe “Ruddy” Roye is a Brooklyn-based documentary photographer specializing in editorial and environmental portraits, and photojournalism. A photographer with over 13 years of experience, Ruddy is inspired by the raw and gritty lives of grassroots people, especially those of his homeland of Jamaica. Ruddy strives to tell the stories of their victories and ills by bringing their voices to a metallic paper.
Ruddy has worked with magazines like TIME, National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Jet, Ebony, and Essence and has also worked with local newspapers like The New York Times and New York Newsday. Ruddy honed his skill as a photojournalist by working as an Associated Press stringer in New York covering journalism events.
Ruddy has also been instrumental in leading the Instagram charge as a photographer showcasing his interest in his community of Bed-Stuy and Brooklyn as a whole. Named "TIME Magazine Instagram photographer of the year 2016," the images he portrays in his “When Living is a Protest” series has been the talking point of numerous forums on Instagram.
John B. King Jr. is the President and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. King served as the U.S. Secretary of Education from 2016 to 2017 as a member of President Barack Obama’s administration. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called King “an exceptionally talented educator,” citing his commitment to “preparing every child for success” and his lifelong dedication to education as a teacher, principal, and leader of schools and school systems.
Before becoming education secretary and beginning in January 2015, King carried out the duties of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, overseeing all policies and programs related to P-12 education, English learners, special education, and innovation. In this role, King also oversaw the agency’s operations. King joined the department following his tenure as the first African American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner, a post he held from 2011 to 2015. King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, Mass., and as a middle school principal.
King’s life story is an extraordinary testament to the transformative power of education. Both of King’s parents were career New York City public school educators, whose example serves as an enduring inspiration. Both of King’s parents passed away from illness by the time he was 12 years old. He credits New York City public school teachers — particularly educators at P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island — for saving his life by providing him with rich and engaging educational experiences and by giving him hope for the future.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, as well as a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. King lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his wife (a former kindergarten and first-grade teacher) and his two daughters, who attend local public schools.
You can follow King on Twitter.
Christian Hendricks is a well-known, award-winning and highly-respected digital media executive. He spent over 20 years at McClatchy, most recently serving in the role of Corporate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives. In this role he was a member of the executive leadership team and was responsible for evaluating, recommending and managing M&A, partnerships and operating opportunities in the digital ecosystem. Chris retired from McClatchy in November 2017.
Today, Chris remains active in the media space by advising several leading companies and serving as President for the Local Media Consortium, which is a for-profit, non-stock company representing the collective digital revenue and audience aspirations of more than 75 media holding companies.
Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika is a scholar, journalist, organizer and artist who researches and teaches in Rutgers Department of Journalism and Media Studies. He is the co-host and co-executive producer of Gimlet Media's Peabody winning podcast, UNCIVIL, and a contributor to Scene On Radio's Seeing White series. Chenjerai serves as a board member for several youth mentoring programs, and is a member of the Moth's artistic council. His January 2015 article on Vocal Color in Public Radio produced for Transom.org was featured on NPR, The Washington Post and Buzzfeed, trending nationally on Twitter, and spawning a nationwide discussion of diversity in public media.
Sarah Bartlett has been the Dean of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York since January 2014. She joined CUNY in 2002 as the Bloomberg Chair of Business Journalism at Baruch College. She moved to the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in 2006, after serving on its founding curriculum committee. She created and oversaw both the Urban Reporting and the Business & Economics subject concentrations and helped found the school’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media.
Dean Bartlett is a board member of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting and sits on the Board of Managers of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
She received her B.A. in Political Science and a Master of Philosophy in Development Studies from the University of Sussex in England.