Meet BAIA’s New Editor: Trelani Michelle
Trelani Michelle is an award-winning writer, oral historian, and teaching artist. Crowned Savannah’s Best Local Author in 2021, Trelani published a catalog of Black Savannah’s biographies called Krak Teet. She also co-authored the New York Times bestselling Gullah Geechee Home Cooking. A storyteller and a story-gatherer with a Bachelor’s from SSU and an MFA from SCAD, Trelani interned with the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center to further her work of “Zora Neale Hurstoning” and teaching the history that textbooks overlook.
Editor for Black Art in America, Trelani combines storytelling and art to reposition Black history as the basis for the whole versus a historical sidebar. She’s presented her work at UNC’s Black Communities Conference, SCAD, Georgia Council for the Arts, The Highlander Research and Education Center, and more.
SHANTAY ROBINSON was a participant in the inaugural class of Burnaway Magazine’s Art Writers Mentorship Program, a fellow in Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies Digital Publishing Project Editorial Fellowship and was chosen for the CUE Art Foundation’s Art Critic Mentoring program. In addition to writing for Black Art in America, she has written for Washington City Paper, Arts ATL, Nashville Scene, ARTS.BLACK, AFROPUNK, Sugarcane Magazine, Number, Inc., and International Review of African American Art. She also published a scholarly article in Teaching Artist Journal. She presented papers about art and education at SCAD’s (Savannah College of Art and Design) Symposium on Art and Fashion, Georgia State University’s New Voices Graduate Student Conference, Georgia State University’s Glorious Hair and Academic Identities Conference, Northeast Modern Languages Association Conference, Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference, and New York African Studies Association Conference. In 2019, she sat on a panel at Prizm Art Fair during Miami Art Week. In 2020, she served as visual arts judge in Shreveport Regional Council’s Critical Mass 8 Art Competition.
STEPHANIE ROBINSON, Esq. is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, a national media figure, author, former Chief Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and former President and CEO of The Jamestown Project, a national think tank focusing on democracy. Robinson hosted her own national radio show, Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson, a popular weekly 30-minute, talk-radio program focused on culture, politics, and relationships that aired on TSN. For over half a decade, Robinson was Political and Social Commentator for the Tom Joyner Morning Show where she spoke to between 9 and 10 million people weekly, offering her perspective on the day’s most pressing social and political issues. Robinson is co-author of Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise (Atria Books, 2009), and a nationally recognized expert on issues relating to social policy, women, race, family, and electoral politics. She was a Member of President Clinton’s first Mission to Africa regarding children orphaned by AIDS. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland and the Harvard Law School, Robinson is a frequent speaker expressing her views in countless media outlets including the Associated Press, The Washington Post, C-Span, Fox News, NewsOne and NPR.
Sherricka Day is an art enthusiast and collector, youth mentor and community advocate. She has been recognized as one of Aflac’s top volunteers, Georgia Trend’s 40 under 40, Columbus and the Valley’s 5 under 40, and an American Red Cross Hometown Hero. She is the founder of Minor in Business, a non-profit organization that provides “kidpreneurs” with a platform to learn about entrepreneurship hands-on. Her ultimate passion comes from connecting and working with youth and by being a positive role model that they can look up to. Sherricka loves to read and engage in conversations with family and friends. In her downtime, you can find her browsing the aisles of thrift stores or digging for antiques or unique finds at estate sales. Sherricka never meets a stranger, and often becomes instant friends with the people she meets. Sherricka produces the daily culture questions for our Facebook page.
DEBRA HAND is a museum-collected sculptor, painter, and writer. She is the creator of the historic bronze statue of Paul Laurence Dunbar in Dunbar Park. Among the history makers who own her works are former President Barack Obama; Hillary Clinton; Harry Belafonte; Cicely Tyson; Smokey Robinson; Yo-Yo Ma; Spike Lee; Seal; Sinbad; and the renowned sculptor, Richard Hunt; the late Winnie Mandela, and the late Dr. Maya Angelou also owned her work. Debra Hand holds a Master of Science Degree from the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. She is a self-taught artist whose talent was discovered by the legendary Dr. Margaret Burroughs, principal founder of the DuSable Museum. It was Burroughs who arranged for Hand’s first public exhibit.
AMARI JACKSON is a creator, author, TV/web/film producer, and award-winning journalist. He is author of the 2011 novel, The Savion Sequence; creator/writer/coproducer of the 2012-2014 web series The Book Look; writer/coproducer of the 2016 film Edge of the Pier; and current writer/coproducer of Listen Up! on HBCU GO/Roku TV. He is a former Chief of Staff for a NJ State Senator; a former VP of Communications & Development for the Jamestown Project at Harvard University; and a recipient of several writing fellowships including the George Washington Williams Fellowship from the Independent Press Association. An active ghost writer, song writer, martial artist, and journalist, his writings have appeared in a wide variety of national and regional publications.
Tracy Ann Simmonds is an artist’s artist who uses her personal work to dive deeply into studying identity and seeking understanding of her complex Caribbean heritage. Being born and raised in Queens, NY surrounded by diverse culturally rich experiences shaped her sense of being a globally responsible citizen at a very young age. She’s a photographer by trade with a glamor and fashion portrait studio in Fort Lauderdale, as well as a weekend wedding warrior, but she equally enjoys modeling and frequently sits for fellow photographers for art's sake. Her passions align with continuing to validate the beauty aesthetics of black girls and women as an ode to self-healing and she taught visual and performing arts programming for 14 years in New York, Chicago and South Florida. Being a company member with Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago for four seasons while pursuing her BA in photography at Columbia College Chicago definitely shaped and informed her creative processes, normalizing traditional African beauty. Tracy Ann published “The Vision Project: A Coloring Book For Black Girls Who Rock” which features black and white coloring pages of portraits and symbols that celebrate the diverse magnificence of the African Diaspora in the United States. Fighting anxiety through the use of the arts is a recurring theme in her life and her interdisciplinary practice. She officially joined the Black Art in America team in 2021, tackling advertising sales, hosting podcasts and assisting with BAIA Foundation groundwork to continue a legacy of excellence in arts education and entrepreneurship. Her mentors, teachers, and coaches include Frank Frazier, Amaniyea Payne, Dawoud Bey, Carol Haliday-McQueen, Najee Dorsey, Obediah Wright, Kevin Iega Jeff, Crystal “The MOC” Chanel, Simone Kelly and Carl Anthony Jr. II. You can follow her on ig @miamiculturemaven
Cierra Fountain is a graphic designer based in Atlanta, GA. She received her BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Business from Columbus State University. Although her primary focus is in design, she also has experience and interest in other art forms, such as painting, illustration, and quilting. Cierra creates designs for various projects in the BAIA network; this includes layout design for BAIA™ The Magazine, catalogs for BuyBlackArt collections, and promotional material for Garden Art for the Soul.
Yvonne Bynoe is the founder of the curated online platform @shelovesblackart which highlights visual art from the African diaspora to encourage more people of African descent to collect art. She is also a cultural critic and author.
Dontanarious Kelly is an Augusta, GA native and student at Columbus State University. Through his art, he explores what it means to be a minority, not only as a collective, but also on an individual basis. He takes stories and ideals from individuals and transforms these into art through an exploration of traditional oil painting combined with collage and occasional crude drawings. He finds that this creates a painting that exemplifies the soul of a being.
Natasha Gural is a multiple award-winning journalist, writer, and editor with 30 years of editorial experience, including executive roles at The Associated Press, Dow Jones, and Markets Media. A student of literature, art history, and studio art, Natasha has learned from leading scholars at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Oxford University, Clark University, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Natasha has been writing about art since 2002, for multiple publications, including The Associated Press and Forbes. She has traveled extensively to cover major art fairs and events, interviewing a wide array of world-renowned and emerging artists, as well as curators, art historians, collectors, scholars, and aesthetes. Her last contact with the global art world was covering TEFAF Maastricht in 2020. Natasha enjoys observing every level of the creative process, from inception to installation, in studios, galleries, and various spaces. Passionate about the art world, Natasha embraces every opportunity to engage key players to better understand and explain the changing dynamic. She seeks to accurately portray the art ecosystem in an ongoing process that immerses her in the art world. A first-generation American, Natasha was raised bilingual and has always been drawn to the innovators, rebels, and outsiders who break down boundaries and strive to broaden the continuum of art history. Her goal is always to fairly and accurately represent the accomplishments of artists in an effort to collectively celebrate the arts.
FARON MANUEL is an independent curator, and art writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 2016 Faron has also been the coordinator of the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship, and the Mellon Graduate Fellowship in Object-Centered Curatorial Research at the High Museum of Art. Prior to joining the High Museum, he was the Special Projects Curatorial Assistant to the Director of the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum. While at the CAU Art Museum, he curated his first exhibition, Négritude (2015)—that explored a French literary and philosophical movement within the African diaspora through art, before receiving his B.A. in History from Clark Atlanta University in 2015. He later served as the Assistant Editor at Black Art In America from 2015-2016, where he regularly interviewed collectors, and reported widely on contemporary art.
Dr. KELLI MORGAN, Originally from Detroit, MI., Dr. Morgan earned her doctorate in Afro-American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Public History – Museum Studies in 2017 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). A scholar and curator, Morgan has worked in a variety of curatorial, programming, teaching, and research positions at various institutions including The Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). In early 2014, Morgan was awarded a dissertation fellowship from the prestigious Ford Foundation. She was also named the Curatorial Fellow of African American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art (2014 – 2015), and in 2016 became the inaugural recipient of The Winston & Carolyn Lowe Curatorial Fellowship for Diversity in the Fine Arts at PAFA. As a critical race cultural historian, Morgan specializes in American art and visual culture. Her interdisciplinary research concentrates primarily on historic African American women artists, however her curatorial work often examines, critiques, and theorizes the ways in which American artists, art objects, art history, and art institutions both challenge and reify the systematic mechanisms of anti-Black violence and oppression in the United States. By analyzing the ways in which Americans construct visual discourses, conceptualize images, and sometimes resist these discourses, Morgan’s curatorial and pedagogical practices link Art History, Women’s Studies, African American History, and Museum Studies to create stimulating and culturally sensitive educational opportunities for students and public audiences alike.
STEVE A. PRINCE is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and he currently resides in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is the Director of Engagement and Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Muscarelle Museum at William and Mary. Prince received his BFA from Xavier University of Louisiana and his MFA in Printmaking and Sculpture from Michigan State University. Prince is a mixed media artist, master printmaker, lecturer, educator, and art evangelist. He has taught middle school, high school, community college, 4-year public and 4-year private, and has conducted workshops internationally in various media.
Chenoa Baker is an arts writer and emerging curator specializing in Black Modern and contemporary art. Her education in Cultural Studies, Art History, and Museum Studies from Chatham University provides an interdisciplinary approach to visual critical studies. Through her work, she explores the expression of discourses of “North” and “South” and the relationship of artwork to society as propaganda. Her work is confirmed on Black Art in America, Sugarcane Magazine, Pulse@ChathamU, En Pointe, and the Jennie King Mellon Library. You may learn more about her on LinkedIn, Instagram or by contacting her at email@example.com.
TASH MOORE is bicoastal Detroit booster, social entrepreneur and activist deeply passionate about promoting diversity & inclusion in all spheres. She currently spends her time between Detroit & DTLA.