When darkness surrounds you, it is still possible to become a bright light to those who need it. Kenyan radio host, actress, poet, musician and activist, Adelle Onyango, is an example of necessary radiance. Before settling into her current role as a radio show host for music station KISS 100, she refined her knack for storytelling while studying Journalism at United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya. Tearing down poetry stages and open mics eventually turned into her manning mics on air. KISS, she has told outlets, was a calling that she simply answered. Most recently, the vivacious media personality was named one of the BBC 100 Women 2017. Onyango, 29, has also designed apparel and accessories in collaboration with Olive & Annie and NAD, and serves as the brand ambassador for Intel Corporation campaign, “Intel She Will Connect.”
Amy Sall was born in New York, but it’s her ties to the continent of Africa that fuels her everyday work. The first-generation Senegalese-American, now 27, is a human rights advocate and part-time culture and media studies lecturer at her alma mater, the New School in New York City. Her classes, reflective of her personal interests, include “Third Cinema + The Counter Narratives” and “The African Gaze: Visual Culture of Postcolonial Africa + The Social Imagination.” When she isn’t lecturing and participating in and moderating panels and forums, Sall moonlights as a model. The Elite Models signee has been featured in Vogue and Kinfolk magazines, and posed for campaigns with J. Crew, Armani Beauty, Pomellato and Kenzo, putting her lithe figure, rich skin and striking features to use.
Chika Oduah helps debunk the dated idea that a “Jack (or Jane) of all trades” is a master of none. Her diverse set of skills have, in fact, helped her establish her name in the world of multimedia news-gathering. The 31-year-old Nigerian-American journalist—she was born in Ogbaru, Anambra State and moved to Metro Atlanta area of Georgia at two years old—is a television news producer, writer, photographer and correspondent. Oduah, who has been a reporter since high school days, graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degrees in both anthropology and telecommunications. Afterwards, she went to Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism for her Master of Science degree in broadcast journalism.
Journalism can be a dangerous career. While some may work in relatively safe communities, others operate in more volatile territories in search of impactful stories and, ultimately, the truth. Solange Lusiku Nsimire, has, and will continue to go the distance no matter how difficult, in the pursuit of a story. As an investigative journalist in Eastern Congo, Nsimire reports extensively on human rights and democracy, both known points of contention within the nation, for Le Souverain.
In 2017, one of the largest publishers gave the black and brown fashion community plenty reason to celebrate. Conde Nast officially named Vanessa Kingori the new Publishing Director of British Vogue. She succeeds Stephen Quinn, who had held the position for 26 years. The magazine veteran had plenty of accolades prior to the new position. She has been a publisher at GQ Style UK and Associate Publisher of Fashion for British GQ at Conde Nast since 2009. In these roles, Kingori became the first female publisher of British GQ and the first black published at Conde Nast UK. Before breaking the mold at Conde Nast, she also held leadership positions at UK publications Esquire and Evening Standard’s ES Magazine.
As the American people struggle to watch the actions of the current president’s administration, TV viewers can at least delight in political pundits whipping out and/or demanding “receipts” while discussing the nitty gritty of his policies. MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid, known to have a firestorm of facts tucked away beneath a cool demeanor, is one of such national correspondents. The political analyst with liberal viewpoints currently holds court on her weekend morning show “AM Joy,” and appears as a reporter and guest/analyst on various other MSNBC and NBC News programs. Prior to that, Reid was the host of MSNBC’s “The Reid Report,” an hour-long daily program that offered her distinctive analysis and insight on the day’s news.
At a time when having multiple hustles is becoming a professional necessity, Anyiko Owoko is ahead of the curve. At 30 years old, the journalist, blogger, publicist and entrepreneur is thriving in all corners of the communications space. The 10-year media veteran who was born in Nakuru, Kenya and currently resides in Nairobi, started off as a journalist, majoring in broadcast media from the University of Nairobi School of Journalism and Mass Communications. As a journalist, she worked at BBC Swahili Service under the radio show Kimasomaso, as well as at Kenya's national broadcaster KBC as a host and co-producer of Grapevine, the country’s longest running entertainment show. As a writer, she remains a columnist with Kenya's YUMMY Magazine and freelances for other publications such as Daily Nation.
Redi Tlhabi has spent her career using various platforms to tell the stories of those whose voices are either overlooked, or simply need to be amplified. The 39-year-old Johannesburg native is an author, TV and radio personality, producer, activist and member of the UN Global Journalists Corps. Over the course of her career, she has worked for some of South Africa’s most respected media and news brands, including Kaya FM, SABC, SKY, the BBC, eNews and more. She once produced a controversial documentary on former South African president Thabo Mbeki, and produced and presented two TV shows—Redi on Mzansi for Mzansi Magic and South to North—for Al Jazeera. However, the most impressive thing about Tlhabi is not where her work has been featured. It is how women’s issues and sparking important conversations are at the crux of her most important projects.
Writer and literary educator Ainehi Edoro-Glines is profoundly influenced by the literary icon, Chinua Achebe. Her life goal has been to bring African literature to the forefront, and more specifically to bring a fresh perspective to the study of the late Nigerian novelist's work. Her article on Things Fall Apart is forthcoming in The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Enquiry.
Social media is one of the fastest, most immediate ways to stay on top of current events, and one infectious outlet has all but cemented its place at the digital forefront. The Shade Room, the Instagram-dominating news hub with over 11 million followers, is the brainchild of 27-year-old Angelica Nwandu. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor’s degree in business, the founder and CEO paired her entrepreneurial skills with the spirit of hard work and dedication she credits to her Nigerian culture. Her four-year-old media company has blossomed from being a one woman show—Nwandu initially operated it alone out of her native Los Angeles—to a multi-city team holding court across Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube and their website. Dubbed “Instagram’s TMZ,” the Shade Room disseminates “the tea” wherever it falls within black culture, from celebrity gossip and Hollywood news to highlighting black love and saluting past and present icons of color.