The COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity for media makers to rebuild the media distribution ecosystem. During this session, we'll discuss strategies for ensuring the rebooted ecosystem doesn't regenerate the inequities Black storytellers have historically faced.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2:30-4:30 P.M.. EDT



Phillip co-founded the Dream Defenders in 2012 after the murder of Trayvon Martin and has been dubbed “one of this generation’s leading voices” and recognized by EBONY and The Root as one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the nation. His work in community organizing and art is frequently cited and highlighted nationally.

Phillip is the co-founder of Miami’s Smoke Signals Studio — a community based radical artistic space — with poet Aja Monet.  Smoke Signals Studio is a space where those invested in using art, sound and music as a meeting place for transformation and liberation can come to create together.

He is a nationally recognized educator, strategist, trainer, speaker and cultural critic.  He has spoken at colleges and conferences around the country and was a featured speaker at TEDWomen and SXSW  in 2019.

In 2018, Phillip transitioned from his role as co-director of the Dream Defenders.  In July 2019, he joined the Bernie Sanders campaign as a national surrogate and was later named a senior advisor.

Phillip is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and a graduate of Florida A&M University.  



Maori Holmes

Maori is a curator, filmmaker, writer and BPM 40th Anniversary Game Changer. The founder and artistic director of BlackStar Film Festival  also is a visiting scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, curator at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and a producer with Blackbird.

Maori has organized programs in film at myriad organizations including Anthology Film Archives, Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The Underground Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art — where she most recently organized screening programs in conjunction with the 2019 Biennial. Her other projects include KinoWatt (2011-2012) and Black Lily Film and Music Festival (2006-2010). As a director, her works have screened internationally including her feature documentary Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip-Hop (2006). She also has directed and produced works for Colorlines.com, Visit Philadelphia, and singer-songwriter India.Arie. 

Dr. Yaba Blay

Yaba is a scholar-activist, public speaker, and cultural consultant whose scholarship, work and practice centers on the lived experiences of Black women and girls, with a focus on identity/body politics and beauty practices. Lauded by O Magazine for her social media activism, she has launched several viral campaigns including Locs of Love, #PrettyPeriod, and #ProfessionalBlackGirl, her multi-platform digital community.

In 2012, Yaba served as a producer on CNN’s television documentary, Who is Black in America?, and has since been named one of today’s leading Black voices by ‘The Root 100’ and Essence Magazine’s "Woke 100." She has appeared on CNN, BET, MSNBC, BBC, and NPR, and her work has been featured in numerous pubilcations including The New York Times, EBONY, Essence, The Root, and Fast Company. Her commentary is featured in A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond, a permanent exhibition in the National Museum of African American History and Culture; and she is the author of the award-winning (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race.

Michelle Materre_4x3

Michelle Materre

In addition to being an associate professor of media studies and film at The New School, where she has taught since 2001, Michelle directs the media management graduate program in the School of Media Studies. Her professional career, as a film producer, writer, lecturer, arts administrator, distribution/marketing specialist, film programmer, media consultant, Caribbean film scholar, and college professor, spans more than 30 years. In 1992, she co-founded one of the first African-American-owned film distribution companies,KJM3 Entertainment Group, which directly managed the marketing, positioning and distribution of over 23 films by filmmakers of African descent including: Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust,  and L’Homme Sur Les Quais (The Man By the Shore), by Raoul Peck. Her critically acclaimed series, Creatively Speaking, featuring films by and about women and people of color, is now in its 25th year. Michelle is a board member of Women Make Movies and a former board member of New York Women in Film and Television.


Dr. Aymar Jean Christian

Aymar is a scholar, media producer, and social practice artist exploring the convergence of television, video art, and creative R&D. Currently an associate professor of communication at Northwestern University, he uses artistic development as a tool for community building, cultural critique and experimentation. For 10 years he has explored how the internet transformed the art of television and expanded cultural representation.

Aymar’s book: Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television argues the web brought innovation to TV by opening the development process to producers like Issa Rae, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Ingrid Jungermann, and Desiree Akhavan, among others. That researched prompted him to start OTV | Open Television, a Chicago-based, intersectional television platform that advances organic, sustainable local, digital, artist- and community-driven TV through research and development.





Don't miss out on this important conversation

Registration for the 2020 Black Media Story Summit is currently open. Participation in all events, including this town hall, is free except the 40th Anniversary House Party, which is a pay-as-you-wish event. Registration is required for all events. We urge you to take full advantage of this timely opportunity to contribute ideas, make connections, and share your stories of success.