Imagine a world designed for you. A world where you feel safe and valued. What do you need in this world? That’s how we start this episode. This episode is a bouquet of stories, featuring the words of more than a dozen Black transwomen, exploring themes of Black trans joy and gender euphoria. This episode is a love letter for Black trans women from Black trans women. May we be grateful enough to hear it. Guests include: Mojo Disco, Iman Hill, Qween Jean, Bryanna Jenkins, Mercy Kelly, Aurora Lloyd, Ameirah Neal, Simaya “The Lioness” Turner, Jasmin Van Wales, Arisce Wanzer, Tamara M. Williams, and Lala B Zannell, with a special performance from Vita E. Cleveland. Be sure to give flowers to the Black trans women in your life and in your community!
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Vita E. Cleveland
Miss Mojo Disco (She/Her) is a multi-talented Personality, Curator, Photographer, Poet, +Model, and Artist from NYC. Anointed the Queen of the Trans Revolution, Mojo is an advocate for the Black Trans community, the Arts, Equality, and Love. Miss Mojo is the Artist and the Art.
Iman Hill aka “Raps Mona Lisa” is a hip hop artist, model and trans activist from Atlanta, GA currently living in the NYC area. In her spare time, Iman is a community organizer and dot-connector for LGBT resources and is an active member in NYC’s ballroom community.
Qween Jean is a New York based Stage and Film Costume Designer. Founder of Black Trans Liberation. Qween has committed her voice to advocating for marginalized communities; specifically Black trans people. Her passion is creating access for unsung heroes and people who are often overlooked. She feels their stories are valuable and deserve recognition. She has an MFA in Design from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Bryanna A. Jenkins, Esq. is a civil rights attorney. She is the current 2020-2021 George N. Lindsay Legal Fellow at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where she works in the Educational Opportunities Project. Before law school, Bryanna founded and led the Baltimore Transgender Alliance to serve the political interests of transgender people in the Baltimore metropolitan area. She is a fierce advocate for the liberation transgender people of color. She also co-hosts Box No. 512 Podcast: Grown Black Trans Women Talk, a weekly podcast and multi-media platform that centers Black trans feminine experiences.
Mercy Kelly is a Brooklyn-based Black trans visual artist and advocate who isn’t here to be your teachable moment. Mercy’s work focuses on the beauty of fat, femme body performance as liberation. Mercy is passionate about expanding narratives and understandings of what it means to be trans, moving towards re-idealizing the notion of what it means to have a body. Mercy is interested in the ways we map desire, paying particular attention to how hue, color, size, and shape form our deepest longings.
Aurora Lloyd has broken through a lot of obstacles. In this day and age, it’s hard to find a genuine artist who is immensely talented but there are a select few R&B Singer/Songwriters like Aurora Lloyd who just wants to give you her heart through her music. She released her first mixtape in 2016 called "#InsidemyNotebook". Then in 2019, she dropped her first highly anticipated EP “Anaomi” which had the supporting hit singles “Stay Here” and “Secret” She is currently recording her debut album "Neptune". The world is not ready for the change she is about to bring!
Ameirah Neal is a Black trans independent artist based in Washington DC. Ameirah had been creating since she was a child. She specializes in painting, and fashion design. She has her Associate’s Degree in specialized business, majoring in Fashion Marketing from The Art Institute of York Pennsylvania. She also has her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from The International Academy of Design and Technology majoring in Fashion Design. The beauty of Black women, both cis and trans is what inspires her work.
Simaya The Lioness Turner (Goddess), also known as The Lioness, is originally from South Carolina, and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a graduate of Georgia State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Managerial Sciences. Lady Turner is certified in HIV/ Testing and Counseling, and she has over 12 years of experience in Organizational Management, Program Development, and Grant Writing/Evaluation in the healthcare field. She is currently the Executive Director of TILTT. INC, which stands for Trans Individuals Living Their Truth Inc. She is also a host on Box No,512 Podcast: Grown Black Trans Woman Talk, with attorney Bryanna A. Jenkins, and her own solo podcast, The Lioness Still Lives: Conversations with a Black Trans Goddess.
Jasmine Van Wales is a true native New Yorker born and raised in Brooklyn and resides in the Bronx. Jasmin is a multi crown title Holder, and a Ballroom/Stage Icon actress dancer choreographer; also made cameo appearances as a Legendary Mother on season 1 2 and 3 on Pose; and has numerous awards. She's also a HIV survivor and a loving mother to her Van Wales children and loves giving back to her community. Jasmin til this day at the age of 51 strives to be best of the best and just recently earned her new title the first MX JUNETEENTH 2021 with the BaBEC organization (Black and Brown Equality Coalition) on Fire Island.
Arisce Wanzer is a transgender supermodel, three times featured in Vogue Magazine, and more widely known for her role in the GLAAD award winning reality series ‘Strut’. She is the current face of Truvada and hosts her own LGBTQ dating segments on Grindr’s YouTube channel called ‘What the Flip’. She hosted the first over sold out Los Angeles LGBTQ pride festival and recently hosted the Slay Model Competition.
Tamara M. Williams is an actress/dancer/writer from NYC! Most recently had a recurring role on hit tv show, “Dispatches from elsewhere” as a fierce, high, energy Aerobics Instructor (AMC); [was also in] season 1 of “Pose” on ‘Netflix’. Her theatrical start was being featured in The New York Times Critics pick "Street Children!" choreographed by Tamara. Tamara is a classically trained performer by way of Harlem School of The Arts and a former Human Rights Campaign youth ambassador. Tamara co-starred in the award winning feature film "The Garden Left Behind." She continues to reinvent the ways we view Trans/Gender non-conforming Non Binary Performers.
LaLa Holston-Zannell leads the ACLU’s advocacy and organizing work to support and empower transgender and nonbinary people. In 2015, LaLa was featured on the Advocate’s Trans 100 list. Recently, LaLa created the first Trans Discrimination Survey in New York City to collect data on trans people’s experiences in employment. She was previously Lead Organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) where she led AVP’s public community organizing work by doing advocacy, outreach and networking on behalf of LGBTQ New Yorkers who have experienced violence.