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Dear Blavity Fam: A Letter From Our First Editor-in-Chief

As the new EIC of Blavity and Shadow & Act, I’m excited about new opportunities for growth, creative expression and impactful storytelling.

It’s time to reclaim our narrative -- this is why I'm excited to announce that I recently joined Blavity as Editor-in-Chief.

I’m joining Blavity after three exhilarating years as the senior editor of HuffPost Black Voices and previously working as the Lifestyle News Editor at TheGrio.com. My professional and personal journeys have been centered around amplifying marginalized voices. I seek to tell stories that aim to shift the conversation around underrepresented issues impacting people of color and empower our own. It is what brings me purpose; it is my passion -- because in a world where race has real consequences on how we live, people of color must have reliable news sources specifically designed to put their interests first, inform them on issues that impact them most and inspire them to tap into their own unlocked potential.

When it comes to media, news pieces about young people of color and the issues that impact them are too often marginalized, misconstrued or missing. Much of media is dominated and driven by coverage that appeals to mainstream America, and consequently fails to shed proper light or provide nuance in storytelling about race.

Taking ownership of our narrative is imperative. Independent black media companies like Blavity, Inc. are important.

Blavity, which brands itself as the voice for black millennials, was built with all of this in mind -- and has already made much meaningful impact. In the 3 short years Blavity has existed, it’s seen exponential growth and acquired popular platforms like Shadow & Act, a top digital destination for black film and entertainment news, and Travel Noire, a booming platform for black travel content. Blavity’s reach also extends well beyond our online presence. In alignment with our aim to empower all young people of color, the brand hosts amazing annual conferences like AfroTech, Silicon Valley’s biggest black tech Conference, and EmpowerHer, an inspiring summit for young women of color, to help give black millennials the tools and encouragement to be their best selves.

However, these metrics are not what matter most to me. What I hold in high regard is the immeasurable positive influence Blavity can have on culture, media and tech. According to a recent Nielson study, there are close to 12 million black millennials in America, many of whom are tech-savvy, socially and civically engaged and optimistic about the future. With $162 billion in buying power, black millennials have the ability to significantly influence culture and our world at large.

My Goals As Your New Editor-in-Chief

Above all else, authenticity and integrity are what black millennials care about most and it is also what drove me to work at Blavity as these qualities are crucial components of the company’s identity.

As the first-ever editor-in-chief of Blavity.com and Shadow & Act, I will strive to build these platforms to offer the best black news and entertainment coverage on the web. As a journalist/advocate for black people and our stories, I want to work with writers to provide thorough and credible coverage of issues important to communities of color. As an Ethiopian-American, I want to identify successful ways we can better tell the stories of black people not just in America but in Africa and all over the world.

I want to expand our contributor network to share more voices on our platform. I want our stories to entertain, inform and educate, which eventually will lead to greater collective wisdom.

I want us to celebrate our wins, embrace our flaws and effectively manage our missteps.

I want us to tap into our creativity and spread our influence across every corner of the internet and the real world.

I want to encourage us to be more politically engaged and have increased awareness on every issue that affects our daily lives so we can make the best decisions for us and our loved ones.

What’s Next for Blavity

This is our time.

Let us tell stories of our existence, trials and triumphs in the ways only we know best. Let us see ourselves and our stories better reflected on platforms that prioritize us. Let us define our desires and downfalls on our terms and unapologetically show how dynamic and multidimensional we are and can be. I look forward to working with our Blavity community of young creators of color and the fearless founders of Blavity to initiate, execute and engage with readers on exciting original content.

This is what Blavity is all about and building together is what I’m excited to do.

Tweet me or DM me on Instagram if you want to connect and cheers to reppin’ harder for all of us in 2018 and beyond.

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