Poata "Alvie" McKree
Artist || Qoya Teacher|| Art Therapist
ALVIE'S INTERVIEW: August 16th, 12:00pm
Poata Alvie McKree is an interdisciplinary artist, arts therapist and Qoya teacher. Her work is driven by a desire to foster connection to the earth, to people, to the ancestors, and to the divine. This manifests variously through facilitating therapeutic art workshops, offering Qoya, ritual, and ceremonial gatherings for women, and using performance and textile-based installations to reimagine the lived experiences of her ancestors as a means of healing the rifts in cultural identity caused by colonisation, migration, and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Alvie is currently teaching part-time at Elam School of Fine Arts in Tāmaki Makaurau, facilitating therapeutic art and movement workshops, and developing her first play Black Māori Girl with support from BCA.
Singer || Songwriter
MEZ'S INTERVIEW: August 23rd, 12:00pm
Mez Swami (stage name, Pharaoh Swami) is a dynamic performer, lyricist and activist who resides in Auckland, New Zealand. Born in Khartoum, Sudan Mez would say he is “straight from the Garden of Eden” and came to New Zealand as a refugee at the age of five. Formerly a member of hip hop group “Died in ‘69”, their track “New Wave” featured UFC Champion Israel Adesanya in its video and received well over 200K plays on Spotify. Mez has performed at many of Aotearoa’s leading music festivals including Rhythm and Vine, Northern Bass and Splore. His high energy sets, matched with a captivating persona and crowd control, has landed Pharaoh opening slots for international acts including A$AP Ferg and Flying Lotus. Most recently, Mez was one of the key organisers of theBlack Lives Matter protest on 1 June 2020 in Auckland.
Janina nana Yaa
Interdisciplinary Artist |Performance ||
Music || Nyame Dua Practitioner
JANINA'S INTERVIEW: August 30th, 12:00pm
Janina Nana Yaa is a non-binary interdisciplinary artist based in Aotearoa. Their creations interweave deep ritualistic connection to their Ghanaian ancestry, fluid vocals and channeled movement, which manifests itself in performance art and music. Janina aims to cultivate spells and space that harvest a deeper relationship to ourselves as Ancestor and Land; demonstrating the fluid embrace between all things and the healing that can take place if we allow it. Janina's practice also manifests as Nyame Dua; a sharing of Tarot and Ancestral communication/affirmation using this tool of divination and guided intuition. They are particularly passionate about uplifting Black community and initiating connection with self and what this looks like individually and collectively.
Singer || Actor || Musician
QUENTIN'S INTERVIEW: September 6th 12:00pm
Quentin Warren relocated from Los Angeles to New Zealand in 2017 to explore and expand his understanding of music and theater on an international stage as well as connect with artists with an alternative world view. He is familiar face on a number of U.S commercials and guest starred on ‘The Wilds’, Amazon Prime’s latest teen drama series. His recent NZ performances include Lucy Lawless’ immersive extravaganza “Pleasuredome the Musical” and Indian Ink’s “Welcome to the MurderHouse.” Quentin obtained a BFA in acting at Howard University in Washington D.C. and then an MFA in producing for theater and film from California Institute of the Arts.
Creative Entrepreneur || Activist
SAHARA'S INTERVIEW: Sept.13th, 12:00pm
Sahara Magura is a young Pasifika-Black creative entrepreneur and activist. Through her page, the ‘Afro -Islander’ she chronicles the impact of racism and how its has affected her growing up in New Zealand.She uses the hashtag #iBelong to emphasise her desire to be accepted for who she is and not judged by the colour of her skin. She has also produced merchandise to spread the message that racism should never be tolerated and despite her young age, works tirelessly to reach out to other children that have endured racism and bullying. She has a deep passion for justice and advocacy and sees the arts as a way to advocate for young people who experience the ramifications of racism and ignorance, both in the school system and outside it.
DOMINGO'S INTERVIEW: Sept. 20th, 12:00pm
Before making New Zealand his home, Domingo lived in London, where he was well-known in the Latino community for his unique style of "nueva trova" a musical movement which has its roots in traditional Cuban folk music. In 1999 he composed music for the film Cuban Love by American director Joshua Bee Alafia. Together with the Thabani band he toured the United Kingdom and collaborated with musicians as diverse as Yusa, Mister Acorde and Jose luis Estrada.
Chef || TV personality || Author
JAX'S INTERVIEW: Sept.27, 12:00pm
From solo Mum to representing Progressive Enterprises Ltd and Countdown Supermarkets, Jax Hamilton is known to many as a contestant in *MasterChef NZ. By the time she stood in the gripping final, she was already a loved and trusted foodie figure in New Zealand homes. Since then she has continued to develop her TV presence, written two best-selling cookbooks, contributes regularly to iconic food and wine magazine, Cuisine, and recently, released her highly successful online, web series, Jax Food Hax. With a British (cockney), Jamaican heritage, ’Jax’ is simply a recipe of ingredients, people, charity, humour, inspiration and adventure. Every dish, mixed together with a combination of personality and love.
Hip hop instructor || BLM supporter
RICKY'S INTERVIEW: October 4th, 12:00pm
Hip hop Instructor, Ricky Wilkins has always used dancing to bring people together and creating positive energy. Hailing from Los Angeles, Ricky is also a youth worker and has facilitated dialogues on race and class with the youth he works with. With a BA in Social work from Utah, Ricky has always had a passion to help others and make sure that people are treated fairly. He proudly supports Black Lives Matter and self-identifies as a “Laughing revolutionary” understanding that even in these horrific times, we have to find something be smile about. Always dancing, always laughing, and always fighting: Ricky continues to understand this world, giving a “beat” to the “Rhythmless.”
Healer || Educator || ARTivist
SHARL'S INTERVIEW: October 11th, 12:00pm
Born in Durban, South Africa Sharl Fynn-Wagner graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree of Technology in Somatology (Uni of Tech, Durban) and later completed her Masters Degree in Health Promotion at the University of KwaZulu Natal with Complementary Therapies and Wellness as her niche. Born of mixed ethnicity in a time where people of colour had limited resources available to them, Sharl’s journey of self-discovery and ancestral background has propelled her drive towards working with indigenous women to promote self-acceptance, love and healing.She currently lectures at an Institute of Technology in the Bay of Plenty and as an advocator of holistic wellness, where she finds joy in the role she plays in teaching and connecting with young women and watching them grow.
Spoken Word || Singer || Songwriter
BOHEMIAN'S INTERVIEW: Oct. 18th, 12:00pm
Bohemian Thanni was born in the UK with ancestry hailing from Nigeria. He is a trained well-being facilitator and Ka Huna transformational body worker, based on the Hawaiian Huna philosophy. On the music scene he performs under ‘Bohemian Thought’ and he is known for his energetic and charismatic styles. He is also a recording artist who released his debut album ‘Magnificent Dyslexic’ in 2011. This album earned him notoriety when it won the best Afro-Jazz fusion at the Afro-Australian Music (2014) and Movie Awards in Sydney, Australia. He is looking forward to the release of his sophomore album, ‘Nomadic Soul’ in 2021, with the single, “Black” released back in 2018.
JESS'S INTERVIEW: Nov. 1st 12:00pm
Jess Bourke, better known as JessB, is a rapper and former professional netballer. Jess has been crafting raps since high school and credits Missy Elliott and Timbaland as her musical heroes. She has released two EPs (Bloom and New Views) and won Best New Zealand Act at the 2019 MTV Europe Music Awards. Performing at a diverse range of festivals and events including Venice Biennale, Rhythm & Vines, Northern Bass, Auckland City Limits and Splendour in the Grass, Jess is stamping her authority as a powerful female rap artist, breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for other female musicians.
Poet || ARTivist ||Educator
SONYA'S INTERVIEW: Nov. 8th, 12:00pm
Artist, Activist and transformational leader Sonya Renee Taylor is a National and International award winning writer and performer, published author, and founder and Radical Executive Officer of The Body is Not An Apology, an international digital media and education company committed to radical self-love and body empowerment as the foundational tool of social justice, whose content reaches over 1 million people monthly. She has shared stages with such luminaries as the late Amiri Baraka, Angela Davis, Naomi Klein, Sonia Sanchez and others. In 2016, Sonya was a guest of the Obama White House, where she spoke about TBINAA’s work at the intersection of LGBTQIAA+ issues and disability justice. You can learn more about her radical self love work at www.thebodyisnotanapology.com.
Asya Mohamed Abeid
Fashion Designer || Creative Entrepreneur
ASYA'S INTERVIEW: Oct 25th, 12:00pm
Creative entrepreneur and fashion designer Asya Mohamed Abeid is the founder of Zanzibar, an African Fashion house which specialises in creating bespoke fashion items as well as providing a range of African inspired homewares. From the island of Zanzibar (an island off the coast of Tasmania) Asya has Portuguese and Iranian heritage on her father’s side and Mombasian, Kenyan and Yemeni on her mother’s. Both the Arab and the African world are entwined in her heritage enabling her to draw upon a range of rich histories to inspire her creations. She uses kintege, an African fabric she to develop a distinctive range of cushion covers, wall art, children’s, women’s and men’s clothing and accessories.
A Black Creatives Aotearoa project supported by