Essence Mason is a writer, producer and entrepreneur from New York City and a CCNY alumnus. In the past, Mason has written for the Everything Girls Love website. Mason’s first short titled, “Those Tiny Pieces” starring Kay Lofton, Fleidy Aponte and Shannon Wallace was an Official Selection of the 2017 Hope Film Awards.
Chanel Samuels is a visual artist and graduate of SUNY Purchase. Samuels has her hands in many things when it comes to the arts. She is a freelance photographer, full-time screenwriter and she also teaches film to elementary school students. Directing short films and musicals are two things she’s recently added to her list of skills. Samuels’ latest work, ‘Drowning’ is set to premiere at a venue in NYC early 2020.
Malcolm Smith is a multimedia personality who has always had a love for the arts. Smith studied theater with a heavy concentration in playwriting and improvisation for seven years before venturing into a career in radio broadcasting. He graduated from The City College of New York, earning a B.S in Advertising and Public Relations, with a double minor in Journalism and Theater. While enrolled at CCNY, Smith worked at the Apollo Theater as an Apollo Young Producer (AYP). During his time as an AYP he had the chance to host and correspond for several events. He was also the social media coordinator for all AYP events as well as the lead scriptwriter.
In addition to Smith’s work at the Apollo, he was one of the co-hosts of the weekly entertainment web talk show, Still Diverted. He is currently writing a new web series that is in pre-production and will begin shooting in Spring 2020.
Simone Kali Smith is an arts and entertainment enthusiast who holds a B.A. in Film. She found a love for theater when she was younger, performing and writing with City Lights Youth Theater and NAACP ACT-SO, and continuing with acting classes through college.
While in college, Smith learned about the different avenues in video production by interning at Atlantic Records/WMG, Edward Bass Films, The Source Magazine, and Jones Magazine. For years, Smith worked with viBE Theater Experience, educating teens in filmmaking and creating original music videos.
Smith co-founded the collaborative creative team For Art’s Sake 125 where she produces, writes, and directs film and web projects . She freelances as a videographer for web content and serves as various crew roles in film/video productions. She served as a videographer for web content on AmoreLuxe.com and created a web-series centering a Black female teenager titled “Sixteen Unsweetened.”
Growing up in the ’90’s, Ana watched artists such as Brandy top the charts. The repetition of one cassette tape with her and Mary J. Blige led to what would become more than just a love for music for Ana. At the age of 8, singing was Ana’s only dream, but after convincing two family members to write songs for her and having fallen in love with the results, Ana began penning songs of her own. Years later, and after dabbling in other forms of art while continuing to write, Ana has decided to follow the one path that always felt fulfilling. Ana’s recent works include her 2019 EP, “All For You” and the digital release of her 2013 EP, “Artbreak Motel.”
Venor Yard is a singer, songwriter and producer, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. His career officially began in 2006 with a placement in the NAACP Image Award-nominated film “Take The Lead,” starring Antonio Banderas. Venor’s music production credits also include works for artists such as Cassidy, Jadakiss, Coldplay and Beyonce, with commercial credits for companies such as Target And Sears. Venor appeared as a lead actor in the musical, Milk Carton Molly.