The Black Lesbian Writers’ Room is an inclusive intergenerational pilot apprenticeship program for Black women, aged 17 to 63, selected through a nomination and application process. While all the writers in the room are Black, they are not all queer. All gender identities and sexual orientations were welcomed to participate in this pilot program.
Alexis J. Pegues is a Chicago based activist, organizer, and scholar. Her politics are rooted in her divine love for Black women and girls, their safety and their joy. Alexis is passionate about radical Black motherhood, spaces that cultivate leadership with Black women and building collectives. She recently developed her first pilot titled “Grow” and is looking forward to expanding her craft. Inspired by sisterhood and Black women, Alexis wants to bring the beauty of our lived experiences into film and television. In her spare time, you can catch her twirling in Black Girl Magic and “giving thanks to her ancestors.”
Carmenita Peoples is a formally trained educator, financial services specialist and artistic performer, who skillfully combines these talents to “edutain” her audiences. Ms. Peoples uses storytelling, song, dance, improvisation and poetry to bridge cross-cultural and generation gaps.
Chakka Reeves is a digital storyteller with an educational background, social justice lens and a mental library of media references. As Industry Pathways Manager for Free Spirit Media, Chakka leads Free Spirit Media’s creative workforce development initiatives—providing underrepresented emerging media-makers ages 18-25 with professional development, production and skills training, mentorship and work-placed opportunities.
Chakka is also a multimedia producer. Her projects include the short film Fuzzy Legs (2018), many short non-fiction video pieces, and the Highwater podcast, a forum for artists and creatives to share their stories. Her work as an educator and consultant includes clients such as After School Matters, Alternative Schools Network (Chicago), Columbia College Chicago’s Convergence Academies Program, Rebuild Foundation and School of the Art Institute’s Continuing Education Department.
In addition to advising, teaching and producing video and digital content, Chakka is an avid essayist. Her written work has been featured in publications such as The Root, Black Girl in Om and The Lighthouse.
Chanel Glover is a lawyer, teacher, and playwright, with a focus on screenwriting, fiction, & music. In May 2014, she completed an MFA in playwriting at Ohio University, where her full-length plays How to Eat and Oreo, Black as the Dirt and They’re Not Rappers received staged readings at the Seabury Quinn, Jr. Playwrights’ Festival. Chanel was a playwright in terraNOVA Collective’s Groundbreakers Playwrights Group in 2015. She’s screenwriter for the Sex is a God Thing short, and for the upcoming 2019 web-series of the same title. She recently made the move from NYC to LA to continue pursuing her dreams.
Coquie Hughes is a self-described indie showrunner who makes it happen! She prides herself as being an accomplished independent filmmaker who has produced numerous projects with limited resources, yet has managed to garner a significant amount of exposure by building an audience from the ground up. At one time, she managed to accumulate up to 10 million video views and 100K+ subscribers collectively. She specializes in branding original scripted content for niche viewers. She relentlessly works at producing films that are geared towards urban queer black women. She is also an entrepreneur founder with her company iM A DigiTech Kid, which is a staffing solution company that provides provisional instructors for youth based organizations to teach K-12 technology arts. In addition to being a filmmaker, Coquie Hughes is also a playwright and stage director, producing over a dozen stage-plays. She is a native Chicagoan where she currently resides as a single mother with her 12 year old daughter, Peacejourney, and her 10 year old son, Truth. For more information about the film works of Coquie Hughes, please visit her website.
Donna Weems‘ desire is to find the right fit for an outlet for her writing and to reach a broad audience by telling life stories from the perspective of the elder, Black lesbian lens.
Joyy Norris’ work as a filmmaker is significantly influenced by her identity as a Black American Woman invested in discovering solutions to the issues that disrupt progress in society through art and conversation. She finds value in this pursuit through the dynamic and effective form of documentary storytelling. Bringing stories of heritage, personal enrichment and surmounted hardships into focus through an agency-driven lens defines me her as a creative.
Krü Maekdo is an archivist and self taught creative director with an eye for Visual Storytelling. She uses various mediums to document current times while collecting memories of the past. Her recent exhibit in Chicago entitled the ‘Black Lesbian Archives: Bridging the Community Gap’ explored past-present narratives and the importance of archiving Black Lesbian history. When she’s not in the zone, you can find her Channeling the Force at the Jedi Enclave.
Lucy Shumpert has been an artist for 56 years. Inspired by her mother, she believes “Art” is constant and only the canvas and the artist change. Lucy spent her first 36 years creating art to save herself. However, over the past 20 years she has shared her poetry and art through open mics and as a member of two artist collectives. Lucy was the 2009 Winner of Chicago’s Gays Got Talent, former emcee of POWWOW Open Mic and co-creator of The W.O.M.B. (Womyn’s Open Mic for Building and Birthing Safe Space) a monthly open mic held at Affinity Community Services.
Maazi Chery is currently in her senior year of high school. She majors in Cinematic Arts and is also involved in a number of student-led activities including Student Government, Black Student Union and Film Club. Maazi plans on pursuing a post-secondary education in Business Administration or Environmental Science. When she’s not at school she likes to listen to music, practice photography, and eat!
Marla P. Johnson is an abstract expressionist, educator and professional student. Marla began her professional career in the service of her Chicagoland community having received Illinois State Certification and Licensure as an Emergency Medical Technician / Fire-Fighter II. Marla holds a Baccalaureate in Computer Science with a minor in Business Administration and Master of Science Degree in Computer Science from Governors State University. She is currently employed as an Adjunct Professor and Aquatics Safety Instructor within the Chicagoland area.
Morgan Elise Johnson is a Chicago-based filmmaker committed to reshaping the narrative of Black Chicago. She recently launched The TRiiBE, a digital platform that hosts curated content centered on Black Chicago from through Black Millennial lens.
As a staff producer for Milwaukee-based 371 Productions, she produced and co-directed There Are Jews Here (2016), a documentary that explores Judaism in small communities throughout the United States that are struggling to survive. She field associate produced on the Kartemquin Films 6-part documentary series Hard Earned, which aired on Al Jazeera America. She also associate produced Across the Line (Sundance selection 2016), a documentary and Virtual Reality experience that allows users to explore abortion clinic harassment.
Morgan has a BS in Radio/Television/Film from Northwestern University and is a native of the Chicagoland area.
Rebba Moore is an aspiring writer living in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park. Living on the verge of post-woke and post-ratchet, she is currently writing thru an existential breakthrough as she develops an original script for an experimental series with OpenTV. She graduated from the University of Chicago (MA ’15) and Rice University (BA, ’12), Last spring she participated in OpenTV’s writing workshop, and she is currently preparing to direct the pilot for the original experimental series Conspiracy Theorist.
Shahari Moore is the Historian Emeritus for the Cosby Screenwriting Program at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. She’s the Writer/Director of Brooks People, B Love and Swimmin’ Lesson, which have won awards and screened worldwide. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Chicago State University. She’s facilitated screenwriting workshops at the Art Institute, the Chicago Writer’s Studio, and Black Cinema House. In 2018, her team won first place in the Allstate 48 Hour Film Challenge, a production grant from the Gene Siskel Film Center, and IFP Chicago selected Shahari’s documentary, Cool: On Gwendolyn Brooks, for fiscal sponsorship.
Terri A. Johnson was born in Provident Hospital during a blizzard and has lived in Chicago all of her life. She is a product of public schools, south side churches, Free Street Theater, basement parties blaring house music, Jet and Ebony, Jr., asphalt and stoop games played before streetlights came on and CTA trips across the city’s dividing lines. She is the descendent of coloreds and Negroes who fought hard to name themselves Black and African American.
Terri’s day job is working to reduce racism’s power. By night, she studies art and how it captures struggle and catalyzes change.
Tribble is a stand-up comedian, host and radio personality. She is the creator, producer and host of P Power Radio, a podcast that shares the stories of revolutionary millennial women and the history of the world they are working to change P Power Radio has featured a range of women artists, activists, entrepreneurs and bosses from Chicago and beyond, and was listed on Ebony.com as 1 of 5 Black Podcasts to Have in Your Arsenal. Tribble emcees live events including a monthly womyn’s panel called Chit Chat with the Cliche’ Collective, the monthly Queer Comedy Show at Reunion Chicago and trivia nights for Whaddayaknow Trivia Chicago, performs stand-up comedy at venues and curated events regularly, and appears monthly on Chicago Public Radio station Vocalo, as a panelist on The Morning AMp. Tribble is an outspoken advocate for Black liberation and women’s rights, and supports and advocates for the LGBTQI community in Chicago and beyond.