OUR 2019 AUTHORS

Mahogany Browne

Writer, Educator


Mahogany L. Browne was born in Oakland, California, and has been based in Brooklyn, New York, for over 15 years. Browne is unapologetic in her work as a spoken word poet, author and activist. She uses her personal experience with addiction, racism, sexism and oppression to create a platform through poetry for women and girls to feel empowered and heard.

Browne has been featured in the PBS News Hour segment Brief But Spectacular and in HBO’s Brave New Voices as the artistic director at Urban Word NYC. She is the publisher of Penmanship Books, curator of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Friday Night Slam, founder of the Women Writers of Color Reading Room, and the director of Black Lives Matter at Pratt Institute.


Veronica Cervera

Author, Blogger


A lover of books, food and travel, Veronica Cervera started a blog of recipes in Spanish 10 years ago, where she shares recipes from all over the world. Her recipes appeared in Baby Center en Español, Telemundo 51, Travel Curious Often, and Nuestra Voz.
Cervera published a book of Cuban recipes, La Cocina Cubana De Vero(Vero’s Cuban Recipes) in 2015. In September 2013, she was selected a Top Blogger at LATISM, and her blog was one of the four finalists in the category of Best Food. She has been selected by NBC News for the 10 Latina Bloggers to Be Watching in 2016 and finalist of the Tecla Awards as a Top Food Creator in Hispanicize 2017.


J. R. Harris

Author, Speaker, Wilderness Backpacker, Photographer, Founder & CEO of JRH Marketing Services


J. Robert Harris ("J.R.") is an author, speaker, business owner, ex-New York City taxi driver and lifelong explorer
travelling solo to the most remote places on the planet. Now in his seventies, and a member of the prestigious
Explorers Club, Harris recently did a solo trek in the Dolomite Mountains. His book, Way Out There,​ ​Adventures of
a Wilderness Trekker, contains his travel tales of 50 years.
Professionally, Harris is founder and president of JRH Marketing Services. Established in 1975, it is the oldest
African-American-owned marketing research and consulting company in the U.S. In his speaking engagements,
Harris emphasizes the importance of having more people, especially people of color and urban youth, experience nature.

Dr. Randal Jelks

Professor, Editor, Author


Randal Maurice Jelks is Professor of American Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Kansas. He holds appointments in the departments of History and Religious Studies, and is Co-Editor of the journal American Studies.

Dr. Jelks is also the author of two award-winning books. His works include African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids (The University of Illinois Press, 2006) and Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography (University of North Carolina Press, 2012), which was awarded the 2013 Lillian Smith Book Award and the 2013 Literary Award, Black Caucus of the American Library Association. His most recent book is Faith and Struggle in the Lives of Four African Americans: Ethel Waters, Mary Lou Williams, Eldridge Cleaver, and Muhammad Ali.


Lemuel LaRoche

Author, Activist, Speaker


Lemuel “Life” LaRoche is the founder and executive director of Chess and Community Conference, Inc., a nonprofit youth empowerment organization dedicated to developing young leaders and critical thinkers in Athens, Georgia, and surrounding counties. He fuses chess with conventional therapeutic methods to curb impulsive behavior among youth with delinquent pasts.
LaRoche has over 15 years of experience in adolescent and community development and brings a fresh, innovative approach to his work. He is the subject of Life the Griot (2014), a documentary highlighting his work and accomplishments.


Chef Juan Montier

Executive Chef, TV & Radio Personality, Author


Chef Juan Montier is Co-Owner and Executive Chef of the catering and event décor company Chez Montier, Inc. For Chef Juan, presentation and artistry is as important as flavor. With a background in architecture and interior design, he views cuisine through the eyes of a visual artist. He also sketches his dishes as part of his creative process and is the author of Designing the Gift of Food.

Chef Juan is no stranger to food TV. He has demonstrated his cooking acumen on ABC’s The View, WXIA’s Atlanta & COAtlanta Plugged In on CBS 46, and Real Moms, Real Stories, Real Savvy for PBS. He has also made radio appearances, including The Steve Harvey Morning Show and the V103 Morning Show.


Dr. A. J. Nuriddin

Author, Columnist, TV Producer/Host


Dr. Nuriddin has been a columnist on health matters for the international newspaper Muslim Journal for over thirty years. For twenty years, Dr. Nuriddin has been the executive producer/host of a live weekly call-in television program on Cable 8 TV aired in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Live streaming on Wednesdays at 7PM at GCTV.VIEBIT.com) Dr. Nuriddin is the author of three books on health and nutrition. He is the founder of Success By Health.

Dr. Nuriddin received his BA and MA in nutrition from the American Holistic College of Nutrition in Birmingham, Alabama. He holds a PhD in holistic nutrition from the American Holistic College of Nutrition. His doctorate degree in naturopathy is from the Clayton School of Natural Healing in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Nuriddin is a sought-after speaker in mosques, churches and college campuses throughout the United States and the Caribbean.


Christina Proenza-Coles

Author, Assistant Professor


In American Founders, Christina Proenza-Coles chronicles how Black people developed and defended New World settlements, undermined slavery and championed freedom throughout the hemisphere from the sixteenth century on, working in every trade and profession.

Proenza-Coles holds a dual doctorate in sociology and history from the New School for Social Research.  She has been a lifelong student of American culture and history in Miami, New York, Havana, and Charlottesville, as well as an assistant professor of the Atlantic World/African Diaspora at Virginia State University.


Erin Lowry

Author, Speaker, TV Personality


Author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together and Broke Millennial Takes on Investing: A Beginner's Guide to Leveling Up Your Money, Erin Lowry’s first book was deemed one of the best money books of 2017 by MarketWatch.

With a style often described as refreshing and conversational, Lowry has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, CNBC, and Fox & Friends. She has written for Fast Company, Cosmopolitan Magazine and Refinery29, and regularly speaks at universities and conferences around the country. Lowry spent most of her childhood living in Asia and now resides in New York City with her husband.


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