JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST TEAM
Creative Director and Head Writer
Paul Oakley Stovall
PAUL OAKLEY STOVALL is a writer, actor, singer, songwriter, producer, teacher, and political activist. He currently plays George Washington in the first national tour of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s HAMILTON. As a writer, his play IMMEDIATE FAMILY, directed by Phylicia Rashad at the Goodman Theatre and Mark Taper Forum, has been Jeff, Steinberg, and GLAAD award nominated, and has been seen regionally all over the US. His new musical, CLEAR: A NEW MUSICAL EXPERIENCE, loosely based on his time working for the Obamas, has been workshopped at O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference and the Irish Institute of Music and Song in Dublin, where he is currently researching and writing an eight episode limited series based on Frederick Douglass’ time in Ireland in 1845. While in Ireland, Mr Stovall has also co-written and performed several songs inspired by Mr Douglass’ travels, and brought to life several of Mr Douglass’ world famous speeches for #DouglassWeek and the US Embassy of Ireland’s podcast. He is also hard at work on several original tv projects, including Fathers and Sons, Extraction, and Transmanaut Chronicles.
Other film and tv include writing two award winning short films, BUFFALO and COLUMBUS, and he was a staff writer on the hit STARZ network series, Survivor’s Remorse starring Tichina Arnold.
Mr. Stovall spent seven valuable years serving as an Advance Staff Lead and media logistics coordinator for the Obama administration, which took him all over the US and the world, including travels to Ghana, South Africa (three times), Egypt, Turkey, London, Denmark, Sweden, Kosovo, Czech Republic, South Korea, Chile, and Ukraine, among others.
EMPIRE is a dynamic, full-service, New York City and Tokyo-based experiential and entertainment production agency that designs and produces projects for corporate, brands, association, not-for-profit and private clients. Established in 1993, Empire has executed projects of every type in over 100 countries.
Empire has produced major events, broadcasts, parties, conferences, launches, festivals and awards programs including the Samsung Hope for Children Gala, the White House U.N. General Assembly Head of State Reception, the TIME 100 Gala, The Tribeca Film Festival, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue launch, The Webby Awards, The Clinton Global Initiative’s Global Citizen Awards, The Gotham Awards, the Film Society of Lincoln Center Chaplin Award Gala, the Keep a Child Alive Black Ball, Microsoft Connect Developer Conference, Internet Week and the Grand Opening of Atlantis, Palm Island in Dubai.
Empire projects have included participation by artists and leaders such as Adele, Jay-Z, Bono, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Prince, Bruno Mars, Sting, David Bowie, Andrea Bocelli, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, Blue Man Group, and Stevie Wonder.
For more than two decades, Empire has been an industry leader in the creative application of concept development, design, talent acquisition, precision production and media activation.
NICOLE JANUARIE is a Showrunner/Director who partners with brands and individuals to assess how to communicate their message through strong, impactful content creatively.
After more than a decade of ideating, strategizing, and directing videos for multi-million dollar brands and start-ups, Nicole has learned what truly drives conversations and move individuals to an emotional connection. It's not mastering the marketing flavor of the week; it's how well you connect with the heart-beating people you're trying to help and inspire and how effectively you communicate your understanding of their needs back to them.
The former Managing Partner and co-founder of 19th & Park Inc. and 2019 Adweek Creative 100 honoree recently focused her attention on launching a content platform called We Heart Our Lives, dedicated to eliminating the stigma around mental health and suicide in the black community.
She's been featured in WWD, Forbes, ESSENCE, and appeared on the grand jury for the New York Festivals Advertising Awards and Adweek's Experiential Awards.
Community Partnerships Director
Devon C. Lawrence
DEVON has a passion for helping non-profits of all sizes discover that success and growth is achievable and possible for everyone. For the past ten years, she has worked for and with a range of non-profits focused on the arts, social services, community innovation and development, and family services within healthcare. This broad experience has given Devon a comprehensive understanding of what different organizations need to succeed. Her clients have praised her ability to be well attuned to the needs, opportunities, and challenges of non-profit organizations and her reliability as a source of guidance on fundraising and organizational development. Most recently, Devon spent two years living in Singapore and working with international non-profits. Understanding the difference between best practices in the United States and those in Southeast Asia was an invaluable lesson that allowed Devon to help organizations in Singapore discover new tools and resources, and to share her skills and expertise with a flourishing community of non-profits.
Prior to consulting, in 2017 Devon was the Director of Development for the Lowline, leading fundraising strategy and operations for a $100MM capital campaign. From 2010 to 2017, Devon held strategic roles at two of the most formidable fundraising institutions in New York City: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Robin Hood Foundation. At The Met, she led the planning and strategy for high-end capital campaign events for the Southwest Wing Project, a multi-year $600MM effort to rebuild the contemporary art wing, and also ran the ‘Travel with The Met’ program representing 30 trips, 600 travelers, and 50+ countries per year. At Robin Hood, she managed the year-end donor solicitation campaigns, increased fiscal year donation fulfillment by 15% over 3 years, ran cultivation events, and improved protocols for processing $80MM in donor funding. Before moving into development, Devon worked at the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum supporting operations and events for the Curatorial and Education Departments.
TINA FARRIS has spent the last two decades as tour manager for legends including the Roots, Chris Rock, Nicki Minaj, and Queen Latifah. Her career highlights include overseeing Lil Wayne’s America's Most Wanted tour; guiding the Black Eyed Peas through 15 countries, 76 cities and 99 sold-out shows to gross more than $86 million; and producing and managing Chris Rock’s Total Blackout Tour. She is a go-to logistics and production ace for the Roots crew, several of the band’s collaborators (Jill Scott, Common, and Pharrell) and, subsequently, some of the world’s premier events (the Super Bowl, World Cup, and NBA All-Star Game). Farris has spent 20 years amassing a diverse clientele that includes D’Angelo, Maxwell, Lauryn Hill, the Internet, Syd, and Steve Lacy. As a woman who’s found success in a male-dominated industry, she is dedicated to empowering other women through Decades, her mentorship conference for women of all backgrounds and orientations.
AARTI TANDON is a seasoned lawyer, human rights advocate, and smart cities expert, who has been deeply committed to building inclusive economies for the last twenty years.
As the CEO of Citizen Eight, a global firm building sustainable and equitable 21st century communities, Ms. Tandon has been instrumental in advising cities around the world on best practices to address complex challenges. Through Smart City Expo Atlanta, the only U.S. edition of Fira Barcelona’s Smart City Expo World Congress, and as the former Executive Director of Smart Cities New York, Ms. Tandon has convened 1000+ global and local leaders on creating equity, resiliency, and economic mobility by harnessing the $1.6 trillion global smart city marketplace. She is currently a member of the World Economic Forum’s G20 Global Smart City Alliance.
Marketing and Public Relations Team
Skai Blue Media
SKAI BLUE MEDIA is a full-service public relations agency based in Philadelphia and New York City. They bring together experience from high profile PR firms in New York and Los Angeles in addition to maintaining close relationships with media outlets, business networks, writers, influencers and decision-makers.
Skai Blue Media specializes in helping businesses grow their clientele base. Whether they are helping a client prepare for an opening or generating press opportunities in regional and national publications, their unique pitching style secures targeted coverage in niche and national publications. However big or small, they provide each client with an individualized approach to garnering press and creating unique collaborations.
Their clients include Forbes Under 30 Summit, Comcast NBCUniversal, African American Museum in Philadelphia, Dell, HSN, Global Citizen, Ashley Graham, and many more.