#teamEBONY

KYRA KYLES, VICE PRESIDENT, HEAD OF DIGITAL EDITORIAL FOR EBONY.COM AND JETMAG.COM
 
Kyra is the Vice President and Head of Digital for ebony.com and jetmag.com.  Prior to this role, this award-winning journalist, TV personality, content producer and humor writer served as Editorial Director for jetmag.com where she grew traffic by adding to its arsenal an array of unique Web series, expert-enhanced columns and reader-supplied Op Eds called Talk Backs.
 
This Northwestern University alum, originally joined Johnson Publishing Company in 2011 as a Senior Editor for JET's print publication before being tapped to helm the outlet's Website and critically acclaimed app.  If you ride a little further back in her wayback machine, Kyra gained national recognition as a Tribune Company reporter and columnist/creator of the "Kyles Files," a celebrated pop culture column accompanied by a weekly WGN-TV pop culture segment. A winner of the company's coveted Jones Beck Award for editorial writing, she also innovated "the track-off," an online competition for indie artists, which was reverse published in the millennial-focused Tribune RedEye publication.
 
Kyra, one of WVON and Ariel Capital's "Top 40 Under 40 Game Changers" and Chicago Defender's "40 Under 40 to Watch" is immediate past President of the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago chapter.  She also is a speaker and lecturer who taught a well-regarded course at her alma mater on hip-hop origins and culture.
A graduate of Northwestern University's respected Medill School of Journalism, Kyra holds both a bachelor’s and accelerated Master’s degree in journalism with a concentration in political science.  In recent years, she went back to her alma mater in Evanston to co-instruct an African American studies course entitled “Hip Hop Origins and Directions.”
 
Keep up with this Chicago native via @thekylesfiles, on Instagram or follow her on Facebook. To send feedback and/or story ideas to her, please e-mail kyra (at) johnsonpublishing.com, though pitches for online coverage are best directed to digitalpitches (at) ebony.com.  

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EDITORIAL

LATOYA CROSS, EDITOR
LaToya Cross is  a writer and editor for EBONY.com and the social media manager for the JETmag.com platform.  Her coverage specialties include: Art, poetry, philanthropy, celebrities and music.
Prior to working with JET, her talents as a media consultant and journalist led her to work with High Style Marketing & PR and Carte Blanche LTD., on projects ranging from grassroots organizations and community events to high-profiled celebrity red carpets and music festivals, managing media, overseeing the interview process – at times conducting on –the-spot interviews; managing social media accounts, research, brand messaging and strategy, writing and production set-up. In 2011 and while working as the Associate Editor of N’DIGO Magapaper, she was accepted to participate in SPJ’s Reporter’s Institute which aided in advanced knowledge of journalism, sourcing, pitching and utilizing various social platforms to increase visibility and storytelling.
LaToya has been published in N’DIGO Magapaper, ndigo.com, “The Barbershop Show” on Vocalo - sister radio station to WBEZ, Heed Magazine, AndWePresent.com, JET Magazine, JETMag.com and EBONY.com.
In addition to working in media, LaToya’s passions expand to working with youth. She worked as an After-School instructor with Orion’s Mind teaching reading and math. As a lover of the spoken word art form, literacy and mentoring youth, she also volunteers with Open Books Literacy Program.
 
A graduate of Specs Howard School of Broadcast & Media Arts in Southfield, MI, she studied Television and Radio with a concentration in TV production and earned her bachelor’s in Magazine Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.  You can catch this Detroit native laughing, sharing work, thoughts, music, art and capturing life via her iPhone 5s via her handle of @ToizStory on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For pitches in the realm of culture, music and film, send an e-mail to LaToya’s attention at digitalpitches (at) ebony.com.
 
MADISON J. GRAY

Madison J. Gray is Managing Editor, Digital Editorial, for EBONY.com and JETMag.com. In this role, he is responsible for the daily report readers see on both websites and also for our newsgathering efforts, content creation and interaction with readers.  He also edits content on both sites to ensure it meets the highest standards of journalistic quality and periodically writes pieces for the websites as well.He joined Johnson Publishing in 2015 after a career that has included stints at news organizations including The Detroit News, the Associated Press, NYTimes.com, TIME.com and CBSNews.com. He was also a news writer and consultant to Jubilee Radio in Keta, Ghana. In addition, Gray been a contributing writer to TheRoot.com, BlackVoices.com, The Crisis, and NewsOne.com. He has also participated in fellowships with the Poynter Institute and the Knight Digital Media Center. He has won several awards for his work including one from the New York Association of Black Journalists for Online News Feature and from the Independent Press Association for In Depth/Investigative Reporting. A native of Detroit, Gray is a graduate of Central Michigan University. Follow him on Twitter @madisonjgray  For pitches in the realm of breaking news, news analysis and Op Eds, send an e-mail to Madison's attention at digitalpitches (at) ebony.com.

 
SHANTELL E. JAMISON, DIGITAL CONTENT EDITOR 
Shantell E. Jamison is a writer, radio personality and cultural critic. The Chicago native and resident graduated from The University of Missouri-Columbia, with a bachelor’s in Radio/TV Journalism. For six years, she worked at Chicago Public Media, hosting and producing a variety of radio shows/programming.  She then moved on to manage the digital content and day-to-day editorial operations of The Black Youth Project, a social justice-based organization that seeks to provide a voice for Black youth.
Shantell’s work has been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, KBIA 91.3FM, The Huffington Post, Chicagonow.com, 30andgrowing.com, The Chicago Crusader, The Grio, Ebony.com, The Black Youth Project and The Gate Newspaper. These days, you can find her writing and editing for JET. Be sure to check out Shantell’s love and relationship column, “Ask Shan Tell’em,” on jetmag.com every Wednesday, and her Love & Sex column on ebony.com every Tuesday. She is also an author, having penned the inspirational, instructional guide: “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self.” To keep up with Shantell, visit www.shantelljamison.com. Twitter: @shantell_em Instagram: @shantell_em. For pitches, send an e-mail to Shantell’s attention at digitalpitches (at) ebony.com.
 
MELISSA KIMBLE, SENIOR SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

Melissa Kimble is the Senior Social Media Manager for the EBONY brand. Prior to this role, this Chicago-born, but Memphis-raised social star wirjed with top agencies including Golin Harris and Burrell Communications serving clients such as McDonald's, General Growth Properties, Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil, the NFL Draft and ABC's Shark Tank. Melissa graduated from the University of Tennesee at Martin with a B.A. Ii Communications and has contributed online work to HipHopUCit, The Jasmine Brand, Clutch and EBONY.com. In 2012, she created and launched My Creative Connection and #blkcreatives, a productive and fruitful platform for Creatives of Color to get out of their own way, get things done and lift each other up in the process. Her site has been featured on BlackEnterprise.com, Karen Civil''s Live Civil, Blavity and more. A proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and The ColorComm Network, you can connect with her on Twitter at @Melissa_Kimble and at melissakimble.com

JAMILAH-ASALI I. LEMIEUX, SENIOR EDITOR, PRINT

Jamilah Lemieux is a Chicago native and graduate of Howard University who resides at the perfect intersection of Buppiedom and Black Bohemia. Integral to the re-imagining of EBONY.com, she has been hailed as one of the smartest, sharpest young editors in the online world.  In 2005, she created a blog, The Beautiful Struggler, where for more than six years, she galvanized a broad national audience with her meditations on cultural identity, relationships and her own less-than-ordinary life. What began as a hobby quickly became a critically acclaimed online destination, establishing Jamilah as an emergent and important voice on issues of gender, race and popular culture. 

A 2007 and 2008 Black Weblog Award winner for Best Personal Blog (Popular Vote) and 2010 winner for Best Microblog, Lemieux was also a 2013 National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Awards finalist for Best Digital Writing. Her work has been featured in EBONYJET and Essence magazines, and she has been a contributing writer for a host of digital publications, including Clutch, The Loop 21, Hello Beautiful, Madame Noire and Essence.com. A proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, she resides in Brooklyn. 

MILES MARSHALL LEWIS, ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR, DIGITAL 

Miles Marshall Lewis is a recognized pop culture critic, essayist, literary editor, fiction writer, and music journalist, with a B.A. degree in sociology from Morehouse College. He is the author of the essay collection Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises, concerning coming of age in the Bronx under the aegis of hip-hop culture at its genesis. He is also the series editor and founder of Bronx Biannual, an urbane urban literary journal of fiction and essays, and author of There’s a Riot Goin’ On, a book on the making of the seminal 1971 Sly and the Family Stone album of the same name. During the past 20 years, he has written for EBONYThe NationThe Washington PostRolling StoneThe Village VoiceThe BelieverSpinL.A. WeeklyWax PoeticsEssenceDazed and Confused, Salon.com, Ebony.com, The Huffington Post and many other publications. He served as the music editor of Vibe, deputy editor of XXL, literary editor of Russell Simmons’s Oneworld, deputy editor of BET.com, and a contributing writer for The Source during the 1990s. His interview with the late Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson is anthologized in The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers alongside Joan Didion, Zadie Smith and Dave Eggers, and his fiction has been published in Bronx Noir, Wanderlust, Brown Sugar 3: When Opposites Attract, Oneworld, Rap Pages, Bronx Biannual, and Uptown. In his off season, he blogs about Paris, hip-hop, pop culture and the arts at Furthermucker.com. he  Follow him on Twitter @furthermucker. Direct pitches to his attention via digitalpitches (at) ebony.com

 
NAJJA PARKER, EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
 
Najja Parker is an entertainment and lifestyle writer who began her journey at Johnson Publishing Company as an intern in 2013.  The Memphis-born multimedia journalist proceeded to work her way up the editorial ladder to land her current position working across both platforms, lending her pen to topics from the site’s Beautifully Brown content to celebrity interviews. In recent years, she has been featured in EBONY,JET, and Sesi. Najja graduated from Spelman College with a bachelor’s in both English and Theater and holds a master’s in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She is instrumental in our entertainment coverage on JET via her popular JETflix Friday weekly round-ups and she is particularly attuned to what’s going on in the realm of TV and music.  She also is the engaging host of an ongoing nail tutorial, Top Coat, a Web series you can check out on ebony.com.  When she’s not writing, you can find her experimenting with nail shades and techniques to fuel her personal blog Nails by Najja. Follow her at @NajjaNotes. For pitches, send an e-mail to Najja’s attention at digitalpitches (at) ebony.com.
 

CHAN C. SMITH

Chan C. Smith is the Multimedia Producer for Johnson Publishing Company’s Digital Editorial team. A Chicago native and product of Northern Illinois University’s Northern Television Center and Media Studies programs, Chan is a creative visual storyteller and content producer that seeks to create compelling narratives of local people, celebrities, and social movements. Prior to joining our team, Chan has been managing her own multimedia business and rapport with clients around the city of Chicago since 2009 and has been providing visuals and strategic ability for several different mediums. Those mediums include independent filmmaking, branding and visual marketing, media and event coverage, and even artistically-infused video compositions. Her work has been featured on Vocalo.org, Fakeshore Drive, Worldstar HipHop, The Good Men Project, The Chicago Music Awards, Fox News Chicago, The Black Women’s Expo, The African Festival of the Arts, Maverick Entertainment, Jetmag.com, Ebony.com, and several film festivals. She is also a certified ‘Rebel’ in Ava Duvernay’s Array film collectives You can catch some of her visual work in EBONY.com’s featured series Top Coat, Plus One, and many more to come! Keep up with her at www.ChanCSmith.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: (@chancsmith_). For pitches, send an e-mail to Chan’s attention via digitalpitches (at) ebony.com.

DAMON YOUNG, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, DIGITAL 

Damon Young is a co-founder of VerySmartBrothas and an author of Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime -- a satirical look at dating, relationships, and sex. Damon is also a producer and head writer of a TV pilot loosely based on the book---a project featured at the New York Television Festival in November of 2013. A Pittsburgh native and resident who graduated from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY on a full basketball scholarship, Damon also has weekly columns at Complex Magazine and Madame Noire, and has either contributed to or been featured in numerous publications, including JET, The Root, Essence Magazine, Clutch Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 2012, Damon was honored by EBONY Magazine, as VerySmartBrothas was named to EBONY's annual Power 100 list. 

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PRODUCTION

GENESE CAGE, PRODUCTION MANAGER, DIGITAL 

Genese Cage is the Production Manager for EBONY.com. A Georgia Peach who decided to take a bite out of the Big Apple a year after graduating from Savannah State University (HBCU, baby!) with a B.A. in Mass Communications. She’s worked in digital production for NBC, Bridal Guide Magazine, Six Flags Theme Parks, New York's HOT 97, Scholastic and BET's "106 & Park" before taking her talents to EBONY.com. When she's not crossing "T"s and dotting "I"s to keep #teamEBONY on point, she's putting dresses on her mother's cocker spaniel, Gabby, gossiping about reality TV show ratchetness with her friends and telling you where to find your first (or next) husband on her popular events blog, the adorably-named I Don't Do Clubs.

A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, she resides in Harlem, New York where she reps her pink and green. Follow Genese on Twitter @GeneseJamilah.

AARON RHODAN, SENIOR PRODUCER, DIGITAL

Aaron Rhodan is the Senior Producer for EBONY.com. Chicago native and graduate of Morehouse College, Aaron is self-proclaimed “cultural connector” and professional doer of things. He is a contributor to the boutique music and lifestyle blog Blind I For The Kids and is an avid skateboarder, Hip-Hop producer, sports fan and panda enthusiast. He also loves hugs.

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