MAYA AZUCENA is an American singer-songwriter and cultural ambassador from Brooklyn, NY. She attended the LaGuardia School of Performing Arts. She independently released her debut CD “Maya Who?!” at shows and from her website.
BATALA NYC is a New York City, home-grown, Afro-Brazilian drum band composed entirely of women. These Winter’s Eve veterans are back for their third year of drumming and dancing in the streets of Lincoln Square.
The music of Batala originates in Salvador de Bahia, in North Eastern Brazil. The international Batalá family owes its existence to Giba Gonçalves, a drummer and composer from Salvador, Bahia. In Brazil, he was one of the founders of Cortejo Afro, an arts education project to help underserved young people living in poor communities. When he moved to Paris in 1997, he started up Batalá in Paris as the European wing of the project. Batala has since spread to over 30 international cities!
BatalaNYC was started in 2012 by Stacy Kovacs. Stacy and BatalaNYC assistant director Laura Torell traveled to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil to join Batala in the Carnival! They brought back 35 Batala drums and never looked back. In just a few years, BatalaNYC has already played over 120 festivals, street fairs, parades, parties, benefits, and even opened for the Rolling Stones on their 50th Anniversary Tour.
BETTY is an alternative rock group from New York City. The group originated in Washington, D.C. and traces its lineage to a birthday party for Dodie Bowers (the original owner of the 9:30 Club). The band’s harmonies and unique lyrics attracted a cult following in the vibrant alternative music scene and among gay/lesbian audiences. A “BETTY Rules” t-shirt, an early marketing item of the band, appears on one of the AIDS quilts.
The band achieved notoriety by making their first major gig as a band an ‘autobiographical’ two-act musical at the legendary DC Space in February 1987. Entitled “BETTY:Inside Out”, the show established the tongue-in-cheek personas of the band that follow them to present day: the ego of egomaniacal diva Amy, the id of shame-free rebel, Elizabeth and the superego of calm superhero, Alyson. The wild success of that sold-out run led to appearances at Howie Montaug’s Danceteria and the ultra-hot clubs and lounges of the late 1980s’ scene in New York City.
TED BUNCH is the Co-founder of A CALL TO MEN. He is recognized both nationally and internationally for his expertise in organizing and educating men in the effort to end violence against women. He is dedicated to strengthening community accountability to end all forms of violence against women.
Ted is formerly the Senior Director and Co-creator of the largest program for domestic violence offenders in America. Ted has worked with Police and Fire Departments, Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics and other first responders to domestic violence. Ted has served as a consultant to The White House Commission on Violence Against Women and Girls, the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women. He is a recognized trainer, lecturer and consultant on male accountability. A committed ally for more than a dozen years, Ted has gained leadership status in the domestic violence, rape and sexual assault prevention communities across the country.
CLIMBING POETREE. Over the last 11 years, Climbing PoeTree has been at the forefront of the social and environmental justice movement by sharpening their art as a tool for popular education, community organizing, and personal transformation. Their award-winning performance is composed of dual-voice spoken word poetry, hip hop, and multi-media theater. Climbing PoeTree has toured nationally and abroad from Mexico to England, South Africa to Cuba, India to Scotland, alongside visionary leaders and artists such as Angela Davis, Alicia Keys, Cornel West, Alice Walker, Danny Glover and Naomi Klein, among others.They have lead hundreds of workshops in institutions from Harvard University to Rikers Island Prison. They are currently developing a multimedia curriculum based on their theater production, Hurricane Season: The Hidden Messages In Water that employs art and culture to help learners analyze systems of oppression and resistance, and build new leadership essential for fundamental social change.
KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW teaches Civil Rights and other courses in critical race studies and constitutional law. Her primary scholarly interests center around race and the law, and she was a founder and has been a leader in the intellectual movement called Critical Race Theory. She was elected Professor of the Year by the 1991 and 1994 graduating classes. She now splits her time each year between UCLA and the Columbia School of Law.
At the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she received her LL.M., Professor Crenshaw was a William H. Hastie Fellow. She then clerked for Justice Shirley Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Professor Crenshaw’s publications include Critical Race Theory (edited by Crenshaw, et al., 1995) and Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment (with Matsuda, et al., 1993).
In 2007, Professor Crenshaw was awarded the Fulbright Chair for Latin America in Brazil. In 2008, she was nominated an Alphonse Fletcher Fellow. In the same year she joined the selective group of scholars awarded with an in-residence fellowship at the Center of Advanced Behavioral Studies at Stanford.
CHRISTINE SCHULER DESCHRYVER has called Bukavu her home all her life. She oversees all aspects of V-Day’s work on the ground in the DRC, including the City of Joy and coordinating campaign activities on the local, provincial, and national levels. She is an internationally renowned human rights activist who has worked as a teacher, an administrator for CARE CANADA, and, for 13 years, as an administrator for the German Technical Cooperation, where she oversaw a staff of over 100. She travels widely advocating for Congolese women’s rights.
ASALI DEVAN ECCLESIASTES is a spoken word artist and educator; she coordinates the Congo Square African Marketplace; has taught spoken word, social justice, and service learning at Tulane University; and co-founded the Akoben Words-In-Action Festival.
EVE ENSLER, Tony Award winning playwright, performer, and activist, is the author of The Vagina Monologues, which has been translated into over 48 languages, performed in over 140 countries. Her books include Insecure At Last: A Political Memoir; the New York Times bestseller I Am An Emotional Creature, and her latest critically acclaimed memoir In the Body of the World. She is founder of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls which has raised over 120 million dollars to end violence and One Billion Rising, a global mass action campaign in over 200 countries. She was named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Changed the World” andThe Guardian’s “100 Most Influential Women.” Her newest play O.P.C. recently had it’s world premiere at A.R.T. at Harvard in November.
SARU JAYARAMAN. A graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Saru Jayaraman is the co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), the Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of the bestselling book Behind the Kitchen Door. Saru founded ROC United after 9/11 together with displaced World Trade Center Workers. ROC’s growth into a national restaurant workers’ movement has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American. Saru was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section, and as one of Crain’s “40 Under 40”, CNN’s 10 Visionary Women, and one of New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York; she was also named a White House ‘Champion of Change’ in 2014. She has appeared on CNN, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, and Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.
GINA LORING. Poet/singer/songwriter – (HBO’s Def Poetry, BET’s Lyric Café, TVOne’s Verses and Flow) is one of America’s best kept secrets. As Guest artist of the American Embassy, she has performed in Kuwait, Russia, West Africa, Denmark, Turkey, Greece, Ireland, England, France, Spain and Tunisia. With a voice reminiscent of an Amel Larrieux and the lyrical energy of a Lauryn Hill, she is a well known favorite in the poetry and indie music scenes. She holds a B.A. from Spelman College and an M.F.A. from Antioch University, Los Angeles and she volunteers with Inside Out Writers, facilitatine writing workshops with incarcerated teens.
MORLEY is a Los Angeles-based street artist who specializes in typographic posters which he wheatpastes within the urban landscape. Blending humor, hope and his unique perspective on life, Morely’s aim is to act as a friendly voice among the cacophony of billboard messages and corporate slogans expectorated across our skylines.
EMMA MYLES is an actress best known for her recurring role as Leanne Taylor on the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black. She was friends with fellow actress Dascha Polanco prior to being cast on the show, having met her after they both auditioned for a guest role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
KATHY NAJIMY is known for her memorable performances in over 25 films and several TV projects. She is very proud to have been named Ms. Magazine WOMAN OF THE YEAR!
Najimy debuted in the entire last 2013 season of The Big C as Laura Linney’s character’s therapist, and is currently recurring on HBO’s VEEP. For TV she voiced “Peggy Hill” (14 seasons) on the Emmy Award-winning Fox hit King of the Hill, for which she received an Annie and 2 WIN Awards. Najimy starred in Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas released on Dec 2013.
Najimy is internationally known for her portrayal of “Sister Mary Patrick” in the blockbuster hits Sister Act and Sister Act 2, which won her an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress and the Hollywood Women’s Press Club – Female Discovery of the Year.
Her work includes over 20 films including starring roles in Hocus Pocus with Bette Midler, Rat Race, and Say Uncle (Philadelphia Film Festival Best Actress), Hope Floats, Nevada, Step Up 3D,Zack and Reba, This Is My Life, The Fisher King, Soapdish, The Hard Way, Bam Bam and Celeste, Two Sisters, It’s Pat, The Wedding Planner with Jennifer Lopez, Jeffrey, The Big K, and HBO’s If These Walls Could Talk 2 with Ellen DeGeneres. Najimy also recently filmed two indie films, Blowtorch and Clutter, and was seen in The Guilt Trip with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen.
THANDIE NEWTON has appeared in several British and American films, and is known for roles such as Linda in The Pursuit of Happyness, Nyah Nordoff-Hall in Mission: Impossible II and Christine in Crash, for which she received a number of awards, including a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Born in England, her mother is Zimbabwean, and Newton is active in nonprofit work across the African continent. In 2008, she visited Mali for a campaign to bring clean water to six African nations, and as a V Day board member, Newton visited the Congo earlier this year to raise awareness of the chronic issue of sexual violence toward women and girls.
ROSIE O’DONNELL is an American comedian, actress, author, and television personality. She has also been a magazine editor and continues to be a celebrity blogger, LGBT rights activist, television producer, and collaborative partner in the LGBT family vacation company R Family Vacations.
O’Donnell started her comedy career while still a teenager and her big break was on the talent show Star Search in 1984. A TV sitcom and a series of movies introduced her to a larger national audience and from 1996 to 2002, she hosted The Rosie O’Donnell Show, which won multiple Emmy Awards. During this time, she wrote her first memoir, Find Me, and developed the nickname “Queen of Nice” as well as a reputation for philanthropic efforts. She used the book’s $3 million advance to establish her For All Kids foundation and promoted other charity projects, encouraging celebrities on her show to also take part.
O’Donnell came out, stating “I’m a dyke!” two months before finishing her talk show run, saying that her primary reason was to bring attention to gay adoption issues. O’Donnell is a foster and adoptive mother. She was named “Person of the Year” in a 2002 cover story by The Advocate with an in-depth interview by the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Judy Wieder. In May 2003, she became a regular contributor to the magazine. She continues to do charity work and remains involved with LGBT and family-related issues.
AGNES PAREYIO, Kenya Director for V-Day, was named the United Nations in Kenya Person of the Year in 2005, and has worked with V-Day since 2000. She is the founder and director of the first V-Day Safe House for the Girls, which was established for young women and girls fleeing FGM in Narok, Kenya. The Safe House provides a safe haven for girls escaping from FGM and early marriage – a place where young women can safely celebrate an alternative “rite of passage,” enabling Maasai women to follow their tradition without undergoing the cut. In 2009, Ms. Paryeio and V-Day opened the second V-Day Safe House in Kenya, the Sakutiek Rescue Center. The house is located in the Rift Valley in Maasailand, 100 miles West of Nairobi and next door to two schools facilitating the continued education for the girls who are housed there. Agnes began her efforts to end FGM by walking from village to village in the Rift valley of Kenya on foot, educating boys and girls, mothers and fathers about the dangers of the practice. Agnes has been a candidate for Kenyan Parliament.
Agnes Pareyio was born on 24th June 1956 in Narok district, Kenya. She attended primary school, proceeded to high school and later on worked as an untrained teacher. In 1984, she involved herself in women issues, with a passion of advocating for rights of women in Maasailand, leading her to found the Tasaru Ntomonok Initiative, a girls rescue centre in Narok. She was elected as a councillor for Upper Melili Ward and Vice-Chairperson to the Narok council in 2002, where she still serves.
SUNNI PATTERSON. More than a poet, more than a singer, more than an emcee–it’s not just what she says, it’s how she says it. Emerging from the musical womb that is New Orleans, Mother, Wife, Artist and Visionary, Sunni Patterson, combines the heritage and tradition of her Native town with an enlightened modern world view to create music and poetry that is timeless in its groove.
Sunni has been a featured performer at the many of Nation’s premier spoken word venues, including HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and BET’s Lyric Cafe. She has also had the privilege of speaking at the Panafest in Ghana, West Africa, as well as sharing her work on several other international stages. Armed with an engaging story, voice, and presence, Sunni is a highly sought after lecturer and performance artist in universities, schools, festivals, community events, conferences and concerts across the U.S. and abroad. She has worked with several well known artists and performers including Hannibal Lokumbe- singing lead vocals for his score,” King and the Crescent City Moon,” Kalamu Ya Salaam, Sonia Sanchez, Wanda Coleman, Amiri Baraka, Mos Def, Eve Ensler, The Last Poets, and many more.
STREB. Elizabeth Streb is a recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Award (1997) and a member of the New York City Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission. Streb is also a member of the board of the Jerome Foundation and a member of the Atlantic Center for the Arts National Council. She holds a Master of Arts in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, a B.S. in Modern Dance from SUNY Brockport and two honorary doctorates (SUNY Brockport and Rhode Island College). She is the recipient of numerous other awards and fellowships including the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1987; a Brandeis Creative Arts Award in 1991; two New York Dance and Performance Awards (Bessie Awards), in 1988 and 1999 for her “sustained investigation of movement”; a Doris Duke Artist Award in 2013; and over 30 years of on-going support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In 2010, Feminist Press published her book, STREB: How to Become an Extreme Action Hero.
SWOON is a street artist who specializes in life-size wheatpaste prints and paper cutouts of human figures. She studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and started doing street art around 1999 and large-scale installations in 2005. Swoon started her street art in 1999. At the time she was attending the Pratt Institute, studying painting. However, she began to feel restrained by the sense that her life was already laid out for her. She believed that she would simply paint a few pictures that would end up on a wall in a gallery or someone’s home. Her art would only be seen by those affluent enough to go to galleries and buy art. At the same time she was trying to find what she describes as context. She stated that she wanted to become part of the world. Her response to this desire was what she believes to be a very literal one: gluing her art to walls. Wheat pasting became a way for her to discover and understand her impact in the world. Swoon describes that as a young woman, she did not have a sense of her ability to make a change. By putting up a small wheat paste sticker, she was able to transform a wall and it would be there when she walked past it the next day. It was a tiny literal change.
SAIDAH BABA TALIBAH. There’s Rock n’ Roll. And then there’s the Rock n’ Soul of buzzy Toronto-bred vocalist Saidah Baba Talibah, daughter of Tony and Grammy Award-nominated icon Salome Bey, “Canada’s First Lady of Blues”. Saidah is a fierce artist that isn’t afraid to combine rock/funk/soul in all of her performances!
Boasting striking good looks, sartorial splendor and a flamboyant image that actually matches her talent, whether in the studio, or live on stage, Saidah marches to the beat of her own drummer. Her preternatural punk attitude, which has seen her recording songs on her smart phone for The Phone Demo’s 2009 prerelease, to championing a raw vegan / healthy food lifestyle, the sky is her limit. Forward thinking, but rooted in old school sensibilities gleaned from her Grammy Award-aligned lineage, Saidah produces hard rocking outsider music, with insider charm. And if there’s one thing you can say about Saidah – there’s no other musician that sounds, looks or feels like her.
KARABO TSHIKUBE is a 22 year old who lives in Johannesburg. She graduated in 2012 from the Market Theatre Laboratory. She is a dancer, actress and an activist. She has also been a member of V-Girls South Africa since she became part of Eve Ensler’s new play “Emotional Creature” when it ran in Johannesburg in 2011, subsequently performing in the Paris production and recently in the new 2014 production of the play in Johannesburg and Cape Town where her performance received critical acclaim.
In 2014 she was the Youth Coordinator for the One Billion Rising youth movement and executed a musical concert giving the youth a platform to Rise artistically and to Voice Out.
Karabo is not only a talented performer and youth leader, she is also a fierce advocate for women’s rights.
More info on Karabo: https://www.onebillionrising.org/12586/karabo-tshikube-south-africa/
MONIQUE WILSON is one of the Philippine’s veteran theatre and film actresses – having acted professionally since the age of nine. At 18 she starred as the lead role in the original London West End production of Miss Saigon. In 1994, at 24 years old, she went back to the Philippines and founded the New Voice Company (NVC) theatre group, with a vision to awaken, inspire and transform Philippine audiences with socially provocative and innovative political theatre work. Her theatre group has produced The Vagina Monologues in the Philippines since 2000 and V-Day events since 2001, and helped change the laws on sex trafficking and domestic violence with performances in the Philippine Senate and Congress.
Monique recently left a five year post as head of the MA/MFA Acting International course, which she spearheaded, at the East 15 Acting School in London – where she trained postgraduate international actors from over 45 countries, and where she organized V-Day events and directed political plays, to become Director of the One Billion Rising campaign.
Y3K is an unsigned hip hop artist from the Bronx.
JAHA ZAINABU. Jaha’s exquisite storytelling skills (about women, being and becoming) appear on page as poetry and she slams nothing but homers. The Science of Chocolate Milk Making by Jaha Zainabu is according to the author about: “Me/ This is about me/ I have offered countless poems and songs, letters and the like/ To women of my familiar/ To men I have cherished like art and fantasy/ Orgasms and red wine with pizza/ I have admired strangers from afar and grown through love and lessons/ Only family can teach/ But this/ Whatever this is or will become/ Is about the who and what/ The why of me.” Jaha Zainabu is an author and painter who “lives for a living” in Los Angeles.
Zoya is a women’s rights activist who has worked extensively in refugee camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2014, together with V-Day, she founded a leadership center in Kabul. The center is providing free, non-formal education in literacy, science, computers, family planning and English for Afghan women and girls, as well as legal, psychosocial and counseling support.