Although Calvin Clark was born in Queens and raised in the South Bronx, he counts Brooklyn as his home. As a resident of the Fort Greene neighborhood for over 30 years and a prominent voice in the LGBTQ+ community, Clark opened his first gay club, Rockwell’s, in 2000, with partner Darnell Smith, to create a safe space for marginalized men of color to meet, greet, and celebrate. The success of Rockwell’s afforded Clark to open Club Langston with his business partner and best friend Eryk Albury in 2001, where it stood until 2018 as one of the longest running gay clubs in Brooklyn.
Mohammed Fayaz is an illustrator and one of the organizers of Papi Juice. Born and raised in New York City, Mohammed’s illustrations are intent on documenting his community of queer and trans people of color. With work that spans digital and mixed media, his illustrations lend a eye into a world traditionally left out of mainstream media.
Ryann Holmes has worked and lived in Brooklyn since 2006, and has been creating pathways of creativity, expression, beloved community, and love as wealth. Ryann found joy and magic in being a part of queer, black culture in Brooklyn. So, in 2009, Ryann co-founded the bklyn boihood collective. As of today the collective has grown into a community staple. Ryann has also organized music festivals, live shows, conferences, film events, and more for communities of color in Brooklyn. In 2016, Ryann was voted one of Brooklyn Magazine’s top 100 cultural innovators.
Kate Kunath is an Emmy Award-winning director and executive producer. Kunath was awarded a 2018 Primetime Emmy in the category of Outstanding Short Form Non-Fiction Series for her latest project with Roads & Kingdoms and CNN, Anthony Bourdain: Explore Parts Unknown: Little Los Angeles. She has been nominated for two 2019 James Beard Awards for the same project. Her first directed and produced feature length documentary We Came to Sweat, premiered at New Fest in New York and the British Film Institute Flare Festival in London in 2014. Kunath earned her MFA from Hunter College and currently lives in Los Angeles.
Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz is an archivist at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and Assistant Professor and Head of Reference at the Graduate Center Library, CUNY. Her projects include archiving the women of Salsa Soul Sisters, the first black lesbian organization founded in NYC, co-producer of Rivers of Honey, a performance space for women of color held in the herstoric WOW Cafe Theater, co-founder of Sister Outsider, an organization for and by self-supporting young women in Brooklyn, co-founding member of FIERCE!, and the Ya-Ya Network, all youth member-led organizations in NYC.
Thanushka (Thanu) Yakupitiyage
Thanushka (Thanu) Yakupitiyage is a Sri Lankan born, Thailand raised activist, cultural organizer, and DJ under the artist moniker “Ushka.” She deejays from the perspective of a dancer, blending a wide range of club music from soca to dancehall, hip hop to south asian rhythms, baltimore/jersey club to baile funk, vogue cuts to kuduro, azonto to afrobeat and more. Her artist praxis is in the realm of music – using DJing and electronic music production as a medium to create sound narratives that weave in stories about migration, queer communities, communities of color, and the sounds of the immigrant metropolis.