6 NYFA Alumni to Support this Black-Owned Business Month

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August is National Black Business Month, where we as a nation of consumers recognize and support black-owned businesses across the United States. According to the 2019 Annual Business Survey (covering the reference year 2018), 124, 551 businesses are owned by Black Americans, representing just over 2% of total businesses in the US. In the Arts-related sector, only a handful of businesses (relative to the number of Black-Owned businesses across all sectors) are Black-Owned – they fall within the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation sector. 

In support of National Black Business Month, New York Film Academy is highlighting just a handful of incredibly talented NYFA alumni who not only own a business and have earned success through their crafts but continue to build their brands in order to support other artists. 

We encourage you to support these individuals by contributing to their business or sharing their incredible work.

Issa Rae

Writer, Producer, & Actress

Chief Executive Officer of HOORAE (formerly known as Issa Rae Productions), Issa Rae oversees the multi-faceted entertainment media company to ensure a diverse set of stories and stories about the community are told. An award-winning actress and producer in her own right, Issa Rae gained critical acclaim and international attention from her hit HBO show, Insecure. The show received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. 

HOORAE includes HOORAE Film & TV, as well as groundbreaking companies such as ColorCreative Management and Raedio.XXX. While overseeing the company, Rae continues to perform incredible work across Netflix and HBO, including The Lovebirds and Coastal Elites.

Rae studied filmmaking with us back in 2005. You can keep updated on the latest from Issa Rae by following her on Instagram or LinkedIn

Leonice (Leo) Brown-Young Jr

Partner & Co-Founder 

Co-Founder and partner in starting MoonRift Entertainment, LLC, Brown-Young Jr inspires and innovates by re-imagining the future. MoonRift Entertainment is an entertainment company with the mission o change the game by building a foundation for success. The business curates content across a variety of forms, including video games, films, and novels. 

Always pushing the box, MoonRift Entertainment continues to reflect the same values of its co-founder. Brown-Young Jr is co-founder of Young Dreamers United, which strives to pave the way for success for middle school students in the San Diego area in California. 

Brown-Young Jr studied with us to earn his MFA in Game Design 2021. You can learn more about MoonRift’s latest content on Instagram, or follow Young-Brown Jr on LinkedIn

Thandiwe Mlauli

Founder & CEO 

Founder & CEO of Studio Yez, Mlauli created her studio to illuminate and capture hearts at home and around the world. Studio Yezi is a development and animation studio dedicated to creating and telling stories made for people of color and the black community. Studio Yezi equalizes the playing field for black animators by creating content opportunities. Mlauli studied producing for film and TV as well as screenwriting with us back in 2015. 

Learn the latest news about Studio Yez and updates from Thandiwe Mlauli on Instagram and LinkedIn

Arthur Hylton (a.k.a. Nestlè Snipes)

Photographer & Visual Artist

Born & Raised In East Flatbush Brooklyn, Arthur goes by the professional name, Nestlè Snipes. Snipes founded Snipes Studios in order to create imagery that models his passion and visual influences. Snipes considers himself a muse-based photographer and takes inspiration from other professionals like Helmut Newton, Yves Klein, and Daido Moriyama. 

Snipes focuses his imagery around muses of color and processes his photos as little as possible to ensure the models are depicted as realistically as possible. Snipes prides his craft around creating art that forces audiences to see the world as it “really is” and not “as they want it to be” by creating work that showcases models of color into scenes that typically feature light-skinned models. 

Snipes studied photography with us back in 2017. You can follow Snipes’ work by following him on Instagram or LinkedIn.

Donald (EAD) Eferere

Creative Director & Digital Content Creator

Founder and Creative Director of RDCYF Brand, Eferere has a wide array of filmmaking and content creation within the entertainment industry. RDCYF Brand is an award-winning production company and agency founded in 2019. Based in NYC, the agency has produced a variety of content. Eferere brings to the agency his own film in film direction, music videos, editing, video color grading, and general content development. 

Eferere studied filmmaking with us back in 2018. You can keep tabs on Eferere on Instagram or LinkedIn

Nicole “Soul” Creary 

CEO & Executive Director 

Experienced entrepreneur and CEO of Soul2Soulz, Nicole “Soul” Creary has a professional history of working for nonprofits doing social work as well as for film and education organizations. 

Soul2Soulz’s mission is to create connections that build positive relationships. The organization aims to develop communities where youth, families, and all people, reach their fullest potential. Creary has professional strengths in organizing grassroots initiatives and coalitions, philanthropy, and community organizing. 

Creary studied filmmaking with us back in 2018. You can keep tabs on her work and the great work of Soul2Soulz on Instagram or LinkedIn

Like all of the alumni we’ve noted here, there are many other NYFA alumni with no shortage of drive to share their voice through business acumen or support for the black community. Continue to raise the bar by supporting Black-owned businesses even beyond this month. 

If you’re an NYFA alum with a story to tell, please share it with us by submitting your NYFA Alumni Success Story

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