"The Noshing with Nina Show" #PSOTU2018 Special

Meet the Performing Artists

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The Story Circle Participants shared stories based on four specific segments- 1)The Environment, 2) The Health of the Nation, 3) Social Injustice & Inequality, and 4) The Women's Movement. Each segment was introduced by a phenomenal artist and advocate of change. 

Ms. Irene Renee

This Indie-artist independently produced and released her debut album, aptly names, “Serendipitious Experience,” and has appeared on the Top 10 of the UK Soul Charts! She helped us practice a little self-care for the segment, “Health of the Nation,” and performed “No Justice No Peace" featuring Crowned 1.

Nejma Nefertiti

This powerful multimedia hip-hop artist, performer, sound designer and audio engineer, is also a songwriter, producer, and natural perfumer. She is the visionary of the cultural wing of “a new black arts movement,” a community building upon the foundations of the original Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s founded by icons like Baba Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Maya Angelou, and Nikki Giovanni, and visionary of "the Women's Freedom Collective." Nejma utilizes hip hop and technology as tools to empower black, brown, and first nation youth for generations to come. Her revolutionary matriarchal legacy is to create awareness, inspiration, and social change throughout the entire world, for all oppressed peoples. She kicked off two of our story circle segments, “The Environment” and “Social Injustice/Inequality.”

Stine Moen

This professional dancer is a dance, Yoga and Barre teacher. She loves to empower, inspire, and be inspired by other people, and she inspired us all for the segment, “The Women’s Movement.”

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Meet the Story Circle Participants

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Afua Kafi-Akua

A museum professional, media producer, and media professor. Former Distribution Executive of various cutting edge independent media companies which include Women Make Movies, The Cinema Guild, and Antenna Audio. Distribution Consultant, and board member at Third World Newsreel. This adjunct professor in the communications department at the College of New Rochelle is also a poet, writer, and musician. After managing education programs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, she went on to manage education programs at the International Center of Photography.

Akeem Browder

Promoter of the six-part Spike TV docu-series entitled Time: The Kalief Browder Story available on Netflix. Founder of “The Kalief Browder Foundation,” and “Shut Down Rikers.” He is a former 2017 NYC Mayoral candidate, and social justice advocate.

Bunny Yan

This bi-continental, eco-friendly fashion designer splits her time between New York City and Shanghai. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, her industry experience ranges from mass production to warehouse to couture. She is the creator of a new app called “Squirrelz”, a personalized one-stop solution to the fashion industries fabric scrap waste problem. Squirrelz allows designers to list their old items for other designers to upcycle drastically reducing the amount of waste that is prevalent in the industry.   

Donna Hope

A New York City based eco-consultant and advisor working for energy efficiency and sustainability, with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Member of the Climate Equity advisory committee for the public policy organization Demos, and the Green 2.0 advisory board with the Raben Group. A recent attendee of the Al Gore Climate Reality Leadership Corps. She currently serves as an acting manager of the Historical Black Colleges & Universities Green Fund.        

Drrty Pharms


A rapper, producer, DJ, writer, and internet personality. Known for his outspoken opinions on gender identity and rape culture.


Hari Ziyad

The Editor-in-Chief and staff writer of the digital publication, RaceBaitR. Their work has been featured in, among other publications; The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Ebony and Gawker as well as in the peer-reviewed academic journal Critical Ethnic Studies. They are also the managing editor for the Black Youth Project, an assistant editor for Vinyl Poetry & Prose, and a staff writer for Afropunk. Their work is informed by their passion for storytelling and wrestling with identity as a black, non-binary child of muslim and hindu parents while growing up in Cleveland, OH.       




James Behr

A Juilliard graduate, James Behr was hailed as “a demon pianist” by The Boston Globe and “genius composer” by InTheFray Magazine. In his new book "America on the Verge," Journalist James Behr presents innovative analysis and bold solutions for the economy, banking system, trade & outsourcing, automation & the "gig" economy, nuclear terrorism, drug abuse, population growth, poisonous politics, failing education, vanishing fine arts, solar energy, fusion power, electric cars, $19 trillion government debt, oil, the warming planet, and rising oceans. Drawing upon the inspiring economic success of the post-Wwii generation, bold ideas and a vision for the future are presented, from solar energy to political reform to revolutionary government change (publicly funded elections). Its non-partisan approach to problems will intrigue people of all political views. America needs a bold vision - solutions to pull America out of malaise and back on track as an economic superpower and beacon of freedom.

Dr. Jillian Weiss

A nationally recognized transgender rights attorney and law professor with three decades of legal experience. Her cases have resulted in landmark settlements and rulings increasing protections for transgender employees and sending an unmistakable message that employment bias will not be tolerated. A former tenured professor of Law and Society at Ramapo College of New Jersey and the founder of the Law Office of Jillian T. Weiss P.C. She has a PhD in law, policy and society from Northeastern University and a J.D. from Seton Hall Law School, as well as a B.A. in classics from Yeshiva University. A past board member of LAMBDA Legal, she has been chair of the annual Trans Law Symposium, and has consulted with private and public organizations regarding gender identity policy and employee gender transitions, including Harvard University, Boeing and New York City.

Liz Margolies

Founder and Executive Director of the National LGBT Cancer Network. A member of the diversity outreach committee of the Young Survival Coalition and a member of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. Co-Chair of the NYC Lesbian Cancer Support Consortium. She is a licensed clinical social worker whose mission is to improve the treatment of LBT survivors in institutions and agencies, and reach out to underserved and underinsured LBT survivors in New York City.    

Dr. Maureen Miller

An international infectious disease epidemiologist, and anthropologist. A faculty appointee at Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. She is the host of “The Basics with Dr. Mo.” Her work has influenced public policy, and her current interests focus on understanding how complex social problems impact population health.


Miss Elle

Known as an NYC social media socialite, and transgender advocate, she has become a staple on the cities LGBTQ social scene and is often referred to jokingly by her peers as “First Lady.” The daughter of the honorable late Dr. George T. Washington, Sr. and Mrs. Barbara Jean Hutchins Washington. Her father is best remembered for his contributions to African, Chinese and American society formerly serving as Ambassador to China as well as the United States from the Republic of Liberia, West Africa.


This artist means to cultivate a cultural revolution throughout the world integrating revolutionary cries for freedom into hip hop soundscapes using an eclectic and experimental fusion of true school hip hop, funk, electronica and jazz. Channeling the frequencies of J Dilla, having tea with Sun Ra, painting the silhouettes of Nina Simone, remixing the messages of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, this freedom singer from the South Bronx by way of Brooklyn serves his community as a musician, DJ / soul selector, producer, facilitator and mentor for youth. A community organizer and founder of The International Movement in Motion Artist & Activist Collective. Co-founder of “a new black arts movement” and Vice President of the Universal Zulu Nation's Brooklyn Territory (UZN Chapter 9 -Noble 9 Zuluz)       

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The Noshing with Nina Show hosted a story circle as part of the 2018 People’s State of the Union. Most years, the President delivers a State of the Union Address highlighting the past year, and priorities for the coming year. In a year that’s seen more polarizing slogans and soundbites, more demonstrations and heated debates than ever, looking each other in the eye and sharing our stories matters even more than usual. In such moments, being able to cross political divides and to remain in dialogue are worthy challenges. Story Circle participants shared their own take on the state of our union by reflecting on any of the following prompts:
  • Sharing a story about an experience that gave you insight into the state of our union.
  • Sharing a story about a time when you felt a sense of belonging—or the opposite—       
    to this nation or your community.
  • Sharing a story of an experience that gave you hope in the past year. 
Some incentives for participating in #PSOTU2018 include:
  • Offering an easy and rewarding way to take part in your arts community.
  • Inspiring people to do something to improve the state of our union.
  • Generating stories that reach far beyond the Story Circle where they were first   
    shared, affecting others.
  • Creating goodwill so people want to work together again.
  • Forging connections between participants, leading to further collaborations.
Through the USDAC’s community based organizing and National Actions such as #PSOTU2018, we are crowd-sourcing a vision of communities shaped by the power of art and culture, where creativity, empathy, equity, and justice are ordinary and everywhere. Locally, Story Circles introduce people to new neighbors and new ways of interacting and collaborating that reinforce the deeply democratic idea that everyone’s story counts. Past PSOTU Story Circles have led to new relationships, collaborations, even culture shifts in institutions who adapted the practice to promote greater dialogue. When people are shouting opinions, it is hard to hear each other across political divides. But sharing stories is a very different thing!
Story Circles help us know each other, connecting to overcome the ignorance and fear that divide us. We may not emerge from a Story Circle in agreement, but it will be easier to see each other as people rather than symbols or categories.  The stories contributed to #PSOTU2018 will be translated into concrete ideas for policies and programs. For instance, PSOTU 2015 stories formed the basis for the generative cultural policy recommendations in An Act of Collective Imagination: The USDAC’s First Two Years of Action Research.  The USDAC will also put #PSOTU2018-inspired ideas into national circulation via publications, videos, and social media. Each time they spread, they will bring us closer to the future embodied in our act of collective imagination. In addition, the USDAC will host the 2018 Poetic Address to the Nation here in NYC.

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