Category Archives: What’s New

Sunni Patterson – We Made It

New Orleans Native and Visionary, Sunni Patterson, is an internationally acclaimed Poet, Performer, Workshop Facilitator, Certified Spiritual Life Coach/Consultant, and an Initiated Priestess and Minister. She began her career as a full-time high school Teacher, and much of her life since has been devoted to serving as a Cultural Worker and Activist. Armed with an engaging story and voice, Sunni deliberately uses art, poetry, and praise (Ancestral remembrance) to encourage dialogue, connectivity, spiritual awareness, and healing. She has had the privilege of studying under great Scholars and Teachers, allowing her to become a diligent student in the Healing and Spiritual Arts. Her Artistry and Gift has allowed her to grace a plethora of stages and platforms. Whether speaking at TEDWomen, featuring on Grammy award winning Hip-Hop albums, officiating a wedding, or cooking up breakfast for families in the Community, you can rest assured, Sunni’s way and words bring us all to a place of recollection, remembrance, and hope. 

Sunni is a 2020/2021 John O’Neal Cultural Arts Fellow. She currently serves as a Resident Artist for both the City of New Orleans’ Claiborne Corridor Cultural Initiative and Junebug Productions. She is also co-founder, along with Scientist and Atmospheric Chemist, Cherelle Blazer, of Environmental Arts and Public Health Organization, Breath is Lyfe.  

Rima Aanjay – Free Speech

When Billie Holiday performed Strange Fruit, a song meant to shed light on the horrible reality of lynching, she was hunted until her death by those who suggested that the song incited violence. That was the excuse used to prevent her from singing a song that did not convey a message of violence but expressed concerned about the lynching of blacks throughout the country. According to the NAACP, 4,743 were lynched in the United States from 1882-1968 and 72.7% of those people were black.

We live in a world where inciting acts of violence through free speech continues to cost the lives of many people throughout the world. It’s sad that the incitement is most visible within those in a position of power. This poem was written to express concern about the current political climate. It was not written to incite any type of violence.

Uncover the hidden secrets of Black Wall Street in 1921 (Tulsa)

The Black community deserves to know all of Black history.

For too long, students and churches have heard the stories of oppression, slavery, and dehumanization of Black men, women, and their families.

However, history also has another story to tell – one of success, generational wealth, and unwavering faith.

The tales of hope, perseverance, and the attainment of those things are the stories we need to know to rescue our communities from falling apart.

UMI is committed to inspiring people about Black community development, teaching you how to reengage your students and congregations, and refreshing how you teach Black history with the wisdom of Jesus.

Building a City on a Hill, our latest release, includes stories that detail Black legacy builders’ remarkable achievements.

The history of slavery and segregation is not the full story, and to move forward, we must know the rest.

To get a glimpse of one of the stories featured in our book, watch the 10-minute video on the events that happened in Greenwood, Tulsa. Learn about the Tulsa race massacre. Then, buy the book at

A “free town” formed by Africans who escaped slavery in Colombia

About an hour outside Cartagena, Colombia is a little town with a big history.  San Basilio de Palenque has about 3500 inhabitants and was formed by African slaves who escaped Spanish rulers 400 years ago. A hip hop group from the community is preserving that history with their music. Their Urban Voice is Kombilesa Mi. The Palenquero language is influenced by the Kikongo language of Angola and Congo where many of the slaves who settled in this region originated. The language is also mixed with Portuguese which was spoken by the slave traders who first brought Africans to the Americas.

CGTN is funded in whole or in part by the Chinese government