MBAF awardees exemplify a true commitment to shifting the narrative, raising awareness and enhancing consciousness around societal ills in communities.

– Justyne Fischer

2020 Recipient

Justyne Fischer is a Washington, DC based Social Justice Printmaker. Justyne’s “Social Memorials” feature unjust events involving unarmed Black men, women and children. The Charlottesville 9, Terence Crutcher, Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Freddy Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, William Wingate, Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin are all featured in these graphic social statements. Her works highlight the tragedy of each event while respectfully memorializing the human being beyond a one-day headline.


2019 Recipient

Taja Lindley is a Brooklyn-based memory worker, healer and activist. She uses movement, text, installation, ritual, burlesque, and multi-media to create immersive works that are concerned with freedom, healing and pleasure.


2019 Recipient

Nzinga LeJeune is an exceptional multidimensional artist, writer, & film director best known for bringing attention to the Flint Water Crisis. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, she is author of a powerful poetry book, children’s book and producer of documentary-short, all titled #Waterinjustice.


2018 Recipient

Ekwa Msangi is a writer, film director, and a screenwriting & film teacher. She is currently developing her first feature film “Farewell Amor”.

She used the MBAF award to design, create, and consult a lawyer on the investor documents that she needs to engage potential investors and collaborators.


2018 Recipient

Elegance Bratton is a photographer, filmmaker, public thinker and author.

He is in pre-production on a feature film about his Marine Corps experience. He used the MBAF award to help finance his research for the film.


2017 Recipient

Ralston Smith is a photographer and documentary filmmaker committed to capturing the humanity of and history created by, Black folks across the Diaspora.

In 2018, Ralston premiered an exhibition of his work.  The MBAF award helped fund its marketing and production.


2017 Recipient

R. Kayeen Thomas is an author, director, playwright, and poet. With his 2017 MBAF award, Kayeen finished his current short film “HOLY”, as well as a second short documentary entitled “Two Steps Back”, which focuses on the failures of integration.


2016 Recipient

Singer, dramatist, educator, and activist Ayanna Gregory used her MBAF award to produce several powerful motivational performances for 8-12 year old students in Jamaica in 2016.


2016 Recipient

Filmmaker and Hampton alumna Kimberly Townes utilized her MBAF award to develop three documentary videos for Essence‘s Black Girl Magic series and furthered her outreach work with the Pan African Technical Association, exposing students to careers in S.T.E.A.M.