Meet the Black&Gifted Blog contributing writers!


Editor & Contributor | Jessica Franklin, 22 | Arkansas

Middle Level Education Major at the University of Central Arkansas

Hello! I’m horrible with bios, so let’s try this:

College senior. Jesus Stan. Pop culture enthusiast. Bath & Body Works obsessed. Bad selfie taker. Feeler of feelings. Queen of both awkwardness and clumsiness.

Probably at the house wishing I had gone out or vice versa.

That pretty much covers the basics, now on to the art.  I have loved writing for as long as I can remember!  I used to finish books in elementary school, get on the computer at home, and basically rewrite them in my own words.  Real original, right?  That’s how dedicated I was to the craft!  I promise I’ve grown out of that, though.  Anyway, I’ve always been a writer.  I started college as a journalism major, but changed my mind and eventually decided to become an English teacher.  Writing was always the motive behind both of these decisions.  I decided to join Black&Gifted because I absolutely love all art forms!  I think this is a great way to share my talent while supporting and helping share the talents of others.  This is the perfect place to do just that!

Instagram: jessicafranklin16 | Twitter: @soulnot4sale_ | Website


Adrian Nelson, 23 | Arkansas | Marketing major at Arkansas Tech University

Writing has been my preferred vehicle of expression for quite some time now. It started when I was a child, religiously writing in a journal that no one knew about. I would write about the day’s activities, the people I came in contact with, and how each situation made me feel. At 23, I’m still not into verbally expressing my thoughts, but I have moved up and created a blog that I publish to my followers. An invitation into my world, on terms I’m most comfortable with.

I joined B&GBlog because it’s another avenue for my words to be shared on. This particular avenue speaks to people like me, who go through the things I go through. My writing knows no boundaries. Based and built on liberation. I talk about the struggles of the LGBTQ community, life as an African American, Feminism, Politics, Music, and at times, myself. Collaboration is a beautiful thing, and I love that this is a platform representative of US, to share, inspire, and support. I look forward to being a part of this special team.

Twitter: @Whose_NELSON | Website

Timber_HeardTimber Heard, 26 | Mississippi | Journalism major at the University of Mississippi

I am a biracial 26 year old trying to get enough money to finish her bachelor’s degree, but that’s a long story. I’ve been somewhat of an artist since I can remember. I draw, act, collage, sew (though rarely anymore) and make jewelry. I’m a Christian (first and foremost) and thank Jesus for everything he has done for me. I have an associates degree in Liberal Arts. I’ve done stand up comedy (though the second time didn’t go so well).

In my spare time, I’m an avid reader and I love to watch YouTube documentaries on Asia, African culture, and fashion and beauty makeup routines. I just opened what I like to consider a small business on my website Culture Shock. I have a vivid personality and try to look to enjoy things in my everyday life. I am also looking for ways to support myself, so this may be a great start. Thank you for your interest in my writing!

I want to be a part of Black&Gifted Blog because, well, I’m young, black, and gifted! But seriously folks, I love to write about whatever crosses my mind. Hair, culture, fashion, being a young 20-something in today’s modern world, everything!

Avery_Ware-09Avery Ware, 24 | Ohio | Graduate of the University of Akron – Sociology

So, I have a confession. I’m terrible at writing bios. Ironic that a writer can’t write a bio, right? In summation, I’m the Black guy with the beard and thrifted clothes. I’m the reserved guy who doesn’t say much, but it is always thinking. I’m the gay that occasionally enjoys a Sunday morning service. I’m the friend that has your back in every way. I’m the writer who writes the things you’re probably thinking, but in a much more hostile fashion. I’m the entrepreneur that’s always hustling. All in all, I’m a pure soul just trying to figure out life.

The written discourse has always been my favored form of communication; transparency is my tone of choice. Many people use the internet has a space to present their highest self, but I elect to be sincere in my delivery and in content in hopes of connecting, healing, and entertaining those that choose to read.

Collaborating, supporting, and uplifting each other is imperative in our current climate. This is why I joined Black&Gifted Blog. I look forward to virtual fellowship with my peers and readers. Please follow me as I discuss the struggles of being a Black, queer male, religion misogyny, music, love and relationships, and more.

Twitter: @averylondon_| Website

Ameil_Brown_Ameil BrownAmeil Brown, 18 | Arkansas | Art Education major at Arkansas Tech University

Wow, what an honor to want to be a writer and the first task you’re given is to talk about yourself! If you knew me you’d know I love to be the topic of discussion in a positive light. I am Ameil Brown, an Arkansas Tech sophomore. I am currently majoring in art education.

I enjoy all things art, from drawing, to fashion, poetry, photography, modeling, and of course writing! However, I plan to switch back to a psychology major with art as a minor. I was born in Forrest City, AR but was raised and live in Dardanelle, AR. I am 18 years of age with a birthday right around the corner in September! And most of all I am a mom!

I want to be apart of the Black&Gifted Blog team because writing has always been a love of mine. I’m slightly shy when it comes to big groups of people. Writing allows me to have a voice even in the presence of a big audiences. I love giving an opinion that can be heard and respected. Being apart of the team will also allow me to be surrounded by amazing people with some of the same interests as myself. And hey, that sounds like a good time to me!

makalani_mack-01Makalani Na’im Mack,22 | Georgia | Graduate of Brandeis University  with a degree in Anthropology

The first sentence is always the hardest for me. But, there it is now. Out of the way. So with that, hello beautiful people. My name is Makalani, an Egyptian name that describes a person that is expressive and creative, skilled in writing and performance. So ask my mama and she’ll take full credit for the expressive, creative, musically inclined writing person that I became to be. I love her to pieces though. I’ve always lived life in my head. However, I also fell in love with both music and writing at very young age and hence, it’s always been the smoothest, and honestly the easiest, way for me to express myself. I’ve learned so much of myself through my writing. My passions, what I love versus what I despise, my tendencies, my preferences, my fears. Ya’ll, writing for me has always felt like this portal that I could turn to at my disposal, and just dip. Writing is me leaping through that portal and finding myself in this boundless place where besides the margins on the physical paper itself, there are none. There are no limits, there are no hesitations, no anxiety, no rush. Just good feels, intricate thinking, and slow, steady breathing.

I’m currently a middle school teaching fellow at The Epiphany School in Boston, Massachusetts. Writing is my outlet at the end of some long days. I’m actually ecstatic to join the Black&Gifted Blog because I’ve simply been yearning for a space to both share my thoughts, and also take part in upholding a platform for Black Magic to thrive and be observed and supported. I look forward to collaborating with the other talented writers, as well as showcasing all the many other Black artists out here carving their paths in this world. Expect to hear some personal reflections and revelations. I’ll ramble about my relationship with the woman I never cease to be in awe of. And I’m also going to talk about blackness and Feminism a lot since, as a cis Black man, I’m always doing a lot of internal deconstructing. And with that, Peace and Love folks.

Facebook: | Instagram: imakalani

Brionna_Jenkins-01Brionna Jenkins, 23 | New York | Graduate of St. John’s University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism

To know Brionna Renée Jenkins is to know the 3 P’s: passion, purpose and personality. I like to consider myself the gift of a vibrant personality wrapped in a stylish box sent from the Big Apple.

Holding a degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in International Studies from St. John’s University, its always been my goal to use my given voice and earned perspective to inform my audience in the most engaging way possible. As both a writer and an actor it is my passion to tell stories that need to be told. Whether controversial, heartwarming or just plain juicy my work is carried out with me ultimate goal and life purpose in mind – to impact change one viewer or reader at a time.

I write for Black&Gifted because I am just that. We are just that. This is our space to manifest our culture and uplift contributions. Believing strongly that one must stand for something or fall for anything I find it imperative to have a platform that connects us to our culture & gives us a safe outlet to learn, express ourselves and grow.

Instagram: TheBrionnaRenee | Website:

Jessica_Miller-01Jessica Miller, 21 | Arkansas | Health Education Major at the University of Central Arkansas

“Do BETTER, Want BETTER, Be BETTER.” -Yours truly
Never in million years did I think I would be a writer. Ironically, I grew up disliking writing. But as time changes you grow, and you blossom into a flower. No more being stuck in a box. Thinking outside the box is a major key!
Let me introduce myself, my name is Jessica Miller and I’m currently a Junior at the University of Central Arkansas and I’m majoring in Health education to pursue a career in Health journalism and have my own business as a holistic health specialist.
I was born and raised in this small town, Dumas, Arkansas. I also just had a birthday on March 22 and I finally hit that 21 mark!
When it comes to my free time, I love to do natural hair and vibe to music. Not just music, but 90s music, just some neo-soul type of music. I’m definitely a old soul. When it comes to art, it’s something I have a passion for. Whether it’s poetry, music, painting, drawing, dancing, fashion, etc.
Why do I want to be apart of Black&Gifted Blog team? First of all, I feel like it was time to get out of my shell and network with others. My focus is to uplift Kings and Queens and opening up the mind to embrace the knowledge we share. So why not Black&Gifted? Black&Gifted is an uplifting environment that focuses on uplifting as well and very open to many ideas, which attracted me the most. I feel like as a first time blogger, that I will grow as an individual and be able to meet outstanding people with the same interests as me.

Facebook: Jessica Nicole Miller | Instagram: jessica_n14 | Website:

Stephanie_Williams-01Stephanie Williams, 35 | Maryland | Administrative Professional

Wow, why is this so hard? How can I be a person who loves to write but am having a hard time writing a bio? It just doesn’t add up.  Well, here it goes:

Single, 35, Loves Jesus and his people (even those ashy hoteps), no kids and no time for drama. Oh wait…this isn’t a dating site LOL.

I have come to learn that the more living I do, the more I learn about myself and God’s plan for me. I have been an administrative professional ever since I left college and I have grown in leap and bounds since then. I am someone who loves to read and most definitely write.

As long as I can remember, I have loved to write. It is my escape from a world where things have been so ugly and so cruel. I spent my twenties being unsure, self-conscious and hiding from the world. Now that I am in my thirties, I won’t do that anymore.  I am ready to live and step out of my comfort zone to do what I love…which is writing.

I am a lover, want to be a light and like the great Viola Davis and President Barack Obama, I am a LEO. I have learned in the past few years that being a lion (which is what a leo is) has its advantages and responsibilities. I am ready to stand tall and walk with my head held high. I know it sounds cliché or “pie in the sky” but if you only knew how long it took me to get to this point, you would understand.

Why did I decide to join the Black&Gifted team? I wanted to find a way to use my voice and network with others who are Black and Gifted. Our culture is so full of melanated magic, that I feel like it is straight up criminal that more of us don’t use our voices and platforms to be lights in our community. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, the decedents of kings, queens and the builders of this great country. We shouldn’t let society or the system hold us back or tell us we aren’t good enough.

Looking forward to using my voice and also collaborating with other voices.

Instagram: sunshinesnw | Twitter: @msstephsunshine | Website:


Social Media Assistant | Regina Beckles, 23 | Arkansas| Graphic Designer

I wanted to join the BAGBlog team because I love a group that uplifts each other, especially since our race seems to be put down. I believe that motivating each other builds confidence. The encouragement from people other than family is very helpful. Whether its constructive criticism, or just a plain “You did a great job!”, helps the artist! & I believe this group will do just that!

Art comes in many forms (fashion, baking, poetry, etc.) & I absolutely LOVE seeing different artist’s creations/works, as well as sharing their work so others can see them too. Not everyone is blessed with a huge support system, so why not get that support with BAG as well as give the support that someone may need for that extra push to be well on their way to success! ❤

Instagram: @rbecklesdesigns

Maya_Washington-01Maya Washington, 21 | Texas

Hey! My name is Maya Washington and I am a 21 year old college Senior. I have always been somewhat of an introvert when it came to talking to people or being in front of a group. But, I have always found it easy to express myself on paper.

I used to have so many emotions and ideas cramped in my mind and I would feel overwhelmed. Writing helped me release my ideas and form them into poems. Poetry has always been my passion! I would read and write poetry at any given moment. I knew I wanted to be a writer for my career, and people would always assure me that I was talented. I just had to believe it!

This year I said I would make those dreams come true. I am excited to be a part of the Black&Gifted team because I want to be apart of something greater that influences people like me. People who are Black and Gifted.



Gerard Waller, 19 | Tennessee | Spanish Education Major at Arkansas Tech University

Hola Mundo! I am a Sophomore at Arkansas Tech and I’m working on becoming a Spanish Teacher and writer. I love to write reviews, and express my opinions on certain entertainment topics. Whether it’s a TV show, movie or music, etc.

In my spare time, I play video games, listen to R&B music, write, draw, and watch a lot of movies and sitcoms.

Website: | Facebook: Gerard Waller

Nicole_Eggebraaten-01Nicole Eggebraaten, 26 | Illinois | Graduate of Waldorf College – Online Writing Center Specialist/Freelance Writer

I’m Nicole Eggebraaten, a simple woman in love with Chicago, my husband, and my cat. I work full time and squeeze writing in-between yoga, gaming, and Bible reading. I like to run and expect to crush the Chicago Marathon by age 30. You can always find me with a mug of Earl Grey tea. I often drink it while making my own hair creams and body oils.

I’ve loved reading since I was a little girl and knew I wanted to be a writer from a young age. I studied English and Creative Writing with a little Theatre and Music on the side; I enjoy story telling no matter the medium.  I joined the Black&Gifted team to continue my love of story telling through pieces that highlight the amazing things happening in my community and black communities around the world. I want to add my voice to conversations on carefree black people and racial injustice alike. The crazier our world becomes, the more it is important for us to keep those conversations alive; this is what I am here to do.