A Master Class with Miko


Miko Branch, Founder & CEO, Miss Jessie’s

The BND Institute of Media and Culture and The Center for the Study of the Urban Child at Virginia Union University are proud to present “A Master Class in Entrepreneurship with Miko Branch,” the co-founder and CEO of Miss Jessie’s LLC, the company behind the premium hair care product line, Miss Jessie’s. The class will take place February 11, 2017 from 10 a.m. until 12 noon in Wall Auditorium at Virginia Union University.

Participants will find this exciting class to be intriguing and inspiring as it chronicle513ail9euzl-_sx328_bo1204203200_s the life and work of Ms. Branch and her late sister, Titi Branch, who launched their successful multi-million business in 2004. The sisters, daughters of an African-American father and a Japanese mother, wanted a quality product that would allow them to wear their curly hair naturally. After several trials and errors, they eventually developed a product that proved effective. Since then, the business, which is named after the sisters’ beloved and fiercely independent grandmother, Jessie Mae Branch, has thrived. Miss Jessie’s hair care products, designed for all textures and curl patterns, are sold at major retailers such as Walmart, CVS and Target.

In 2015, Ms. Branch wrote a best-selling memoir, “Miss Jessie’s: Creating A Successful Business from Scratch – Naturally.” The book is dedicated to Miss Jessie’s co-founder Titi Cree Branch, who died in 2014. It will be relkarlareased in paperback on Feb. 17, 2017.

NBC 12’s Karla Redditte will facilitate the class by posing questions to Ms. Branch that will cover all aspects of starting and sustaining a business. Following this valuable lesson, audience members will participate in a question-and-answer session.

Donations are welcome for this FREE program. Registration is required by emailing bonnienewmandavis@gmail.com or via Eventbrite





Miko Branch

A Master Class with Miko Branch

Join the BND Institute of Media and Culture for a Master Class with Miko Branch, the CEO of the Miss Jessie’s LLC, the company behind the premium hair care product line, Miss Jessie’s, that exclusively caters to the diverse spectrum of all curly hair types. During this exciting program, Miko Branch will discuss her best-selling memoir soon to be logoreleased in paperback, “Miss Jessie’s: Creating A Successful Business from Scratch -Naturally .” We are thrilled that NBC12’s Karla Redditte will present questions to Ms. Branch during this program that truly will inspire and motivate men and women of all ages. The class will take place February 11, 2017 from 10 a.m. until 12 noon in Wall Auditorium at Virginia Union University. RSVP @ Eventbrite



Jamelle Bouie


Chief political correspondent for Slate and CBS News political analyst

[Un]Finished: Twentieth Century Racial Discrimination and Its Long-Term Implications

Feb. 15 • 7 p.m., The University of Richmond



Colton Whitehead @ VCU on Feb. 9

Award-winning author Colson Whitehead will visit Virginia Commonwealth University in February to deliver the 15th annual VCU Libraries Black History Month Lecture.
Whitehead is the author of two works of nonfiction and six novels, including the New York Times bestselling “The Underground Railroad,” which won the 2016 National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday.

He will speak from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, at the James Branch Cabell Library Lecture Hall (room 303). His talk will be followed by a book sale and signing, as well as a public reception. VCU Libraries has hosted a marquee Black History Month Lecture every year for the past 14.

“The Underground Railroad,” tells the story of Cora and Caesar, two slaves who seek freedom from their Georgia plantations by following the Underground Railroad, which Colson re-imagines as an actual railroad built underground. The novel won praise from Oprah Winfrey, who called it “one of the most grim, gripping, powerful novels about slavery I have ever experienced,” as well as from President Barack Obama.

In the New York Times’ review of the novel, Michiko Kakutani called it “a potent, almost hallucinatory novel that leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery. It possesses the chilling, matter-of-fact power of the slave narratives collected by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s, with echoes of Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved,’ Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Misérables’ and Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man,’ and with brush strokes borrowed from Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka and Jonathan Swift.”

Whitehead’s reviews, essays and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, including the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s and Granta.

He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

He has taught at the University of Houston, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, New York University, Princeton University, Wesleyan University, and been a writer-in-residence at Vassar College, the University of Richmond and the University of Wyoming.

Whitehead’s lecture at VCU will be free and open to the public. It will be part of a month filled with educational and thought-provoking events celebrating black excellence. The full list of events will be announced in January. The registration form for VCU Libraries’ Black History Month lecture will go live in early 2017.

A version of this article by Brian McNeill was published by University News@ VCU.



mlk_wallace_bwMaurice Wallace

UVA Lifetime Learning presents Maurice Wallace, Professor, English Department and Associate Director, African-American & African Studies, Carter G. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia. During this year’s annual Community MLK Celebration, Mr. Wallace will explore the sonic force and densities of Martin Luther King, Jr’s speech-making. He will discuss the power of amplified speech and ambient sound in the making of King’s memory. In a sense, this talk is part of a historical recovery project aimed at resituating King’s voice (as distinct from his words) in time and space. Knowing the rhetorical content of King’s speeches is not at all the same as knowing a great deal about King’s unique sound or the dynamics of technology and state terror inspiring it.

For while sound amplification technology may have augmented the tonality in King’s voice as he spoke in Washington and preached in Memphis, for example, it is also certain that this same technology helped mute the state threat to King and his auditors, fearfully heard in the constant clicking of cameras, recorders, timers, and triggers.

JANUARY 17, 2017 RECEPTION AND LECTURE, The University of Virginia

Reception at 6:00 pm

Lecture at 6:30 pm

Jefferson School

African American Heritage Center



Isabel Wilkerson


Journalist and bestselling author of

“The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration”

January 24 • 7 p.m. • Jepson Alumni Center – The University of Richmond


So you want to write a book…


From left:  J.B. Bryan, Wayne Dawkins, Bonnie Newman Davis, Y.B. Taylor and Cheryl Ross

November 16, 2016

Greetings! I’m back to report that the inaugural event for the BND Institute of Media and Culture was a success! The event, “So You Want to Write a Book: African-American Authors and Writers,” took place Nov. 12 at the Libbie Mill Library in Richmond, Va. About 25-30 folks came out on a sunny Saturday morning to hear from book authors and editors Cheryl Ross, Wayne Dawkins, J.B. Bryan and Yolanda B. Taylor!

“Refreshing. Empowering. Fun! All of that! Thanks for making it possible!”  –J.B. Bryan, Richmond, Va.

Each author enthralled the audience with juicy revelations about their work, what inspires them, and their overall perspective on what it takes to get noticed in the competitive world of book publishing. One secret shared by our panelists: While books can be help pay the bills and put food on the table, TALKING about your book via speaking engagements can result in lucrative returns. Also, the Book Bros., three school-age boys who really are brothers, told attendees how they collected 2,000 books last spring to distribute to their classmates to ensure that they had books to read during the summer.

“It was a wonderful event Bonnie! ‪❤” – Deborah Kenney, Richmond, Va.

Speaking of public speaking, these young boys -Jazz, Jace and Just Miles — did an excellent job. That’s because they enjoy reading and don’t mind telling anyone who wants to hear their stories.

“Dang, another reason to miss living in Virginia. Thanks for the earlier invite, Bonnie. Looks like it was a great event.”  Harriet McLeod, Charleston, S.C.

To Give: https://www.gofundme.com/bndimc



The BND Institute of Media and Culture Presents 

“African-American Authors and Books”

 On Nov. 12, learn how to turn your passion for writing into books!

Program Agenda

From left: Dawkins, Bryan, Ross, Taylor

Cheryl Ross is a national award-winning journalist, book editor, and the immediate pastpresident of a nonprofit media group. She has written about fascinating personalities,the arts, politics, and education for the St. Petersburg Times, the Chicago Reader, The Virginian-Pilot, and WHRO television’s American Graduate Project. Additionally, Cheryl has edited more than 80 published books.

Wayne Dawkins teaches courses in news writing and editing at Hampton University.He is author of “City Son: Andrew W. Cooper’s Impact on Modern-Day Brooklyn,” [2012, University Press of Mississippi], “Black Journalists: The NABJ Story,” [1997, August Press], “Rugged Waters: Black Journalists Swim the Mainstream,” [2003, August Press], andeditor of “Black Voices in Commentary: The Trotter Group” [2006, August Press]. Dawkins  is the winner of the 2015 Dean’s Medal for Public Service from  Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, the 2015 Provost’s Award for Academic Excellence,” and the 2011 Edward L. Hamm Award for Teaching Excellence. Dawkins was a reporter, editorial writer, columnist and assignment editor with daily newspapers in New York, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. He was managing editor/news of BlackAmericaWeb.com

Jennifer ‘J.B.’ Bryan is a pioneer, having started the first black-owned RegisteredInvestment Advisory firm in the Richmond, Va. area in 1995. JB Bryan created her trademarked program “AfroEconomics,” a strategic financial management program designed for the advancement of Black wealth in America and abroad. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Virginia, and received her Master of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Y.B. Taylor decided that she wanted to write and publish a children’s book based on her family’s Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings story, but was sidetracked by a decision to share poems, which she considered her literary children. Poems written and accumulated over many years have found their way into her first book of poetry, “What I Know … Poems ofLife.” Being published became a check off of her bucket list. But, encouraged by feedback from her first book, a second book of poetry, “Journeys of Freedom,” was written and published. Other books include “Keeping it Real,” and “Out of Bounds.” It is still her intent to write and publish a children’s book. A graduate of The University of Virginia, Y.B. TAYLOR continues to write for her own enjoyment and hopefully yours! 


Meet The Book Bros., A Reading Movement For Kids By Kids

 Date: November 12, 2016

Where: Libbie Mill Library, 2100 Libbie Lake E. St.

Henrico County, Va. 23230

Time: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Free + Open to the Public + Refreshments

RSVP: bndimc.org@gmail.com or bonnienewmandavis@gmail.com

https://bndimc.org/The BND Institute of Media and Culture was founded in 2016 by Bonnie Newman Davis, a Richmond, Va. –based journalist, journalism educator and media consultant. The Institute provides programs, services and training dedicated to educating and engaging diverse audiences about contemporary news media and its impact on African-American life and culture.



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Funding Opportunities


img_3243I am Bonnie Newman Davis, a veteran journalist, journalism educator and community volunteer. I established The BND Institute of Media and Culture (BNDIMC) in September 2016 to provide education, outreach and media training programs to diverse audiences and under-served youth. The Institute is based in Richmond, Va., where I have lived and worked since 1981. In January 2018, the Institute obtained its 501 (C) (3 ) status as a nonprofit organization. We look forward to receiving your donations as our organization continues to grow and thrive.

Donations to the BND Institute of Media & Culture are tax deductible and may be submitted via PayPal  to bonnienewmandavis@gmail.com or mailed. Contact bonnienewmandavis@gmail.com for more information.