The Braintrust

Haki R. Madhubuti

Haki R. Madhubuti, distinguished poet and founder of Third World Press, is the Ida B. Wells University Professor at DePaul University and the author of nearly 30 books. In its 43 years of operation, Third World Press has published hundreds of poets, writers and scholars. Madhubuti also helped to develop four schools and the Institute of Positive Education in Chicago, Illinois. With his wife, Safisha Madhubuti (See Carol D. Lee profile), he also built a home and foundation for their family of three children. In addition to his family, he values his relationships over the years with such mentors as Malcolm X, Margaret and Charles Burroughs, Hoyt W. Fuller, Dudley Randall, Barbara A. Sizemore and Gwendolyn Brooks. In his opportunities to mentor young men and women around the country, he passes on their influence. “My daily motivation is the love of Black people and the love of all children from all cultures,” he says.

Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D.

Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D., an economist and author, is president of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her first book, Sex, Lies and Stereotypes: Perspectives of a Mad Economist, a collection of columns, was published in 1994. She cites a 2001 trip to Ghana, particularly a walk through Elmina Castle—a port of the historic Atlantic slave trade—as bringing her powerful new insights about anger, history and slavery, and perceptions that continue to inform and enrich her life. Malveaux values her connections with nephews Anyi and Armand, godson Matthew Brown, and numerous mentees, because they all “deepen her heart, enrich her soul and tickle her imagination.” Her deepest passion is for social and economic justice and “for young women to be equipped with the tools they need to thrive as they live through always challenging times.”

Dr. Joel P. Martin

Dr. Joel P. Martin, a transformational trainer, consultant, speaker and coach, is president of Triad West, Inc., and Positively Powerful Transformational Events. She was the first Black woman to own and operate a full-service advertising firm in New York City. She recently led a five-year corporate culture change initiative that generated industry recognition, leadership in diversity and inclusion, and employee satisfaction. A breast cancer survivor, Martin started her postgraduate work late in life, earning an M.A. in psychology and a Ph.D. in communications; she was named a Wharton Fellow as well. She is the loving and supportive wife of a fine artist and the proud mother of a daughter, who is a cinematographer.

Linda James Myers, Ph.D.

Linda James Myers, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Ohio State University, is recognized for developing a theory of human functioning grounded in the African wisdom tradition that incorporates the spiritual aspects of our being. This is the basis upon which she has developed the psychology curriculum in African American and African studies at Ohio State and the Institute for Optimal Transformation and Leadership. She has also served in leadership roles in organizations devoted to the liberation of the African mind and illuminating the African spirit and human psyche. The mother of two accomplished sons, Ptah Harrison Myers and Ikenna Sekou Myers, she spends time with family and friends while pursuing lifelong learning and a closer relationship with the Divine. “My motivation for the work I do is to uplift fallen humanity,” she says.

Wade W. Nobles, Ph.D.

Wade W. Nobles (Nana Kwaku Berko I, Ifagbemi Sangodare, Bejana), Ph.D., professor emeritus of Africana Studies and Black Psychology at San Francisco State University, is founder and executive director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Black Family Life and Culture, Inc. He is the author of Seeking the Sakhu: Foundational Writings of African Psychology, an anthology of 30 years’ research and scholarship, published by Third World Press. He has been married to Vera Lynn DeMoultrie since 1967, and they have two sons and three daughters. Nobles has been initiated into the Ifa spiritual system by Bablawo Ifaymi Elebuibon, the Araba of Osogbo, Nigeria, and he also received the high honor of being enstooled as the Nkwasohene (development chief) of the Akwasiho-Kwahu region of Ghana in West Africa. Dr. Nobles engages himself daily in contributing “to the liberation of the African mind and the worldwide development of African people.”

William Paden

William Paden, retired educator and cofounder of the Village Nation in Reseda, California, an organization dedicated to the successful education of African American youth, was voted Teacher of the Year by the local chapters of the NAACP (Los Angeles, 1987 and again in San Fernando Valley, 2008). His organization’s work was featured on Oprah in May 2007, and he was tapped as a resource on strategies for moving our people forward in the twenty-first century by Bill Cosby. Paden and his wife, Laura, are parents of two sons, Ahmad and Khalil.

Jessica C. Pinkney

Jessica C. Pinkney, a productivity consultant, is principal of Relativity Consulting/My Relative Assistant, in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Her consulting and coaching practice supports clients using harm-reduction strategies to create safe and reliable resources that move them beyond survival mode to long-term sustainable solutions. The motivation for Pinkney’s work is delivering services to people who seek empowerment, and her deepest passion is “love, or acknowledging every individual’s unique qualities and helping them to see that they have something to contribute.”

Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell is a writer and activist in Brooklyn, New York. His appearance in the cast of the pioneering reality show The Real World on MTV launched him into the media spotlight; he went on to become a founding staff writer for Quincy Jones’s innovative hip-hop magazine, Vibe. Powell also hosted the landmark MTV documentary Straight from the Hood, about young people in postriot Los Angeles. He credits his mother’s taking him to the library as a child for his lifelong love of books and reading. As a young man in his twenties, Powell made a conscious decision to live a healthy, holistic life. He says, “My deepest passion is the people—all people—and helping them to help themselves.”