Creative Producer/Researcher, Smithsonian Institution, Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center
Jade D. Banks (Jade!) is a writer, book publisher, teaching artist, arts administrator, producer, community folklorist, photographer and author of ON BEING FAT, BLACK AND FEMALE. Founder of Iman Books, she made Harlem history by publishing SIGNIFYIN’ HARLEM literary journal (2002-2004), the first literary journal of Harlem artists since the famed Fire!! (1926)—published by Wallace Thurman, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Jade served as publisher / executive editor of eleven youth anthologies in the NYC School system and publishing advisor for ON FIRE!! literary journal of Rider University. Jade is the NYC Researcher/Coordinator, Curriculum Developer and Trainer for THE WILL TO ADORN project of the Smithsonian Institution. She is additionally Director of the Community Folk Culture Program at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, the sole, year-round, folk arts program globally for youth. Jade created the JAZZ IS MY GRANDMOM’S HIP-HOP workshops and walking tours of historic Harlem and ON SACRED GROUND workshops and walking tours of the African Burial Ground and NYC Underground Railroad Stations, which were subsequently utilized for the HARLEM IS… public art project. Jade is also a featured interviewee in the HBO/Cinemax documentary, CUTTING EDGE, and was filmed for LET’S GET THE RHYTHM, IMAGES OF DIGNITY: DECENT PEOPLE’S CHILDREN and BLACKS IN NEW YORK. Her literary and photographic works are archived in permanent collections at the Smithsonian Institution and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.