Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2018, Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Harper’s Bazaar, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and New York Times bestselling Hunger: A Memoir of My Body. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel and the editor of Best American Short Stories 2018. She is currently at work on film and television projects, a book of writing advice, an essay collection about television and culture, and a YA novel entitled The Year I Learned Everything. In 2018, she won a Guggenheim fellowship.
As a singer/songwriter and spoken word artist, Mary Lambert is most known for her heart-wrenching vocals in the 2012 global anthem, "Same Love". Writing and singing the hook led to two Grammy nominations for “Song Of The Year” and “Album Of The Year”, as well as the iconic performance alongside pop legend Madonna at the 2014 Grammys. Mary Lambert isn’t your typical pop artist. Inspired by confessional folk singers as well as spoken-word performers, she is a brutally candid writer who deals directly in her art with her past traumas and lived experience. Lambert was raised in an abusive home, attempted suicide at 17, turned to drugs and alcohol before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and survived multiple sexual assaults throughout her childhood. With a list of horrors, you wouldn’t expect Mary to be disarmingly joyful, but she charms effortlessly, and the effect on her audience is bewitching. She describes her performances as “safe spaces where crying is encouraged; My entire prerogative is about connection, about being present, and facilitating true and genuine catharsis. Also, fart jokes.”
Kim Katrin Milan
Kim Katrin Milan is an award- winning, internationally acclaimed educator, TED speaker, writer, and artist. She is recognized stateside as a Young Feminist to Watch by The Root, celebrated by the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity as 2016’s Youth Role Model, and recognized nationally as one of Huffington Post’s 50 Most Loved Gay Canadians. Kim is the co- founder and executive director of the People Project, an initiative to bring forth local and international community development for queer and trans folks of colour and their allies through alternative education, art- activism, and collaboration. She is also one of the owners of Glad Day Book Shop, the oldest LGBT bookstore in the world. She has hosted events for the United Nations, acted as the grand marshall for Pride in Hudson, New Yok, opened for Cornel West, interviewed Roxane Gay, and hosted an inspiring session at Dreamforce 2016. She has contributed to Cosmopolitan, MTV, NBC, Larry King Now, Buzzfeed, and the CBC both independently and alongside her husband Tiq Milan. She was featured in Elixher Magazine with Janet Mock, as well as in OUT Magazine’s 2015 Love Portfolio alongside Lee Daniels and Ruby Rose. The Love is Revolutionary series produced by Danielle Moodie- Mills for NBC featuring the Milans has garnered praise from Ava DuVernay and the Advocate. Alongside Gein Wong, Kim co- curated Strange/ Insatiable Sisters, Resistance & Raunch with Vivek Shraya, and, most recently The Cipher Cabaret featuring Patrisse Cullors, co- founder of Black Lives Matter. Her TED Talk with Tiq Milan has been viewed over one million times and has been translated into over a dozen languages.
Hannah Hart is an online personality, actress, producer, philanthropist and New York Times best-selling author. Boasting over 5 million followers across her social platforms, Hannah is the creator and star of her award-winning web series “My Drunk Kitchen, which started as a joke between friends and has now amassed millions of views. Hannah’s first book "My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut,” was based on her popular web series and spent six weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. Hannah’s sophomore book called "Buffering: Unshared Tales Of A Life Fully Loaded," launched successfully at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list. In 2015, Hannah starred and produced in Legendary Digital Media’s film “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl,” and Lionsgate's comedy "Dirty 30." She is currently in production on a food and travel show for the Food Network.
Mara Wilson is a recovering child actor perhaps best known for playing the title role in the movie Matilda. She now works as a writer, voice-over actor, and storyteller. Her voice can be heard on BoJack Horseman and Welcome to Night Vale, and her writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, McSweeney's, The Toast, and many other places. She is the creator and host of the storytelling show What Are You Afraid Of?, and in 2016, her first book, Where Am I Now? was published by Penguin Books. She loves baking, tea, and cats. (Dogs are good, too.)
Jasika Nicole is an actor who is probably best known as Brenda from that Alltel commercial she did 8 years ago that ran for a few months, but she also spent five years on Fringe and is currently on Scandal. She has a lot of hobbies such as hating cheese, obsessing over your Mom, and reading power tool reviews on amazon. She also spends a lot of her time knitting, sewing clothes, building things, and drawing her comic Closetalkers, which is a story about two best friends who fall in love with each other.
In addition to her work as a nationally touring headliner, Cameron has appeared on NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, IFC, E!, Cartoon Network and HBO Canada. Cameron has appeared in films featured at the Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals. Named a Comic to Watch by The New York Times, Variety, The Guardian, LA Weekly, Time Out Los Angeles, Jezebel, Los Angeles Magazine and Cosmopolitan Magazine, Cameron hosts her own standup show, Put Your Hands Together, every Tuesday night at the famed Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles. Cameron’s sophomore album, SAME SEX SYMBOL debuted at #1 on the iTunes comedy charts and was named a Best of 2014 comedy album by The AV Club, Consequence of Sound, Laugh Button and Paste Magazine. Cameron’s debut standup special MARRIAGE MATERIAL was released in 2016 and her first book is forthcoming from Hachette/Grand Central Publishing. Cameron is co-creator and co-star of TAKE MY WIFE, a television series which has gotten rave reviews from The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vulture and Indiewire and is available now on Seeso.
Gaby is a writer, journalist, YouTuber, actress, and comedian living in Los Angeles. She and her comedy partner, Allison Raskin, run the successful comedy YouTube channel Just Between Us, which has more than seven hundred and forty thousand subscribers and over ninety million total views. Gaby was one of Paper Magazine’s 10 Comedians To Watch In 2015. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, Playboy, Refinery 29, Women’s Health Magazine, Vulture, Thought Catalog and on NPR’s On The Media, Sourcefed, Nickelodeon, Buzzfeed Video, Fusion, Mashable, Glamour, xoJane, Salon, Slate, ROOKIE, Jezebel and ABC’s Nightline. This year, she co-created and starred in a pilot for MTV and has developed original half-hour pilots for both FX and YouTube Red. Most recently Gaby launched the podcast, BAD WITH MONEY WITH GABY DUNN which hit the TOP 10 overall downloaded podcast charts in just seven days and was featured as one of the "Best New Podcasts of 2016" by The New York Times.
Rhea Butcher is a Los Angeles-based standup comic, actor and writer. Originally from the Midwest, Rhea grew up skateboarding the mean streets of Akron, Ohio. Her blue collar brand of cool has endeared her to audiences nationwide, as she performs standup and appears on shows such as @Midnight and Conan. Rhea’s first television series, “Take My Wife” premiered on August 11th on Seeso and her debut standup album, “Butcher” is available now through Kill Rock Stars Records and iTunes. Additionally this year, Rhea will be a recurring performer on the TruTv series “Adam Ruins Everything,” and continue to host the popular web series “She Said” on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Network.
DeAnne Smith has performed all over the world, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Iceland Comedy Festival and Just for Laughs Montreal and Chicago to name a few. She’s also been on TV in four countries, including on Last Comic Standing NBC, The Late Late Show on CBS, Canada’s The Comedy Network and CBC, Australia’s Channel 10 and ABC, and UK’s Sky TV. The Montreal Gazette says DeAnne is “fresh, cutting…one of the finest wits in the country.” The UK’s Telegraph calls her “Smart. Very funny. Effortless charm lets her get away with murder.” She’s never actually murdered anyone.
Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard
Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard are best friends and writing partners who currently appear on Bravo's The People's Couch. They starred in the hit Autostraddle web series In Your Box Office and Roomies and Gay Street Therapy on Tello They've worked as staff writers for E! Fashion Police With Joan Rivers, are regular guests on The Gay Pimpin’ Podcast and now host their own podcast Dumb Gay Politics. Julie Goldman is a world-renowned lesbian comedian and star of the former Logo TV program The Big Gay Sketch Show, and has also appeared in Faking It, Bones, DTLA, The Sopranos, The New Normal, Weeds and Best Friends Forever. Brandy Howard has appeared in 56 beer commercials, as well as Untold, Ditching Party, Just Shoot Me! and It’s Like, You Know.
Jen Richards is a writer & actress, as well as a consultant & advocate who works with national organizations and media projects. She is the co-writer/star/producer of the Emmy nominated series Her Story; co-producer of the upcoming docu-series More Than T and writer of its accompanying Trans 102 series; a 2016 Outfest Screenwriting Fellow for her feature script Any Given Week; and will be appearing in several upcoming projects, including CBS’s Doubt, and CMT’s Nashville. Jen was a series regular on E!’s I Am Cait, featured in Logo’s Beautiful As I Want To Be and AOL’s True Trans with Laura Jane Grace, and has appeared in several videos for BuzzFeed, OWN, and After Ellen. She has published essays on multiple platforms, and wrote the 2015 Sep/Oct cover story “What Trans Movement?” for The Advocate.
Brittani Nichols is a comedian and actor from Chicago. She is a five-time recipient of the Diversity Scholarship from Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Words With Girls, a comedy pilot (based on the webseries of the same name) which she wrote and starred, was produced as part of Issa Rae’s Color Creative TV and premiered at HBO/BET’s Urbanworld Film Festival in 2014. Brittani is a recurring character on Season 2 of Transparent. She has two podcasts: Brand New Podcast with fellow comedian and feelings-haver, Ariana Lenarsky, and Hamilton the Podcast with the Burr to her Hamilton, Khalehla Rixon. Suicide Kale, the award-winning feature that she produced, wrote, and starred is currently on the festival circuit. When not performing in Los Angeles, she enjoys playing basketball, frequenting diners other people look down on, and eating ice cream.
Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter from Washington DC. With roots in jazz, acapella and folk-Be composes a soulful blend of genres into what she calls queer pop. In her live performances, she utilizes loop pedal vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be’s self-produced albums feature her earnest lyricism, proud LGBTQ content, unapologetic silliness, and the art of the simple love song. As she pursued her career in music, she began a career in film. Shooting and editing her own music videos, Be combined her love of music with narrative film. In 2014, Be completed an MFA in film from Howard University. This year, be was selected to be a 2016 Strathmore Artist in Residence. The DC commission on the arts awarded be the artist fellowship for 2016. Be is currently touring her music and screening her film Vow of Silence (2014) internationally.
Last year, Julia Nunes traded her Brooklyn boy problems for love in Los Angeles and wrote about 80 songs in the process. She released Some Feelings September 2015, it will make you cry and also dance. Her first paid gig was opening for Ben Folds on a tour in 2008. Now 26 - she’s toured with A Great Big World, played Bonnaroo twice (where she jumped in on Weezer’s set) and performed on Conan. On the horizon are music videos, acoustic sessions, collaborations with some special guests, and a fully acoustic version of the album. She'll also be writing about minimalism, getting healthier, and being good to yourself for Radimo.LA in 2016.
After several years of mourning the loss of her dancing career, Morelli was inspired by a college professor to pursue a career in writing. She began with short stories and small blog pieces until she landed her first professional writing position on the 2013 Netflix series Orange Is The New Black. She was appointed the role of "lead writer" for two episodes of the first season of Orange Is The New Black, "WAC-Pack" and "Tall Men With Feelings." Morelli has also worked as a playwright: her short play "Roach & Rat" was featured in Lesser America's production of Just Right Just Now in New York. She recently got engaged to OITNB actress Samira Wiley.
Jenny Owen Youngs
Singer, songwriter, and natural history enthusiast Jenny Owen Youngs grew up in the forests of northern New Jersey and is now based in Los Angeles. After self-releasing her first album Batten the Hatches in 2005, she went on to put out two albums and three EPs through the Canadian indie label Nettwerk Records. Youngs has since self-released her album AN UNWAVERING BAND OF LIGHT in 2012, a serial song project called EXHIBIT in which each composition is directly inspired by a specific work of art in 2013, and the Slack Tide EP in 2015. Youngs has toured extensively in the US and Europe, headlining and also supporting artists such as Regina Spektor, Against Me!, Frank Turner, Motion City Soundtrack, and Aimee Mann. Her songs have been heard on Weeds, Nurse Jackie, Suburgatory, and elsewhere. Today, Youngs spends much of her time writing with and for other artists in Los Angeles and working on her next record.
bell's roar is the solo project from Bronx native Sean Desiree. In June 2015 bell’s roar signed to Firebrand Records, the new activist label from Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. The tone of the project is best described by the source of its name feminist writer bell hooks. The music is inherently melodic; layers of dynamic instrumentation, soulful vocals, and post-rock guitar laden beat making create energetic and electronic compositions. They released their second EP, Second Chances Vol. 1 in November of 2015. They have opened for acts such as, MS MR, Mirah, K Flay, THEESatisfaction and Chrisette Michele. Their music can be streamed at www.soundcloud.com/bellsroar.
Mal Blum writes songs and other things that aren't songs. Their last album (out now on Don Giovanni Records) was mostly just first-person narratives about depression set to punk music. They also play in a band and tour around the country. Critics often call their writing "funny" or "tongue-in-cheek" but that's just because they use humor to deflect from their vulnerabilities and an unrelenting vast, existential hollow lol.
Megan Benton aka Emotions The P.O.E.T. & Lex Kennedy
Megan is a spoken word artist, activist, writer and healer from Los Angeles, CA. Megan is one of the founders of Theta Xi Theta Fraternity, Inc. and a member of the Brown Boi Project. Megan Benton has a Masters in Clinical Psychology with emphasis in LGBTQ studies. She specializes on working with LGBTQ / Queer People of Color and gender non-conforming people, providing a healing space for clients to develop healthy identities in regards to the intersection of race, culture, sex, gender, lifestyle and spirituality. She has facilitated groups at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center as well as Life Works, LBGTQ youth center; and presented at events including Butch Voices, The LAGPA Conference, The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Conference, the EDGY Conference, True Colors, Case Managers of America, and Models of Pride.
Lex Kennedy is an award winning filmmaker and visual media artist residing in Los Angeles by way of Lex’s east coast roots in Atlanta, DMV, and New York. As a genderqueer, masculine of center BOI, Lex uses art as activism. After screening consecutive years at the Fusion film festival, and Outfest film festival Lex is determined to bring more queer people of color stories to every screen possible. From volunteering with the Los Angeles Gay&Lesbian center to Americorps Vista program, Lex believes that through community service and self care the work of an activist is never done. Which explains Lex’s No days off philosophy. Whether it’s creating visuals for poets, such as Emotions the P.O.E.T, or making commercials for 826LA a non-profit writing and after school tutoring program, Lex remains busy building a community where every human being is loved. Appreciated. And Welcome.
A Seattle-based comedian, writer and comic book reader, El Sanchez has been performing all over the West Coast since 2010. Sanchez has been called “fearless” by City Arts Magazine, “a grumpy nugget of delight,” by writer/author Lindy West, “a local favorite,” by Seattle alt weekly The Stranger and “a brilliant new voice everyone should know,” by comedian Hari Kondabolu. Grammy Award winning singer/song-writer Kimya Dawson (The Moldy Peaches, Juno) has cited Sanchez as her ‘favorite underground Northwest comedian’ while W. Kamau Bell, comedian and host of the CNN series United Shades of America, once said, “Sanchez is the truth.” El has performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot, Emerald City Comicon, has appeared on NPR, The Bob Rivers Show, the television show The  and has written articles for Autostraddle.com and Jezebel. They currently produce four monthly comedy shows in Seattle (Wine Shots: Comedy’s Happiest Hour, Not Too Late with Elicia Sanchez, The Enematic Cinematic LIVES!!, Karajokey) and is also the host of the Seattle branch of The Moth StorySlam.
Somer Bingham appeared on the terrifying Showtime reality series The Real L Word as a member of the band "Hunter Valentine" and hosted SOMER FRIDAYS for Showtime with her wife Donna. She now heads up Clinical Trials, a “thrashy all-female electro grunge rock [band] with a side of angst.”
Haviland Stillwell is actor, singer, writer & producer known for her work on Broadway, in Film, Animation and Television. She has appeared in shows and movies including Baywatch, UnREAL, Selma, Magic Mike XXL, Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, CSI:NY and The Client List. On Broadway, she played Grandma Tzeitel and Hodel in the 2004 revival of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF on Broadway with Rosie O'Donnell and Lea Michelle as well as Fantine in the revival of LES MISERABLES. As a recording artist, her music is available on iTunes and Spotify, and includes her original pop album, SPARK. Her first album, HOW I ROLE, whose track list includes rock covers, jazz and musical theatre, was produced by Michael Croiter and directed and arranged by Steven Jamail. She regularly performs live, and has sung on the stages of Radio City Music Hall, Atlanta's Symphony Hall, SxSW, West Hollywood's Eleven, Rockwell, Rage, M Bar, The Abbey, The Flamingo Vegas, NYC's Joe's Pub at the Public, and The Lincoln Center. She's a recipient of the PowerUP Award and was listed on Go Magazine's "100 Women We Love," and won "Most Improved" on her high school volleyball team the same year she won the "Musical Theatre Award."
Dannielle is the Co-Founder and CEO of Radimo, a collective of humans working toward living their best lives, launched in 2016. Radimo is a site dedicated to mindfulness, living well, honesty, positive change, and making the choice that will make your life better. In 2010, she founded Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber and Everyone is Gay. She has written for Nylon Magazine, MTV Style, Autostraddle, and co-authored This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids in 2014. Dannielle is currently living the dream in Los Angeles, producing a web-based video series on fashion and gender, and designing a unisex clothing line for Radimo.