About – Upspoken

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What is Upspoken?

Upspoken is a space for Black women to come together to share our varied experiences, strengths, vulnerabilities and successes in love, relationships and sex. We believe that, together, we can build power and strength from each other, giving us the confidence to take full ownership of our sexuality and build healthy relationships that prioritize our needs. Read our welcome post to learn more.

Meet the Contributors


Dwana White

Dwana White is an accomplished writer and comedian who has performed at Upright Citizens Brigade, The Second City, and I.O. West Theatre. She is a funny girl who engages in the occasional thirst trap. Dwana is currently penning a horror/thriller screenplay where the Black girl is NOT the 1st character to get killed. If you didn’t guess, Dwana is an instigator of epic proportions.@youwantDwana.


Ajolique Jude

Ajolique is a DC-based writer working on her first collection of poetry. Aside from wine, words are her favorite truth serum. Hangout with her on both Instagram and Twitter @ajolique.


Nadia Caldwell

Nadia Caldwell is a recent graduate, receiving her Master’s in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Southern California. Nadia fancies herself as a writer and loves to flex her creative writing muscles any chance she gets. LA-based but originally from the Pacific Northwest, Nadia loves sad songs and rain, but you’d never know it with her always cheerful disposition.

Jawahara Bio

Jawhara Atiya

Jawhara Atiya is a UCLA graduate living in Los Angeles, passionate about all things social justice, philanthropy, and urban planning. When not working, you can find her hitting a spin class, schmoozing tech-bros, or reading articles about well-designed cities. Also, join her in her self-love and fitness journey @2thicc2quitt.


Bee Pollard

For as long as she remembers, Bee’s always had a penchant for the pen. The writer, womanist and true blue Aries currently resides in Prince George’s County, MD. Outside of writing, Bee is obsessed with hip-hop, nostalgic television from the 90s and early 00s, vinyl and carbs. Follow her on all her socials (@thedfff) for her unapologetic-yet-aesthetically pleasing views on life. You wanna bumble with this Bee.

Maria Niles profile

Maria Niles

Maria Niles is a marketing consultant with her company, ConsumerPop, as well as a writer, public speaker and voiceover artist. Writing since 2005 at a variety of outlets and as Contributing Editor-At-Large for BlogHer.com, Maria covers a wide range of topics including race, politics, personal development, business, technology, travel, and popular culture.


Danielle Wright

Danielle Wright is a single working mama from Los Angeles. Danielle is a proud alumna of Syracuse University and an active member of Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honors Society. When she’s not making memories with her adorable daughter, Danielle is in these streets eating junk food, hiking, and online shopping. Stay woke with Danielle on IG at @MommyandMadison.


Thea Monyeé

Thea Monyeé is an accomplished self-identified Black Woman Creative with credits including appearances on HBO, BET, and TV One, performances at the legendary Ford Amphitheater and House of Blues in Los Angeles, countless college tours, and commissions to perform for the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and other national organizations. Monyeé is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Cal State L.A., she is currently studying to add certified sex therapist to her list of credits. Monyee enjoys creating work that dives into the intersections of healing through decolonization of joy, pleasure, and mental health. You can follow her at @TheaMonyee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and visit her website.


The Oprah Rose Show

The Oprah Rose Show is a podcast for the millennial modern day woman (and man). It is the dichotomy between Oprah Winfrey and Amber Rose. Oprah is the personification of positivity, growth and empowerment. Amber Rose represents a sexually free feminist who is bold, determined and confident. Hosts Tiara also known as TT and Gená also known as GG, are similar to many women who embody the walk of duality between two seemingly different women who float transparently in and out of both arenas. She is unapologetic, vulnerable, ambitious, authentic and self-aware. The Oprah Rose Show is simply a conduit – TT and GG are the GPS as cheerleaders, sisters, mentors, and reflections, helping anyone who is willing to listen, navigate through the ups, downs and crazy of life towards a better you. You can check out their website to learn more about where to listen to their podcast and follow them on Instagram at @Theoprahroseshow , Twitter @Oprahroseshow


Tiffany Lit’Shae

On some days, she is Solange on other days she is Beyoncé, but in every moment she is true to her journey. Through a mix of personal stories and honest advice, Tiffany Lit’Shae helps women navigate the waves of life. When she is not writing, you can find her taking it easy. Seriously, her favorite thing to do is to relax with hot tea and a good book. You can kick back with her on Instagram and Twitter: @tiffanylitshae and read more of her work on her website.


Ceraun the Divanun

Ceraun the Divanun is a multimedia storyteller from Washington, DC. Whether its poetry or performance, photography or short stories Ceraun is always invested in using the art of storytelling to shine a light on the people society too often forgets. Currently based in LA, Ceraun loves exploring the amazing food scene this city has to offer as well as the ecstatic nightlife that keeps Los Angeles dancing to a beat all its own. If you want to explore new places and see the beauty of the world then follow Ceraun on Instagram @ceraunthedivanun or their website www.divanunarchives.com.

phyllis hubbard

Dr. Phyllis Hubbard

Dr. Phyllis Hubbard is founder of Radiant Health Strategies, LLC a privately owned holistic health educational business. Having used holistic healing strategies to eliminate the medication for and completely heal herself of a supposedly incurable illness (COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

Dr. Phyl is the ultimate Body Whisperer. She is a Motivational Speaker,  Life and Mental Health Coach, and Licensed Massage Therapist (#MA64036). Her straightforward and humorous presentations blend ancient holistic wisdom with cutting edge research in a way that is fun and easy to understand. She travels nationally and internationally as a Holistic Health Educator and to research indigenous holistic practices to integrate into her healing techniques and workshops.

Tope Akinyode

Tope Akinyode

Tope is a content creator who formerly wrote for UofTaste magazine and Utor.com. When she’s not launching into tirades within her group chats she’s most likely binge-watching British crime dramas or critiquing pop-culture at large. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @topeelle


evan nicole brown

Evan is a freelance writer, editor, and independent publisher living in Brooklyn. Born and raised in Mid-City LA, she graduated from Bard College in 2016 with a joint degree in Literature and Written Arts, focusing on short fiction.

Since then, she has worked in advertising as a copywriter, book publishing as a junior literary agent, and written for various outlets including Architectural DigestAtlas Obscura, Bushwick Daily, Bustle, Chicago Magazine, Gothamist, Office Magazine, Okay Player, Paper Magazine, and Ploughshares. She can also be heard on an episode of All Things Considered, a collaboration between NPR and Wisconsin Public Radio.

Desire Grose

Desiré Grose

Desiré is a Chicago based writer who is passionate about helping young black women to lead emotionally healthy lives. Through sharing her own personal experiences and learnings, Desiré hopes to create a space where black women can feel confident sharing the stories that have shaped who and where they are today. By day, Desiré is a communications writer and copy editor for an international law firm. When she is not writing, you can find her unwinding at a hot Bikram Yoga session or enjoying a new rooftop happy hour with friends.



Leilani is a Southern California native, obtaining her Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Southern California. She has a passion for reproductive health, maternal health and child health. Leilani desires to make an impact on the racial disparities African American mothers face by improving knowledge, educational and advocacy skills within the community. When Leilani is not writing papers or studying, you’ll find her fellowshipping with other believers, cycling or watching The Photograph.


What is Upspoken?

Upspoken is a space for Black women to come together to share our varied experiences in love, relationships and sex. We believe that, together, we can build power and strength from each other, giving us the confidence to take full ownership of our sexuality and build healthy relationships that prioritize our needs. Read our welcome post to learn more.

What does the name of your website mean?

Upspoken speaks to what we want to create: a community of Black women coming together and showing up for each other by sharing their perspectives, experiences, strengths, vulnerabilities and successes. In short, a place where you can be Upspoken. So… Come on in, kick up your feet (like you aren’t in your mama’s front room) and share all the things you never would in mixed company because this space is yours.

Who is behind Upspoken?

Made for Black women, by Black women, Upspoken is a platform that seeks to lift up our voices. Scroll up to meet our contributing writers!

Who funds Upspoken?

Upspoken is funded by The California Wellness Foundation.

How do you select which content to feature?

We are inspired by Black women who are always asked to be strong and care for others while rarely receiving that treatment in return. Upspoken is a celebration of you, and we want to lift up your voices and perspectives, which are far too often neglected. To learn more about submissions, please click here.

Do you take submissions?

Yes! Upspoken is a space where Black women can learn from each other and that only happens when experiences and perspectives are shared. We welcome submissions of all types, including poems, short testimonial videos, personal essays and art. To learn more about the types of submissions we take and to submit a piece of original content, please click here.

Who do I contact for press inquiries?

Please email us at info@upspokenwomen.com with press inquiries.

Can I email Upspoken for advice?

Upspoken is a community of women that helps each other, empowers each other and cheers each other on. So, if you ever need support, join the conversation in our social media channels or email us at info@upspokenwomen.com. And if you have ideas for topics that might connect with a larger group, we’re here for it!

Does Upspoken work with other organizations or partners?

We work with a variety of partners to make sure Black women know about Upspoken and can benefit from the experiences and perspectives offered in our shared space by the community of women we’re building.

What's the best way to connect with Upspoken?

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How can I get involved with Upspoken?

There are lots of ways you can get involved with Upspoken! Join the conversation online and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @UpspokenWomen. You can also sign up for our email newsletter for updates on upcoming events.

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