Michaela Angela Davis
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Michaela Angela Davis
Michaela Angela Davis at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival
|Occupation||Writer, image activist|
Michaela Angela Davis was born in Germany and raised in Washington, D.C. She is of West African, German and Irish descent. Her mother was convinced that her next child would be a boy and, after visiting the Sistine Chapel during her pregnancy, decided to name him Michael Angelo. When Davis was born, her mother gave her the female version of the name, Michaela Angela.
From an early age, Davis was a student of the arts, especially acting. She began her studies at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC as a National Arts Scholar. She went to college at New York University, and studied at the Stella Adler Acting Conservatory, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Publishing and writing career
After completing her studies, Davis went to work in 1991 for Essence as an associate fashion editor. Her first assignment was the styling of Anita Hill in preparation for her testimony before Congress for the nomination hearings of Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court justice.
Davis became the associate fashion, culture and the executive fashion and beauty editor for Essence magazine. She was the founding fashion director for Vibe magazine, and she was the last editor-in-chief of Honey, a magazine for 18- to 34-year-old black women.
In addition, Davis has contributed to many projects, such as Everything But the Burden: What White People are Taking from Black Culture (ed. Greg Tate; Broadway Books, 2003). She wrote Beloved Baby: A Baby's Scrapbook and Journal (Pocket Books, 1995). Regarding the issue of colorism within the black community, Davis has said, "Anything that tears us apart as sisters, there’s no privilege in, we have equal pain, it’s just different and has been processed and presented to us in different ways."
Davis was also a celebrity stylist for people such as Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, Prince, Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige and LL Cool J. She has worked as a stylist on several films, including Paid in Full (2002).
She has been featured in documentary films including The Souls of Black Girls (2008). Davis has had several television appearances, most recently on BET in their presentation of Hip Hop vs. America II: Am I My Sister's Keeper?
Activism and mentoring
Davis is developing an online magazine and television show exploring race, gender, beauty and identity. In addition, she is working on a related documentary film and book. She serves on the board of Black Girls Rock!, Imagenation, and The Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School. She conducts her own monthly career-mentoring program called Salon de Shine. Davis regularly speaks on campuses and in the community.
She is also working on a novel called The Revolution of Happiness: A Book and Digital Conversation Project. It is a culmination of "honest and innovative cross-generational conversations with revolutionary-thinking Black women about disturbing the pain that has burdened or molested our natural exquisite selves."
Davis is the leader of "Mad Free," a multi-platform, multi-generational critical community conversation. She draws women who, she says, have "work and lives [that] serve to liberate the narrow and misinformed image of women."
- "Michaela Angela Davis: The Makings of an Urbanista", Ganeka Gray, Clutch Magazine, August 1, 2008
- BEAUTIFUL BLACK SPOTLIGHT: Michaela Angela Davis, The Sauda Voice, December 21, 2008
- Michaela Angela Davis biography, American Program Bureau speakers
- "Essence magazine criticized for hiring white Fashion Director : Urbanmecca.com | African American News". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
- Everything But the Burden, amazon.com. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
- The Editor (July 21, 2011). "This Black Girl Rocks: Image Activist Michaela Angela Davis". Madame Noire.
- "Mad Free". Tumblr. Archived from the original on 2015-05-04.