This article was sponsored by Xfinity

The craft of storytelling has captured my imagination since I was five years old. Documentary, where we have the opportunity to tell the real life stories of Black folks, is what interests me most today. That’s mostly because of how little access I’ve had to the documentation of Black life while in the classroom and throughout my career and adulthood. So my entryway into the work of The TRiiBE was through a camera.

Before I began to refer to myself as publisher of The TRiiBE, I was simply a filmmaker who wanted to tell Black stories. Watching stories of Black death go viral online, alongside the unyielding sensationalized crime reporting that impacted the everyday lives of Black Chicagoans, led me to a more specific calling. I wanted to reshape the narrative of Black Chicago. 

Naturally, my first project for my new, rebellious publication,, would be a documentary series that I filmed and edited called Another Life. The series provided a deeper look into how those affected by gun violence coped with the aftermath. I filmed that series with the type of compassion and empathy that I felt the Chicago journalism landscape was missing. If I knew one thing about journalism, it was that my publication’s stories would reflect the love that we have for this city, its people and our mission to do liberatory work through storytelling. 

With that vision, my two business partners — editor-in-chief Tiffany Walden and head of operations David Elutilo — and I produced stories while figuring out the business of publishing. I think the correct metaphor is “building the plane as it’s taking off.” It wasn’t until three years after we launched The TRiiBE that I truly understood my position in the company and settled into my role as publisher. 

Being the publisher means that I run the business side of the company. I oversee the entrepreneurial vision, advertising sales, fundraising, partnerships and everything else that makes a publication financially sustainable —that’s all me. And while running The TRiiBE has felt like I’ve been enrolled in a never-ending MBA program, I’ve been able to sharpen my skills as a negotiator, manager, dreamer and manifester; all while being able to nurture my own creative spirit. Whenever I’m not applying for a grant or making an ad sale, I’m collaborating with the editorial team and guiding the overarching vision for the work that we do. I want our stories to build on each other and converse with each other—all towards one common goal to reshape the narrative.

I didn’t come from a traditional newsroom and I hope The TRiiBE never becomes one. I think of us as more of a hub for creatives with mission-aligned goals. We’re all learning from each other and pushing each other to a new level of impact. For me, the goal isn’t always to be the first to report something, but to be the publication that consistently frames narratives in a way that amplifies the experiences of marginalized groups. Sometimes this work is about influencing the way current events are reported, especially when Black Chicagoans are the subject. Sometimes we direct our audience to sources outside of The TRiiBE to help them find the information they need. 

Our way of doing news contradicts what we see in mainstream media, so there’s a steep learning curve when new team members join The TRiiBE. Our editorial imperative is more than capitalizing the “B” in Black (and yes we always do). It’s about the way that we are intentional with our word choices for every headline, and the way that we strategize about impact and audience before we go into the field for interviews. Nobody researches, interviews, writes and publishes stories alone. There are video calls, text chains and in-office huddles to get those nuances just right. Coming from the film industry, I’m used to being in a very collaborative space, so I’ve built The TRiiBE in a way that mimics that. We embrace curiosity, critique and skills building. Anyone can pitch an idea, whether it’s for their department or another one. We’re a small business. Everyone is important. Everyone is a department. 

Whether I’m using Xfinity at home or on the go, staying connected is a must for me. With the ever-evolving demands of being publisher of a growing media company, being able to log into my Xfinity account and get reception is an essential service. Although it’s a little stressful, I truly love that digital publishing dominates my day-to-day. Print media wasn’t a viable option for us. But with a $2.99 domain name and a dream, we were able to become a meaningful presence in Chicago’s media landscape.  

There’s a world of possibilities for us when we’re connected. I’m so grateful for the community I’m building through, thanks to Xfinity, home of the 10G Network.

is co-founder and publisher of The TRiiBE.