Local media entrepreneur Genius Black, host of the “Maine’s Black Future” podcast featured in The Maine Monitor, has been granted a Maine Arts Commission fellowship for 2024, the commission announced.
In the Maine’s Black Future podcast, Genius Black, who also goes by Jerry Edwards, revisits the stories of historic Black Mainers and also conducts interviews of today’s Black changemakers.
“As a multi-faceted creator and storyteller, I am honored to be chosen as an artistic ambassador for the State of Maine,” he said. “This fellowship will share my skills and talents more broadly throughout the state, and I am grateful. I am also excited to share Maine’s Black history, and our current Black influencers throughout the state, and beyond!”
Genius Black will be a “Media Arts Fellow,” one of seven fellows in various disciplines for 2024. The other fellows are: Julie Morringello, the Belvedere Craft Fellow; Autumn Cipala, the Fine Craft Fellow; Kendric Chua, the Literary Fellow; Antonio Rocha, the Performing Arts Fellow; Peter Neptune, the Traditional Arts Fellow; and Veronica Perez, Visual Arts Fellow.
“The Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowships reward artistic excellence, advance the careers of Maine artists and promote public awareness regarding the eminence of the creative sector in Maine,” the commission said in a statement. “The awards are made solely on the basis of artistic excellence.”
This is the second accolade for Genius Black in recent months. Late last year, he was one of 12 recipients of the “2023 Grants for Change Cohort” via the Maine Initiatives nonprofit.
Among the interview subjects: Portland resident Junes Thete, a Congolese-born cinematographer, producer, and fashion consultant; Alfine Nathalie, a holistic health provider who was born in Kenya and raised in Maine; and Adilah Muhammad, the founder and executive director of The Third Place, a network for Black professionals.