celebrating people of color in the arts

about us

of note celebrates people of color in the arts. It is a space where art meets activism, empowerment, and social responsibility. The artists featured by of note demonstrate a commitment to global citizenship and social change and use their work as a means to challenge, celebrate, and engage the complex experiences of people of color around the globe.


of note serves as a bridge-builder between the contemporary arts and audiences of color. Although people of color continue to make great strides on the stage, screen, gallery walls etc., often they are not equally represented in the audience. Out of that absence, of note was created.

Our mission, through our online publication and community initiatives, is twofold: To increase participation in the arts that celebrate people of color and to improve access to the arts for low-income families and under-served communities. We believe that greater involvement in the arts can strengthen families and foster stronger relationships within communities.

the team

Grace Aneiza Ali | Founder & Director | grace.ali@ofnotemagazine.org

Grace Ali’s mission as a social entrepreneur is to improve access to the arts for low-income families and under-served communities. Her background is one of global citizenship and activism. She was born and raised in Guyana; worked in civil rights advocacy in Washington, DC; traveled throughout the Caribbean; and lived in India while working on a literary project on female writers of the Indian diaspora. Grace now resides in Harlem, New York City where she is also a writer and an adjunct faculty member at the City University of New York (CUNY).

For her work in merging the arts with activism, she has received several honors, including a Fulbright Award and a Henry McCracken Fellowship. Known for her social justice advocacy, she spent several years working for the internationally recognized Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and The Sentencing Project. Grace holds a M.A. in Africana Studies from NYU and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Julien De Bock | Photography Editor | julien.debock@ofnotemagazine.org

Julien De Bock is a professional photographer and architect whose diverse body of work reflects his commitment to global citizenship. His portraits of people of the diaspora often evoke a tenacity for life that stand paramount to the social conditions in the background.

Born in Belgium, he has been taking photographs since the age of 11 and has traveled far and wide to the Americas (Guatemala, Brazil, Peru), the Caribbean (Cuba, Honduras), Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East (Iran), Central Asia (Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan), North Africa (Morocco, Egypt), and extreme places, such as the Arctic Circle. He earned his degree in Architecture from the renowned London Architectural Association and later opened his own practice in Belgium, where his work focused on architecture, design and lighting, and photography.

Shahnaz Habib | Film Editor | shahnaz.habib@ofnotemagazine.org

Shahnaz Habib’s interests lie in international cinema and the stories it tells of a world full of mixed messages. A freelance writer and editor, she was raised in India and is currently based in a state of flux in Brooklyn. Her writing ranges from fiction to literary journalism. She has reviewed film for the New York Press, the Reeler, and Go NYC and has been published in the Guardian online, Women’s E News, Elan, and Samar. Her work has also been featured in Random House’s 2006 anthology, Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers.

Shahnaz was the recipient of a 2002 Ford Foundation fellowship for graduate studies. Additionally, she has served as a board member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective in New York and as an ambassador for Children of Abraham’s interfaith work.

Clarence Haynes | Book Editor | clarence.haynes@ofnotemagazine.org

Clarence Haynes is an editor and writer based in Brooklyn who also works as a model, actor, and dancer. Bronx-born of Panamanian, Jamaican, and Barbadian descent, he’s written for The Source, Giant, Newsday, Black Issues in Higher Education, and Publisher’s Weekly. He’s also been an editor for the African-diaspora imprint Harlem Moon, the health-book company Hilton Publishing, and the teen publishing organization Youth Communication.

A graduate of Columbia University, Clarence loves to read literary fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, memoir, and cultural criticism, and listens to everything from ‘70s soul to acoustic alternative pop. Look for him shimmying at a club or lounge near you.

M. Soledad Sklate | Dance Editor | soledad.sklate@ofnotemagazine.org

A native of Argentina, Soledad left her homeland as a teenager to finish high school in Norway at the United World Colleges, an educational movement that brings together students from all over the world with the explicit aim of fostering peace and international understanding. After this life-changing experience, she obtained a scholarship to pursue her undergraduate studies at Bryn Mawr College, where she received double degrees in Political Science and French, and later a Master’s degree in French.

She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in French Literature at NYU where she focuses on Francophone Caribbean and West African cultural expressions. Her work examines how societies that have suffered colonialism, abuse, dictatorships, and poverty can be portrayed so differently in their artistic expressions. Soledad is especially interested in following the unifying trace of dance and music in these cultures. She is also a practitioner of West African and Latin dance.

Amina Zamani | Art & Culture Contributor | amina.zamani@ofnotemagazine.org

Art, culture, and media have always been strong passions for Amina Zamani. As an account executive and a host for Crossings TV, she is committed to creating positive social change through the power of new media, television, and print. Amina is a featured author in Snapshots: This Afghan-American Life (2008), a collection of essays by Afghan and Afghan-American writers. She is also working on an upcoming documentary that highlights the difficulties of immigration and assimilation for Afghan women.

Amina’s family is from Afghanistan, but she was born in Pakistan and immigrated to the United States at age seven.  In her travels throughout Asia, India, Africa, South America, Australia, and the Caribbean, Amina has experienced first-hand how powerful and influential media is and can be. Through her work, she aims to be a role model in the Afghani community and to promote artistic expression in diverse media platforms.

Amina holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media from California State University in Sacramento—the city she currently calls home. She was recently honored as an Emerging Leader by the E-Women Network.

© of note 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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