Mayah S. Collins is a visionary leader, passionate storyteller, and the driving force behind Fruit of May — a dynamic lifestyle media company based in Raleigh, North Carolina, dedicated to celebrating the narratives of Black women. As the founder and editor-in-chief, Mayah combines her expertise as a skilled journalist with her unwavering commitment to inspire her readers to live purposefully, heal unconditionally, and embark on transformative journeys of spiritual growth.
With a profound understanding of the power of personal expression, Mayah, and her team members empower women to navigate their paths of self-discovery and tap into their unlimited potential. Through personal essays, poetry readings, and sister circles, she creates spaces for women to share their stories, find solace, and cultivate collective empowerment.
Mayah was born and raised in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Meredith College. She also has a Master of Science in Multimedia Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Meli Kimathi labors at the intersections of race, gender, and culture to activate wisdom, words, and ways for community solidarity. Broadly interested in mental health maintenance via personal musical practices and praxes of palliative care for our dying master narratives, she holds degrees in International Studies, Education, Social Work. Her doctorate is forthcoming from UNC-Chapel Hill, where her engaged scholarship explores the healing work of DJs through African diaspora music in live party spaces.
Maria Tavarez is a self-taught expressionist abstract artist pulling influences from Georgia O’KEEFE, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Paul Cézzane. Maria’s medium of choice is Acrylic, Spray Paint, Coarse texture paints and charcoal. She has attended some workshops with Eric McRay at Raleigh’s C-MAC to improve her technique and skills. She has an MS in Health Administration from Saint Joseph’s University and spends her time volunteering with several non profit organizations in the Triangle Area. Maria is the Lead Outreach Liaison for Artforall-NC which focuses on making art accessible to all communities despite means. Maria’s art work focuses on mental health awareness through a variety of works that use cubistic, impressionist and expressionistic styles to approach this topic. Her latest work currently Exhibited at Casa Azul of Greensboro Latitudes of Afro Latinx Art 2023 – “Breakthrough Your Boundaries” illustrates the personal struggle of over coming mental blockage.
Maria’s work has been Exhibited at Maria V Howard Art Center’s Juried Art Competition 2023 – Exhibited “Synergy” 36×36, Art Gallery of Moore County 2023 Fine Arts Festival Exhibited-“The Pack” 16×20 Acrylic, VAE Arts Organization Raleigh-Exhibited “The Village” 16×20, and Diamantes Art and Cultural Center currently exhibiting “El Barrio” and “La Playa” paying homage to her home of the Dominican Republic and finally Rocky Mount Mills upcoming exhibit M is for Menopause Baby will be showing to of Maria’s work- “Mother” 16×20 Acrylic, Pray paint abstract and “The Cycle” 16×20 Acrylic.
Yolanda Bradley Crocker is a reverse migrant to the South from the Midwest, Yolanda is a writer and self-styled archivist deeply rooted in exploring the paths of Black ancestral healing traditions, expansive kinships, spirituality, rituals, and our relationships to food, land and nature. She is devoted to honoring the steadfast threads that gather us regardless of time, space, or geography.
Hayla Hurt is a graduate from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and is currently pursuing a career in copywriting. She is currently based in Raleigh-Durham and is a writer, dancer, and overall enthusiast of the power of words and art.
Nic Johnson (gay/black/he/him/his) is a creative writer and marketing consultant with over ten years of experience. He has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and Mass Communications with a concentration in Photojournalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Nic has managed marketing campaigns for nonprofits, fundraisers, community events, and a local election. Today, he publishes a monthly column, Waking Up to the Arts, highlighting the art of Orange County, NC. And serves on the Chapel Hill Cultural Arts Commission, a public art advisory board for town and staff.
When not creating, Nic loves food and wine, good conversation with friends, and wandering in community or on a trail.