Shani Byard, Ed.D.
Adwoa Sabola Ma'at (Prophetess guided by Justice)
Dr. Shani Byard is an educator and social entrepreneur who specializes in Educational Leadership for Racial Justice. She is the Founder of Afro-Media Literacy Education, and Owner of Message Media Ed -School of Black Leadership in the Digital Age. A proud native of Leimert Park Los Angeles, Dr. Byard spent the early part of her career in TV and music video production with hip hop icons Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, etc. She left the media production industry understanding the damaging impact media influence has on young people, and redirected her career towards media and arts education. Since the year 2000, Dr. Byard has utilized the tools of arts & media education, leadership development and career awareness to empower youth, families and educators throughout LA and Long Beach Unified School Districts, continuation schools and probation camps.
In 2008, Dr. Byard founded Message Media Ed (MME) a social enterprise & the only Afro-Media Literacy professional development training center in the nation. MME trains Black and non-Black youth, adults, seniors, educators, leaders to become 21st Century visionaries, transcend media stereotypes, cultivate interracial understanding & close digital divides within Black communities and throughout institutions, businesses and learning spaces serving Black youth. Trainings, classes and events at MME emphasize cultural affirmation, media literacy, technological proficiency and leadership. Offered at MME, Dr. Shani and her team facilitate popular professional development retreats: The Digital Elder Project, Rise Above the Noise and Diversity Leaders Boot Camp. She also offers a book writing and publishing program, Digital Scholars; and the Urban Rising Biz Incubator Program that provides office space and promotional support for start-up companies and organizations. She offers a rotating lecture series and family film nights with guest speakers & a multi-media library. Computer, online social media marketing & etiquette, classes are offered, as well as private trainings emphasizing cultural compentency in our media saturated society for non-profits and schools.
In addition to her work at Message Media Ed, Dr. Byard is the Co-Chair of LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas' Empowerment Congress Education Committee. She is the principal researcher and documentary producer for a California Endowment-funded research project on the increasing incarceration rate of young girls of color for the non-profit, Great Beginnings for Black Babies. Dr. Byard is also an Adjunct Professor for the Marriage and Family Therapy Master's program at Pacific Oaks College, the only African-centered MFT graduate program in the nation. Dr. Byard earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Television Production and Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University. She earned a Master of Science in Organizational Management & Leadership from Springfield College - Los Angeles.
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