The short (simplified), third-person version
Felicia Pride is a creator, convener, and strategist at the intersection of storytelling, media, and technology who has spent more than ten years working in the field. She’s the founder of pride collaborative, which recently co-developed the multimedia educational component for the PBS documentary Slavery by Another Name. Their latest project is StoriesLead, a catalyst for innovative storytelling that looks to nurture a community of innovators in Washington, D.C., and beyond. Additionally, she is the founder of the create daily, which matches talented content creators and media makers with career-advancing opportunities. Felicia is the author of seven books, including the essay collection The Message, which was published by NBC Universal, and has been used in educational institutions around the country. Her latest book, To Create is a collection of interviews with black storytellers and media makers. Currently, a media fellow at the Center for Social Media at American University, Felicia has riffed on media and storytelling at schools, institutions, and events around the country. She holds an M.A. in writing and publishing from Emerson College. Visit her online at www.feliciapride.com.
The bulleted career highlights (in no particular order)
- Helped to launch a national online book club for teens, a project of the Common Ground Foundation (rapper/actor Common’s nonprofit organization).
- Co-developed the educational materials – curriculum, community viewing guide, teachers’ resources, and digital storytelling teacher trainings – for the PBS documentary Slavery by Another Name.
- Launched a 10-week youth film program called The Walbrook Project from a $1,000 grant.
- Developed a Hip-Hop & Literacy curriculum – facilitated and sold the curriculum to educational institutions like Enoch Pratt Free Library and SEED School of DC.
- Co-developed the Me @ 30 campaign, a multimedia content-based HIV/AIDS campaign aimed at black college students that’s currently being administered at Howard University and Bennett College.
- Launched an electronic newsletter dedicated to the world of books. Originally called BackList, the newsletter would go on to become a full-service editorial company.
- Taught writing on the university level and served as a teaching artist for nearly every school-aged level.
- Been featured by NPR, USA Today, VIBE, and Baltimore Sun for my work.
- Worked in book publishing pre-Kindle for mega, medium-sized, and small independent houses.
- Original book blogger for AOL Black Voices; original book columnist for The Root; former managing editor of Mosaic magazine; and long-time contributor to Publishers Weekly. Started as a freelance writer in 2000.
- Conceptualized and served as founding executive editor of inReads, a new media property of public media giant WETA.
- Wrote 7 books, including The Message: Life Lessons from Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs. Been published by NBC, Simon & Schuster, Perseus Books Group, and Harlequin.
- Finished my first screenplay entitled Openended.
- Spoke at more than 100 hundred events around the country in the last five years.
- Founded and currently run, pride collaborative, a strategic content agency with a focus on storytelling.
- Founded the create daily, a curated resource for storytellers and content creators.
- Founded StoriesLead, a catalyst for innovative storytelling.
The long story
Okay, here it goes:
I wasn’t one of those who always knew what she wanted to do. I went to college and studied business and was captivated by marketing. That didn’t last too long, although later down the road the foundational knowledge would be key in my own ventures.
So there I was in my first job out of college, working at a big electronics corporation in their marketing department. I thought it was the coolest gig ever…for about sixth months. Boredom set in. Hard. Thank goodness for my daily 3:00 cappuccino run to get me through the day.
I turned to writing. Poems. Bad ones. About love lost and life (you know you’re an expert in both as a 20-year-old).
In 2000, I stumbled across an opportunity to write for a community newspaper that was looking for interns. Jumped on it. My first published piece was a review of a Mary J. Blige album. It probably sucked, but when I saw my name in print, it was a wrap. People, even if not many, were reading what I had to say. I knew what I wanted to do.
So I became a writer, although I wouldn’t claim the title for years to come.
In the midst of being a writer, I went through a string of jobs and titles: media analyst (telemarketer), media assistant (flunky) until I landed a job as an assistant editor of a pharmaceutical magazine. Didn’t know jack about the industry. The editor took a chance on me and I loved it. The process of putting together a content-based product was exhilarating. So much so that I decided to study it.
Went back to school and studied writing, book publishing and literature at Emerson College in Boston. It was cold, but my program was awesome. While there, launched my first company, BackList, although I didn’t know it was a company at that point. BackList started as an electronic newsletter sent to 100 people and grew into a content development firm. Our focus was heavy on books. At one point our tagline was “keeping books in style.”
Left Boston and landed a job in book publishing in NY. In the marketing department. At this point, I thought book publishing was the end all be all, although I vehemently disagreed with its business model. Go figure.
Eventually, BackList began consulting authors and publishers in the areas of editorial and marketing. I also wrote a lot about books. Launched a book blog for AOL. Ran my own book blog. Became a contributor for Publishers Weekly. Was the managing editor for Mosaic Magazine.
Then I got the book writing bug. Landed an agent through networking. And wrote five books in 4 years. I’ve been published by big, small, and massive machines. My young adult novel Patterson Heights was a 2010 ALA Pick for Reluctant Readers. I was commissioned to write two books based on the award-winning television show Everybody Hates Chris. My baby The Message: Life Lessons from Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs has been used around the country as a tool of engagement.
A reality that prompted BackList to develop a curriculum based on the book. We entered the education content market. We developed programming for places like the SEED School, Enoch Pratt Free Library, and 100 Black Men.
I also began traveling around the country to speak and facilitate workshops and presentations on a range of topics from storytelling to media to hip-hop. I still do.
BackList continued to grow and take on additional clients, including Common Ground Foundation, the nonprofit founded by rapper/actor Common. We helped to launch his national online teen book club.
Being the Sagittarius that I am, my interests began to expand to other content areas. Film. Transmedia. New media. Web series. As well as projects that would be of great use inside and outside the classroom.
It’s all storytelling.
BackList launched a youth teen film program called The Walbrook Project on a very low budget. It is possible to launch a program without much money and do good at the same time.
We really started to broaden our focus beyond books. So much so, that it was time to officially branch out. So I’ve shut down BackList and now focus on collaborating with talented folk to make projects happen. I launched a new agency, pride collaborative, I’ve co-developed the educational materials for the PBS documentary, Slavery by Another Name, helped to launch the Me @ 30 HIV/AIDS campaign on college campuses, and founded the create daily, a daily resource for content creators.
It’s all storytelling.
The Message was re-released by NBC. I finished a collection about black storytellers called To Create: Black Writers, Filmmakers, Storytellers, Artists and Media Makers Riff on Art, Careers, Life, and the Beautiful Mess in Between that was published by Agate Publishing.
Now I’m back to my roots – supporting, convening, providing resources to media makers. I launched StoriesLead, a catalyst for innovative storytelling and I’m a media fellow at the Center for Social Media at American University. the create daily continues to grow. I continue to develop and collaborate on creative media projects.
And loving every minute of it.
That’s my story so far. To be continued…