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Born in the Red Hook, New York projects, Carolyn A. Butts is a self-described “artrepreneur” who has forged a successful business catering to artists and art lovers. Carolyn founded African Voices Communications, Inc. at 25. A graduate of Long Island University and the High School of Graphic Communication Arts, she began her career as a journalist working for the Amsterdam News and New York Post. As a journalist, she championed community causes, covering everything from union strikes to the Rodney King trial. Inspired by the success of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and other celebrated authors, she decided to pursue her dream of publishing a literary magazine. Carolyn’s mission is to create a magazine that has the same success in moving writers and artists forward in their careers as the New Yorker. In addition to publishing a quarterly magazine, African Voices sponsors literary readings, art exhibitions, writing workshops, and community programs. The organization works with an ever-growing list of more than 100 writers and artists, some have gone on to have their work published in Newsday, Black Elegance, the Daily News, Black Enterprise, Essence, and Vibe. Others have found opportunities in book publishing or have participated in art exhibitions as a result of their work with African Voices. Under Carolyn’s leadership, African Voices has published works from such emerging talents as Dominican writer Junot Diaz and highly acclaimed poets/writers Asha Bandele, Jessica Care Moore, Kevin Powell, Tony Medina, and Ntozake Shange. African Voices’ 1997 summer issue featured a recently rediscovered short story by Zora Neale Hurston. Carolyn’s efforts to develop new audiences has earned African Voices recognition from many institutions including Black Women in Publishing, the African Poetry Theater’s Drum Literary Word Award, and proclamations from the Brooklyn and Manhattan Borough Presidents offices. In 1996, Carolyn coproduced “Underground Voices,” a pilot film on the spoken Word movement, with Reg E. Gaines, the Tony-nominated writer of Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk.

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