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651 ARTS Expands Board Of Directors

The board welcomes two new members: China Moses and Cynthia Gordy Giwa

651 ARTS is welcoming two new members to its Board of Directors: singer, songwriter, producer, and Founder of MadeInChina Productions, China Moses; and writer, filmmaker, and Founder of Black-Owned Brooklyn Cynthia Gordy Giwa. Moses and Giwa’s appointments are part of 651’s expansion as the organization prepares to move into its permanent home in Downtown Brooklyn later this year. Located at 300 Ashland, 651’s new home will include its own state-of-the-art black box theater, two rehearsal studios, and a media studio.

Moses and Giwa will use their expertise to usher 651 ARTS into a new chapter. Collaborating closely with 651’s Executive Director Toya A. Lillard, the Board of Directors is committed to the organization’s mission to deepen the awareness of and appreciation for contemporary performing arts and culture of the African Diaspora, and to provide professional and creative opportunities for artists of African descent.  

“651’s Board of Directors has always been a vital part of the growth and expansion for this legacy institution which has been a fixture and staple to the Brooklyn community for over 35 years. As we look forward to 651’s future and creating a sustainable model for the organization, Board development is crucial to our success,” said Lillard. “China and Cynthia are both Brooklynites who have a passion for uplifting Black art and providing space for art makers in Brooklyn and beyond. We are delighted to have their insight and experience guiding our mission, vision and impact during this historic moment in 651 ARTS’ history. I look forward to partnering with them and the entire Board of Directors.”

About Cynthia Gordy Giwa 

Cynthia Gordy Giwa is a writer, filmmaker and founder of the online publication and Instagram community Black-Owned Brooklyn, which she runs with her husband Tayo Giwa. Established in 2018, Black-Owned Brooklyn documents and preserves stories of Black business, culture and history that are often erased in gentrifying communities. Cynthia also does this work through documentary filmmaking. Her latest film, The Sun Rises in The East (2022), chronicles the history of The East, an influential yet little-remembered cultural and political collective that flourished in 1970’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. Her short film Soul Summit: Doin’ It in the Park (2000) tells the story of Fort Greene’s iconic Soul Summit house music party. In addition, Cynthia curates and produces large-scale community events, including an annual Juneteenth Food Festival held in collaboration with Weeksville Heritage Center.

A former journalist with a stint as the first-ever White House Correspondent for Essence Magazine, Cynthia has written extensively on race, class, culture and public policy. Her work has also appeared in The Root, Slate, The Washington Post and NPR.

Cynthia most recently served as director of marketing for the nonprofit investigative newsroom ProPublica, as well as deputy communications director at the racial justice organization Advancement Project, where she spearheaded media strategy for advocacy campaigns on voting rights, education equity and youth criminalization. 

About China Moses 

China Moses is a versatile singer-songwriter and producer rooted in Black American music. She has released seven albums and founded her production company, MadeInChina Productions. As a broadcaster, she hosts Made in China on TSF Jazz (France) and Late Night China Moses on Jazz FM (UK), making her one of the few women of color to host multiple shows across Europe and the UK. A seasoned performer, China has performed in over 800 shows globally and is the French voice of Disney's Princess and the Frog main protagonist, Tiana. She co-founded the Tahiti Soul Jazz Festival and the Paris Soul Festival and has mentored and advised for various programs including Montreux Jazz, Power 2 Inspire and Villa Albertine.

A French-American Foundation Young Leader of the class of 2013, she was recognized for her contributions and knighted in the French National Order of Merit in 2023.