CHRISTIAN EPPS  /   FOUNDER & CEO 

Christian Epps’s career as a lighting designer started in theatre and dance lighting at Northside School Of The Arts (Atlanta, GA), then attained a Bachelor Of Fine Arts in Technical Theatre from Howard University. Mr. Epps started a freelance career in Washington DC for several years and also taught at Duke Ellington School Of The Arts. Christian relocated to NY when he was awarded a full tuition scholarship to NYU’s Tisch School Of The Arts to study lighting design, and then went on to design for many of NY’s Off-Broadway and dance companies. He then toured nationally and internationally, covering 30-some states,  numerous countries in Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada.

In 2006 Mr. Epps went to Nigeria to design the THISDAY! Festival lighting, which took him back several times a year for the next 3 years (Beyonce, Jay-Z, John Legend, Shakira, Snoop Dogg, Usher, Rihanna). In 2012 critically acclaimed Nigerian Director Andrew Dosunmo brought Christian in to work with him, which led to Christian forming an ongoing relationship with Jungle Films, leading to designs for Star Quest and Maltina (Nigerian Breweries), as well as The Headies Awards. The 2016 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards was broadcast live across the entire continent of Africa, was designed by Mr. Epps, and was for the first time supplied by all Nigerian vendors and crew. It was universally considered the biggest and best one to date by the viewers and by all involved as well.

In 2013 Christian incorporated Lights, Camera, Diaspora! The organization builds bridges between technicians across Africa with those in the African diaspora. Focusing on the below-the-line areas such as camera, lighting, sound, grip, and production coordinator departments. The main focus of LCD! is to provide collaboration in a hands-on, on-the-job environment. In light of this, Christian has gaff’ed two Nollywood movies with Emem Isong, one of the biggest Nollywood producer in the market, with skills-sharing as an equally important element of the job duties. Mr. Epps is continuing to design lighting for some of the biggest shows in Nigeria as well. LCD! has accomplished projects in Lagos, Nigeria, Kigali, Rwanda, Harare, Zimbabwe, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Durban, South Africa. Christian recently completed a design project at the JOMBA! Dance Festival at The Center For Creative Arts, University Of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, SA). LCD!’s 2016 schedule includes a return to all of those locations as well as Senegal, Ghana, and Zambia. LCD! has become the major focus of Christian’s career and promises to reap benefits for many in the industry on both sides of the ocean!

In the Early 90’s Christian added film to his resume when he joined Spike Lee’s team, remaining there for more than a decade. Along the way Christian began to work in tv, specializing in multi-camera lighting for live broadcasts. Live broadcasts; President Bill Clinton at the White House; 1996 Centennial Olympic Games; John Leguizamo’s Broadway show FREAK. Live Events; American Black Film Festival, The Stellar Awards, Trumpet Awards, Black Movie Awards, St. Lucia Jazz Fest, Trinidad & Tobago Jazz Festival. FILMS; Selma (Oscar winner), Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (Sundance Winner), Clockers, Belly, Mo’Better Blues, Middle Of Nowhere (Sundance winner). Collaborators: Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Bradford Young, Hype Williams, Malik Sayeed, Disney’s Blue Sky concept program. Commercials; ESPN, Nike, McDonalds, Sprite. Networks; NBC, HBO, TBS, TNT, Showtime, A&E, BET, Nickelodeon


Lorna K. Johnson / Organizational and Program Development Consultant
…is the Principal of Global Linkages, Inc., a management consulting firm, representing a multitude of organizations including a cross-section of nonprofits, educational institutions, faith-based, businesses, and municipalities. Global Linkages builds international partnerships providing, strategic planning, organizational development, governance, fund development, volunteer development, grantsmanship, and program management. It has a particular focus on those organizations whose work includes international and global interest with a special focus on the African continent. With a passion for Africa, she has served organizations, in creating viable partnerships with the continent. Most recently, she has used her experience in Africa to assist and create awareness on the needs of African immigrants in the United States. She is also working with others to create the Center for African Community Services, Inc., the first support organization for this community in the State of New Jersey. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, she served as the Capacity Building Consultant for Sister Cities International, based in Washington, DC and worked with local municipalities in Africa to create partnerships with US based cities. She has also served as the Director/Consultant of the Africa and Caribbean Regions for United Way International. In this position, she was responsible for the development and management of UWI’s portfolio in Africa as well as English-Speaking Caribbean. During she invigorated the organization’s commitment to serving these areas and was responsible for the creation of United Way Ghana and United Way Uganda.
     Her work in the continent began in 1993 in Ghana and since then she has made over 100 trips there, as well as has worked in over 25 countries in the continent throughout West, East, North and Southern Africa. Global Linkages has made a footprint in a variety of areas including, but not limited to: alleviation of poverty; gender issues; youth; sustainable tourism; health; housing; HIV/AIDS; and the arts. In 2003, Global Linkages, Inc. provided services to the Southern Africa USAID HIV AIDS offices to create partnerships with international organizations, resulting in the development of the first Sister City relationship with Swaziland and Ft. Worth, Texas, one of the United States best sister cities programs. Micro-finance partnerships with local entrepreneurs were also established as an outreach of these efforts. Trade missions and study tours have served as the heart of Global Linkages, Inc. work connecting Americans with partnership opportunities that exist in Africa. Ms. Johnson has been responsible for the coordination of the two official state trade missions sponsored by the State of New Jersey in 1993 and in 2003 to Africa. She has also led both non-profits and businesses including the National Congress for Community Economic Development, and the Executive Leadership of United Way of America under the Chairmanship of Dr. Johnetta B. Cole (2006) to South Africa and Ghana. In September 2007, Global Linkages. Inc. coordinated a community development study tour to Ghana for two leading community development corporations, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights and the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, both of Washington, DC. Global Linkages has coordinated the partnership work of the Global Women’s Leadership Collaborative led by Newark City Council President, Mildred C. Crump to Ghana. With over 20 participants, over $150,000 worth of donations were made to ten (10) different partners in Ghana including the School for the Blind, United Way Ghana, various schools, and the City of Kumasi. All of these visits have resulted in continuous partnerships that Global Linkages. Inc. continues to assist and support. Mostrecently, in 2014 over 255 diverse persons from 5 groups traveled to South Africa with Global Linkages as part of the 20th anniversary of Freedom. Including among them were Bennett College, the Women of Color Quilting Network and a delegation led by Mayor Carl W. Brewer of Wichita, Kansas. Other clients have included the Garden State Bar Association (NJ), Johannesburg Child Welfare Society, Community Technical Assistance, Inc., the AME Church-14th District (West Africa), the Newark Assets Building Coalition, the United Ways of New York City and Essex and West Hudson, the Educational Law Center, the Harlem YMCA/YMCA USA, Citigroup, Guardian Insurance, York College-CUNY, the National Congress of Community Economic Development, the New Jersey Commission & Economic Growth Commission and a sixteen (16) year relationship with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Proud to be considered a practitioner with academic leanings, she has served as an adjunct faculty in the School for Public Affairs and Public Administration at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey, as well as creating and teaching pre-college programs with a focus on global awareness.
She previously served as the Director of Policy, Planning & Development for the City of East Orange, NJ (Deputy Mayor) and the President & CEO of the Urban League of Essex County (Newark). She has also served in many volunteer board leadership positions including on the New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute. An ardent supporter of the arts, she has worked with Deeply Rooted! Dance Company based in Chicago, Illinois, where she successfully led them to participate as the first US based dance company to perform in the 16 year old JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival in Durban, South Africa in 2013. Her most current project is assisting with the development of Lights, Camera, Diaspora!, a Los Angeles based non-profit that provides a bridge between the US and African entertainment production communities. Ms. Johnson received her undergraduate degree from Adelphi University, Garden City, NY and her law degree from Rutgers University, School of Law-Newark where she also attended the Graduate School of Policy, Planning & Urban Development. Her continued education has included a summer at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Program for Sr. Executives of State and Local Governments. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including in 2006, Business Woman of the Year by the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey. Proudly, she is third generation and native Washingtonian but also considers New Jersey her home.

Jeffri Epps   /   VP Marketing

Jeffri Epps is known for creating growth strategies by leveraging strategic consumer and market insights, brand development and marketing communication tactics.

Jeffri’s career has enabled her to work on businesses from Fortune 100 companies to entrepreneurial start-ups and non-profit entities. Additionally, she has also had significant experience working with new products and innovations. As a strategic marketer she is able to tie high level business concepts to impact on the P&L and in-market execution.  Jeffri has held leadership positions with The Coca-Cola Company, Chupa Chups USA, W H Smith and Ralston Purina.  Jeffri’s clients have included Consumer Electronics Association, The Haystack Group, Atlanta International Consulting Group, The National Black MBA Association, Abundant Closet, Production Design Associates, Asthon Brand Group, Iosue Associates, The Coca-Cola Company, DeKalb County Board of Health; Steps to a Healthier DeKalb, and Greater Women’s Business Council.   “No matter the size, every organization thinks they have a resource deficit.  Knowledge, creativity and persistence are limitless and the keys to success.”  In 2006 Jeffri was a finalist for the Atlanta Business league Super Tuesday award for “Success Against the Odds”.  She was also a nominee for the NAWBO WE Award in 2009.  Jeffri speaks and trains frequently on marketing topics.

Jeffri is very active in her community.   She has served on the Board of Project One Junior Golf Academy and is an alumnus of the United Way VIP nonprofit board training program.   She serves on the board for Marriott’s Grande Ocean.  Jeffri advises the Junior League of Atlanta Capacity Building council and serves Georgetown University working with Undergraduate Admissions.   She is a lifetime member of the National Black MBA Association.

Jeffri frequently speaks and conducts workshops on marketing topics for organizations including The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, Inventors Associates of Georgia, Georgia State University Entrepreneurs, DeKalb Microenterprise Institute, The National Black MBA Association, SBDC/Congressman Hank Johnson Small Business Development Conference, Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC),

Jeffri has earned her Bachelors in Finance from Georgetown University.  She has attended Atlanta University graduating Magna Cum Laude with an MBA in Marketing. She has also completed the SBDC FastTrac program.

Jeffri enjoys playing tennis, cooking and traveling.  She has a personal goal of 50 states and 7 continents with just 8 states and 3 continents left to visit.


Monalisa Nwokike  /  Operations Manager

Monalisa Nwokike is a Nigerian born film and television producer with over ten years of experience. Her background in lighting and art direction has proven invaluable in productions for such notable film and music artists as Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Akon and Brian McKnight.

Monalisa got her first big break in the 2006 Venezuela award winning short film “Conversando co Jr”. Directed by Carmen Cabana, Monalisa worked as an art director and film editor. Her passion and inspiration of the projects coming out of Nigeria, “Nollywood”,  has been instrumental in Monalisa working as a consultant to bring these projects to the United States. Recently, Monalisa has been producing music videos for Nigerian’s top artists. The movie “Black November” saw Monalisa work tirelessly to bring the Nigerian based, internationally cast film to Hollywood’s attention.

Educated at Full Sail University Florida with a degree in Film Production.


BOARD MEMBERS

Grazelle Howard, King & Kairos Consulting Firm
Leatrice Ellzy, Beatrix Moss
ADVISORS
John Simmons, ASC  /  Director Of Photography
Christopher Cathcart , One Diaspora Media  /  PR Consulting