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Artistic Director & CEO

Maori Karmael Holmes


Born in Los Angeles, Maori is a curator, filmmaker and writer. She founded BlackStar in 2012 and serves as its Artistic Director and CEO. Included in Essence Magazine’s 2019 Woke 100 List, she is also a 2019 Soros Equality Fellow. She has organized programs in film at a myriad of organizations including Anthology Film Archives, Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The Underground Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art—where she most recently organized screening programs in conjunction with the 2019 Biennial. Other projects include KinoWatt (2011-2012) and Black Lily Film & Music Festival (2006-2010). As a director, her works have screened internationally including her feature documentary Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip-Hop (2006). She has also directed and produced works for Colorlines.com, Visit Philadelphia, and singer-songwriter India.Arie. Her writing has recently appeared in The Believer, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, and How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance. Maori received her MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University and her BA in History from American University. She currently serves on the board of American Documentary (POV), the advisory boards of Ulises, Vidiots, and Lightbox Film Center, and was a juror for the 2019 Full Frame Film Festival and the 2019 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. Maori also serves as Mediamaker-in-Residence at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Curator-at-Large at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and a Creative Strategist with Blackbird.