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Her Words As Witness: Women Writers of the African Diaspora

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Laylah Amatullah Barrayn

A gorgeous fall evening. A room full of prolific female writers and creative visionaries. I can’t imagine a more inspiring way to celebrate my 10 year anniversary in New York City! “Her Word As Witness: Women Writers of the African Diaspora” opened yesterday evening at Restoration Plaza’s Skylight Gallery and I have two words to describe this masterpiece: MUST SEE.

The brainchild of Brooklyn-based photographer, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, “Her Words As Witness” profiles 35 photographic portraits of some of our community’s most talented and respected writers including:

Malaika Adero, Elizabeth Alexander, Tomika Anderson, asha bandele, Kristal Brent Zook, Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, Raquel Cepeda, Kandia Crazy Horse, Edwidge Danticat, Tananarive Due, Coc Fusco, Carolina Gonzalez, Karen Good Marable, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Tayari Jones, Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, Demetria L. Lucas, Dominga Martin, Kierna Mayo, Bernice L. McFadden, Nekesa Moody, jessica Care moore, Joan Morgan, Jill Nelson, Liza Jessie Peterson, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Sonia Sanchez, Danyel Smith, Akiba Solomon, Esperanza Spalding, Mecca Jamillah Sullivan, Susan L. Taylor, Terrie Williams, Ibi Aanu Zoboi, and Nana Camille Yarbrough.

“Her Words As Witness” promotes a personal and community dialogue about the artists, race, sexism, literature, love and other issues. Each of Laylah’s images truly capture the personalities, spirits, and beauty of each phenomenal woman featured.

KUDOS to the beautiful and humble Miss Laylah Amatullah Barrayn for creating such an awesome exhibition. Your work is beyond amazing and I can’t wait to see how this project flourishes and evolves!

Ashaki Ward enjoys the exhibition

Susan Taylor and featured writers

Karen Good Marable

Esperanza Spalding and featured writers

Kierna Mayo appreciating Laylah’s work

(L-R) Renae Bluitt and Kierna Mayo

Demetria Lucas (A Belle in Brooklyn)

Demetria Lucas strikes a pose at Clinton Hill’s Urban Vintage

(L-R) Ashaki Ward and Michelline Chassagne

Dominga Martin loving her piece

The lovely Nisaa

Her “Words As Witness” Creator Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and featured scribe, Karen Good Marable

(L-R) Renae Bluitt, Ashaki Ward & Michelline Chassagne

To learn more about Laylah Amatullah Barrayn click here! For additional information on the Restoration Gallery visit


As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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