Who are the panellist for Finding a Partner after 40: conversation with Black folks discussion

The Black Daddies Club wanted to highlight the bios of Finding a Partner after 40: Conversation with Black Folks, we are excited at this diverse and panellists coming from Toronto, Montreal and Chicago.

Purchase your tickets here

Mara Clarke- Toronto

After exploring her interests in securities and corporate law during her summering and articles, upon being called to the Bar in 2008, Mrs. Mara Clarke returned to her social justice/public legal education roots when she joined the outreach team of Ontario Justice Education Network.  In her role as Director of Outreach, Mara was responsible for managing the team that created programs for vulnerable youth about the law.  In this role, Mara designed family law public legal education programs for some of Ontario’s most vulnerable parents, as a result of this challenging work, Mara found her passion: family law. Mara is a family law lawyer, owner and operator of The Law Office of Mara Clarke. Her resolution-focused, culturally sensitive approach to family law practice prioritizes her client’s interests and the parties’ relationship, helping them establish the “new normal” that will guide their interactions moving forward.  At times, the assistance of the court is required to settle matters, in those cases, Mara offers zealous advocacy, paired with a no-nonsense but reasonable, client-focused approach.  —

ADÉX LAVA Montreal

ADÉX LAVA is a multi hypenhate artist – he is a writer, visual artist, cultural raggamuffin, installation artist, events curator, and political activist. Drawing on his interest in the arts and law, ADÉX LAVA creates work that focuses on the savage beauty of life. He is the founder of the provocative art studio known as ATELIER (UN) REMARK (ABLE).

In 2022, ADÉX LAVA explored the intersections of violence, dancehall, memory, and same-sex love through an installation and exhibition at the stack market, Toronto. Murder Music: The Malice Afterthought: is an archival account of the Stop Murder Music (Canada) campaign which he founded in 2009. Stop Murder Music (Canada) was a campaign that opposed Caribbean artists who produced music with lyrics that glorified the murder of homosexuals.

His latest body of work – BODILY FLUIDS: CUM(PILATION): is a living mosaic documenting his HIV journey by using seminal fluid in his art to disrupt our preconceived notions about
procreation, beauty, sensuality, deviant expression, and going viral.

He lives, plays, and works on the island of Montréal. www.adexlava.com

L.A. Wade Toronto

Introducing L.A. Wade, a creative powerhouse whose remarkable journey continues to evolve. Not only an award-winning author and influential filmmaker, but she’s also the

visionary writer behind The Adventures of a Recovering Sex Addict: Vol.1 Married Men and F**k Boys and Vol.2: Friends with Benefits, but Mostly Liabilities. Her artistic repertoire now extends to the world of cinema, where she made her directorial debut with her first short film, Thirsty AF based on the anthology series.

L.A.’s is a dynamic and multifaceted artist who consistently pushes the boundaries of creativity and inspiration. Her illustrious career includes titles such as author, filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, and a captivating podcast host. Her ability to ignite authentic conversations that challenge preconceived notions and broaden horizons is to be celebrated. A testament to her  profound impact on storytelling and personal growth.

L.A.’s numerous accolades and awards include the prestigious ByBlacks People’s Choice Award for Best Author, the Scotiabank African Canadian Achievement Award, The University of Toronto’s National Book and President’s Award, and the  esteemed Mark Riesman Literature Award. These accolades reflect her dedication to crafting compelling narratives and unearthing deep truths while defying conventional norms.

L.A. doesn’t seek to dictate thoughts but, rather, aspires to ignite minds and connect people to something greater than themselves. L.A. Wade is a visionary storyteller on a powerful mission to make a profound and meaningful impact. Her journey continues to inspire and uplift and bring fresh perspectives and genuine connections to the world of creative storytelling.

Dr. Tamari Kitossa- Brock University- Hamilton

Dr. Tamari Kitossa is Associate Professor of Sociology at Brock University since 2006. Research and instructional interests include: Blackness and anti-Blackness; Black masculinities; African Canadian leadership; anti-criminology and counter-colonial criminology; interracial unions; gender, sex and sexuality; race; the sociology of knowledge; and war and militarism. He is co-editor and contributor of Nuances of Blackness in the Canadian Academy: Teaching, learning and researching while Black (University of Toronto Press, 2022). He is contributor and curator of Appealing Because He Is Appalling: Black masculinities, colonialism and erotic racism (University of Alberta Press, 2021). He is lead editor and contributor to African Canadian Leadership: Continuity, Transition, and Transformation (University of Toronto Press, 2019). 

Millie Boella- Toronto

Millie Boella (she/they) is of mixed Kenyan background, born in Kenya, and hailing from the Dorobo, Nandi, Kikuyu, and Maasai tribes, as well as having diverse ancestral roots in Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Indigenous Mexican heritage. Growing up due to her father’s work with the United Nations, Millie’s childhood was a globetrotting journey, living in Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Cambodia, and Thailand. At the age of 12, she moved to the Netherlands to live with her mother and step-father. In 2006, she relocated to Toronto, Canada, to pursue studies in English literature. 

Millie’s unique experiences have shaped her identity, including her polyamorous outlook, influenced by her time in Kenya within a Maasai community that practiced polygamy. With over two decades of activism, she founded the Toronto Non-Monogamous BIPOC group (TNB) in 2017, creating a safe space for BIPOC polyamorous individuals and leading polyamory workshops tailored for BIPOC.  Millie is also a professional writer,  poet, social media consultant, organizer and actress.

As the co-founder of Decolonizing Love, Millie educates about polyamory from a decolonizing perspective, shedding light on how European colonization impacted relational structures, such as the formation of the nuclear family and community destruction. Decolonizing Love boasts a substantial following, with 160,000 followers and over 50 million views since its inception in November 2021. Her work on polyamory education has earned her features in prominent publications like Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, Insider, Yahoo Business, and The Daily Mail, as well as inclusion in three books. She further offers workshops and coaching services on polyamory.

Antonio J. Wheeler Jr. – Chicago

Antonio J. Wheeler Jr., Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor, is a humble servant facilitating the space for change and resilience.  Mr. Wheeler’s focus is to understand what has happened to you and empower individuals to reach self-actualization and sustain being anchored in wellness. Antonio is the founder of Anchored In Wellness Chicago which is a private practice that focuses on providing resilience focused therapy to Black men & youth.

Antonio J. Wheeler Jr., started his professional career over a decade ago in 2009 in the Mental Health field as a substance abuse counselor. Prior to this transition, Mr. Wheeler graduated from Chicago State University with his undergraduate’s degree in Criminal Justice. Mr. Wheeler later received his master’s degree in social work from The University of Chicago.  Mr. Wheeler is in his second year of his PhD program at UIC with a focus on social work. In addition to being a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor since, Mr. Wheeler has also provided counseling to perpetrators of domestic violence & anger management.  One of Mr. Wheeler’s most passionate work was providing resilience focused therapy to gunshot victims immediately following their injury.

Sean Mauricette – Toronto

Sean Mauricette has been an actor, musician, educator, and motivational speaker for more than a decade. A graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Sean has worked on various projects. Most notably, the Jane and Finch Centre for Green Change and as Head Architectural Designer for the Toronto Community Housing’s support centre for young fathers.

The recipient of more than 20 awards, Sean was presented with the 2012 Medal of Appreciation for his work with youth from the United Nations Association of Canada. In 2014 Sean caught the attention of the historic Southern Poverty Law Centre. The esteemed civil rights organization requested the use of two of his poems for their alternative-learning curriculum for teachers across the United States.

After spending years as a motivational speaker, Sean branched out and began presenting to corporations. His talk “Dismantling Racial Bias In The Workplace,” focuses on how to address anti-Black racism in the workplace and offers collaborative solutions on how to dismantle racial bias.

The Founder and Director of Laying Foundations Together inc. (LFT), Sean has helped several national and multinational companies take major strides in reaching their Diversity and Equity goals for a more inclusive workplace. Through performing, lecturing, and mentoring, Sean continues to cement his role as an active leader in the global community.

Tomika Long- Toronto

Tomika Long embodies resilience and determination. She’s the visionary behind Zee Zee’s World, a thriving Puzzle Company, with her puzzles gracing the shelves of renowned stores such as Indigo, Winners, and Marshalls. Her journey is a testament to her business acumen and her unwavering commitment to breaking down barriers.

As a devoted mother to seven children, juggling basketball practices and parent-teacher committee meetings, Tomika’s life is a whirlwind of activity. Yet, she found the time to seek love, venturing outside her comfort zone and embracing a long-distance relationship. Looking back,Tomika is amazed at the life she now leads.

With several years of marriage under her belt, she has become an inspiration to countless Black women who may have doubted the possibility of finding love, let alone a life partner. Tomika’s relationship caught fire when she decided to be open to love, regardless of geographic boundaries, and it continues to burn brightly to this day. Now, she’s ventured into the realm of long-distance love expertise, helping women in their quest for love and offering hope that their ideal partner is indeed out there, waiting to be found.

Mawuli Chai – Moderator – Toronto

Mawuli Chai is a gregarious human being who is a creative savant and social entrepreneur. He brings 10-plus years of progressive engagement in capacity building, stakeholder engagement, youth and community development, and media relations. He brings multi-sector experience that spans municipal, provincial and federal levels—leading major projects, initiatives that has had social impact on individuals, communities and organizations he has consulted and engaged with.

Mawuli is a consummate content creator, writer and publicist that brings an immersive repertoire of compelling celebrity interviews and encounters. A Carleton University alumnus with learnings in Sociology & Anthropology; with specialization in media, film and television. He has consulted with major entertainment conglomerates such as Sony Music, Warner Music Group, Def Jam Recordings. He has interviewed several celebrities including Chaka Khan, Queen Latifah, Maxwell, DeVon Franklin and Oprah Winfrey.

He has augmented his professional endeavours with his love for community by participating in youth mentorship, community development, advocacy and equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Simone Jennifer Smith- Moderator – Toronto

For over 15 years Simone Jennifer Smith has been a noteworthy leader in the written media, creative design/social media, mental health, and education/mentoring spaces. You may know her as the Columnist, Talk Show Host, Operations Manager and Chief Correspondent at Carib101 Media Group, but Simone can also be credited with contributions to the African-Caribbean community in her role as: Project Manager for Brothers Who Care, Clear Journey Inc. (located in Baltimore, United States), and Vice-Chair at Emmanuel Life Management Centre.

In addition to this, she is the founder of Hear 2 Help Inc., a Community Development Company with services ranging from; Tutoring to Adult Learning, Project Management, Life Coaching, Copywriting, Content Creation, Copyediting and Business Development.

Simone Jennifer aspires to influence future generations while supporting and enriching current ones. As Project Manager at Brother’s Who Care, she works alongside professionals in the financial and mental health sectors assisting in projects such as: Mental Health Hour, Financial Literacy, LegUp Mastermind Program, and the I AM Campaign.

As a testament to her desire for change, Simone is also Vice-Chair at Emmanuel Life Management Centre, a non-profit organization with a focus on holistic community building and youth empowerment. Tuning in the skills she obtained from being a Social Media Coordinator at INPM, Simone has created content for: The Beloved Project (Mark Stoddart), House of Sass and Magic, Matrix Mortgage, Black Feminist Fund, Workspot/Terravis Energy, Parents for Black Children, Chonilla Network, Love Story Coaching, and Dark Nubia Naturals.

Simone holds a M.A. in Humanistic and Clinical Psychology from The Michigan School of Professional Psychology. She expresses her love for fashion and self-expression through her work for Fiati Fashions, and passes on her knowledge and wisdom through her role as a mentor to young, emerging creatives across Canada.

Through her work, Simone strives to empower, enrich and embody the youth and families of her community.

Natasha Lawrence – Toronto

Natasha Lawrence (she/her/Natty) is a Community Health Worker at WHIWH CHC. She is passionate about all things sexual health, and incorporates that passion in her day to day work supporting African, Caribbean, and Black communities. She has several years of experience providing sexual health education to youth, parents, women, and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and applies Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression, Intersectional Feminist, and Queer Theoretical frameworks to support the communities she serves.”

Micheal Lambie Toronto

Micheal Lambie is a design expert, entrepreneur, public speaker and multi-faceted artist with experience in graphic design and visual arts from Toronto, Canada. 

Early in his career, as the Creative Director and Partner of an advertising agency, Micheal won awards developing television commercials, print ads and graphic layouts. But it was his love for decorating, designing and flipping homes, that helped him realize his passion for interior design. In 2011, he founded “Micheal Lambie Interiors”, which creates elegant and contemporary spaces for residential and commercial clients, and is now an award-winning interior design firm.

For the past three years, this Ontario College of Art and Design alumni, has been sharing his talents as a “Design Expert” on Canada’s top lifestyle television show, “CityLine”, and can now be seen as a judge on the CBC reality competition series “Best In Miniature”.

Purchase your tickets here