It’s common knowledge that entrepreneurship isn’t easy, and it gets even harder for people of color. However, April Silver,
founder of AKILA WORKSONGS– a communications agency that specializes in cultural arts and social justice, traditional and new media campaigns–has maintained her sole proprietorship for 20 years.
Akila (pronounced ah-KEE-lah) is an Arabic-African name that means “she who is intelligent or she who reasons,” while worksongs represents traditional a cappella songs that people sang while they worked. In the United States, however, work songs became the kind of song that enslaved Africans sang to make the burden of their hardships a little easier to bare.
In paying homage her ancestors, Silver founded AKILA WORKSONGS as a way to create cultural awareness and shed positive light on remarkable people within the African diaspora and other people of color.
“April Silver is what a post-Civil Rights, community-based businessperson should be: visionary, pro-active, creative, efficient, and, most importantly, historically and culturally rooted,” said long time AW client Kevin Powell about the New York Based PR maven.
Over the years, the company has represented artists, activists and progressive individuals like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Sister Souljah, Sonia Sanchez, Camille Yarbrough, The Ford Foundation and many more.
“April and I first met through her work with the hip hop conference at Howard University in 1991. I knew then that she was someone I wanted on my team. Her passion for community and artist empowerment is a breath of fresh air amidst all the challenges in today’s music business,” said Doug E. Fresh.
After putting in years of dedication and hard work, Silver has prepared a celebration in honor of her company’s 20-year anniversary by directing an Off-Broadway production, which will premiere at New York City’s Baruch Performing Arts Center on December 16, at 2:30pm. The special showcase entitled, Elevating: 20 Years of Arts and Activism, is a collaboration between Silver and John Malatesta, Managing Director of BPAC–and it’s described as “a special afternoon of poetry/spoken word, music, dance, and drama.”
Featured performers include Camille A. Brown, an award-winning choreographer (Broadway’s A Streetcar Named Desire) and artistic director, Mo Beasly, an award-winning poet, playwright and actor, Ras Baraka, a poet, educator, author and principal of Central High School (Newark, NJ), and many more. Doug E. Fresh, Susan L. Taylor and Kevin Powell have also been confirmed to make appearances.
Watch the video below where Mo Beasly shares his thoughts about AKILA WORKSONGS.