Meet the JET Team


Kyra, who hails from Chicago, is the Editor-in-Chief of EBONY magazine and Senior Vice President and Head of Digital Editorial.  She oversees all content for the magazine, plus both sites, and pens columns, mainly under the Social Skills umbrella, chiding Internet citizens for bad behavior.   Prior to this role, this award-winning journalist, TV personality, content producer and humor writer served as Editorial Director for where she grew traffic by adding to its arsenal an array of unique Web series, expert-enhanced columns and reader-supplied Op Eds called Talk Backs.

This Northwestern University alum, originally joined Johnson Publishing Company in 2011 as a Senior Editor for JET’s print publication before being tapped to helm the outlet’s Website and critically acclaimed app.  If you ride a little further back in her wayback machine, Kyra gained national recognition as a Tribune Company reporter and columnist/creator of the “Kyles Files,” a celebrated pop culture column accompanied by a weekly WGN-TV pop culture segment. A winner of the company’s coveted Jones Beck Award for editorial writing, she also innovated “the track-off,” an online competition for indie artists, which was reverse published in the millennial-focused Tribune RedEye publication.  Kyra, one of WVON and Ariel Capital’s “Top 40 Under 40 Game Changers,” “Chicago Defender’s “40 Under 40 to Watch” and a “Ladies of Virtue” honoree is immediate past President of the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago chapter.  She also is a speaker and lecturer who taught a well-regarded course at her alma mater on hip-hop origins and culture.  A graduate of Northwestern University, Kyra holds both a bachelor’s and accelerated Master’s degree in journalism with a concentration in political science.  In recent years, she went back to her alma mater in Evanston to co-instruct an African American studies course entitled “Hip Hop Origins and Directions.” Keep up with Kyra via @thekylesfiles, on Instagram or follow her on Facebook. E-mail her at General pitches for this site are best directed to


Madison J. Gray is Managing Editor, Digital Editorial, for and In this role, he is responsible for the daily report readers see on both websites and also for our newsgathering efforts, content creation and interaction with readers.  He also edits content on both sites to ensure it meets the highest standards of journalistic quality and periodically writes pieces for the websites as well.He joined Johnson Publishing in 2015 after a career that has included stints at news organizations including The Detroit News, the Associated Press,, and He was also a news writer and consultant to Jubilee Radio in Keta, Ghana. In addition, Gray been a contributing writer to,, The Crisis, and He has also participated in fellowships with the Poynter Institute and the Knight Digital Media Center. He has won several awards for his work including one from the New York Association of Black Journalists for Online News Feature and from the Independent Press Association for In Depth/Investigative Reporting. A native of Detroit, Gray is a graduate of Central Michigan University. Follow him on Twitter @madisonjgray  For pitches in the realm of breaking news, news analysis and Op Eds, send an e-mail to Madison’s attention at



Shantell E. Jamison is a writer, radio personality and cultural critic. The Chicago native and resident graduated from The University of Missouri-Columbia, with a bachelor’s in Radio/TV Journalism. For six years, she worked at Chicago Public Media, hosting and producing a variety of radio shows/programming.  She then moved on to manage the digital content and day-to-day editorial operations of The Black Youth Project, a social justice-based organization that seeks to provide a voice for Black youth.

Shantell’s work has been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, KBIA 91.3FM, The Huffington Post,,, The Chicago Crusader, The Grio,, The Black Youth Project and The Gate Newspaper. These days, you can find her writing and editing for JET. Be sure to check out Shantell’s love and relationship column, “Ask Shan Tell’em,” on every Wednesday, and her Love & Sex column on every Tuesday. She is also an author, having penned the inspirational, instructional guide: “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self.” To keep up with Shantell, visit Twitter: @shantell_em Instagram: @shantell_em. For pitches, send an e-mail to Shantell’s attention at


Britni Danielle is Entertainment and Culture Director for and In the last six years, this Los Angeles native has written for both print and digital publications on a myriad of topics, including dating, feminism, race, parenting, and pop culture for EBONY, JET, the GuardianTakePart, Teen Vogue, Clutch, MommyNoire, and the Root.Back in 2011, Britni took a leap of faith and left her job as a public school teacher to pursue writing full time. Since then, she’s  written extensively for outlets in the U.S. and abroad. When Britni isn’t chatting with celebrities, interviewing politicians, or penning searing op-eds, she’s working on, a digital platform dedicated to empowering boys of color. Bursting with ideas, Britni is also an acclaimed author of several novels, including the new adult best seller When You’re Ready.

In addition to writing, Britni also leads workshops and is the founder of the online writing seminar, The Write Pitch, and has led sessions at Blogging While Brown and Social Media Week, Johannesburg.A proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Britni received a BA at the University of Southern California and a MFA from CUNY Brooklyn College. She lives in Los Angeles. Send entertainment and culture-related pitches to her attention at Connect with her on Twitter @BritniDWrites.


LaToya Cross is the social media manager for the platform, as well as a writer and editor across Johnson Publishing Company’s digital editorial platforms.  Her coverage specialties include: Art, poetry, philanthropy, celebrities and music.

Prior to working with JET, her talents as a media consultant and journalist led her to work with High Style Marketing & PR and Carte Blanche LTD., on projects ranging from grassroots organizations and community events to high-profiled celebrity red carpets and music festivals, managing media, overseeing the interview process – at times conducting on –the-spot interviews; managing social media accounts, research, brand messaging and strategy, writing and production set-up.  In 2011 and while working as the Associate Editor of N’DIGO Magapaper, she was accepted to participate in SPJ’s Reporter’s Institute which aided in advanced knowledge of journalism, sourcing, pitching and utilizing various social platforms to increase visibility and storytelling.

LaToya has been published in N’DIGO Magapaper,“The Barbershop Show” on Vocalo – sister radio station to WBEZ, Heed Magazine,, JET Magazine, and

In addition to working in media, LaToya’s passions expand to working with youth. She worked as an After-School instructor with Orion’s Mind teaching reading and math. As a lover of the spoken word art form, literacy and mentoring youth, she also volunteers with Open Books Literacy Program.  A graduate of Specs Howard School of Broadcast & Media Arts in Southfield, MI, she studied Television and Radio with a concentration in TV production and earned her bachelor’s in Magazine Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.  You can catch this Detroit native laughing, sharing work, thoughts, music, art and capturing life via her iPhone 5s via her handle of @ToizStory on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. For pitches in the realm of culture, music and film, send an e-mail to LaToya’s attention at


Chan C. Smith is the Multimedia Producer for Johnson Publishing Company’s Digital Editorial team. A Chicago native and product of Northern Illinois University’s Northern Television Center and Media Studies programs, Chan is a creative visual storyteller and content producer that seeks to create compelling narratives of local people, celebrities, and social movements. Prior to joining our team, Chan has been managing her own multimedia business and rapport with clients around the city of Chicago since 2009 and has been providing visuals and strategic ability for several different mediums. Those mediums include independent filmmaking, branding and visual marketing, media and event coverage, and even artistically-infused video compositions. Her work has been featured on, Fakeshore Drive, Worldstar HipHop, The Good Men Project, The Chicago Music Awards, Fox News Chicago, The Black Women’s Expo, The African Festival of the Arts, Maverick Entertainment,,, and several film festivals. She is also a certified ‘Rebel’ in Ava Duvernay’s Array film collectives You can catch some of her visual work in’s featured series Top Coat, Plus One, and many more to come! Keep up with her at or follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram: (@chancsmith_). For pitches, send an e-mail to Chan’s attention via



Aaron Rhodan is the Senior Producer for and the point person for our Beauty of the Week feature here on A Chicago native and graduate of Morehouse College, Aaron is self-proclaimed “cultural connector” and professional doer of things. He is a contributor to the boutique music and lifestyle blog Blind I For The Kids and is an avid skateboarder, Hip-Hop producer, sports fan and panda enthusiast. He also loves hugs.