Welcome to Arts Roll Call*, the bi-monthly podcast that features Arts Council artists and arts organizations. This month in episode 6 of the podcast, we speak with local artist, activist and entrepreneur Najeema Iman.
Najeema Iman is a Queens-born, Detroit-bred, Lansing-living creative entrepreneur and self-professed people collector and connector. She firmly believes that the best way to build bridges is to bring 100 percent of your authentic self to the table--everyone deserves a seat. She seeks to be the bridge between community-based organizations and the communities they serve. Gathering people and putting on events has been a passion of Najeema’s for years--from karaoke nights, to brunches, bonfires and pop-up markets, her business Youshine Events & Consulting came out of a progression of passion.
In the midst of the pandemic Najeema had the opportunity to co-create the group Black People Lansing Michigan (BPLM) with Tiffany Norde, which consists of more than 650 black entrepreneurs, artists, politicians, beauty professionals and other Lansing community members who stay connected and celebrate each other’s winning moments. She also acted as the primary event coordinator for the Block Market in partnership with LanArtBus, where she helped organize six minority-focused, socially-responsible pop-up-style markets in Downtown Lansing.
She is lead market curator and founder of the Afterglow Market whose debut event was June 10, 2021, at the BLOCK:Aid event presented by Lansing 5:01, which brought large numbers to the downtown Lansing area for a night of good music, good food, good fun and good people. She believes in collaboration over competition and continues to curate unique spaces for regional small businesses and artists to connect with new and existing customers.
In this episode of Arts Roll Call, host Robin Miner-Swartz and Najeema Iman talk about activism, artivism, collaboration and building an authentic creative community. Najeem shares her passion for the arts and community, which believes is at the core of creating spaces and opportunities that include everyone.