Natasha Thomas-Jackson is an activist, writer, performance artist, consultant,and the cofounder/executive director of RAISE IT UP! Youth Arts & Awareness (RIU), an organization that promotes youth engagement, expression, and empowerment through performance, literary art, and social activism. RIU has been featured in Teen Vogue,National Public Radio (NPR), PBS, NowThis, Huffington Post, Blavity, NYMag, Mashable, Yahoo, Buzzfeed and more. Natasha’s writing has been published in academic journals, congressional reports, and digital publications such as Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies and AlterNet. In 2005, she wrote the foreword for IMAGN – Increasing Minority Awareness of Genetics Now, a report co-sponsored by the Genetics and Public Policy Center at John Hopkins University, and the Black Congressional Caucus.
In 2005, she was a member of Flint, Michigan’s first-ever National Poetry Slam Team and in 2008 received the National Hip Hop Political Convention’s “Up & Coming Social Justice Artist-Activist Award.” In 2012, the Detroit Pistons (and their philanthropic Come Together Foundation) recognized Natasha for her contribution in the areas of youth development and entertainment. As one of their first-ever Community Impact awardees, she received $25,000 from the Pistons for RAISE IT UP! programs.
Natasha was a 2014 Resident of the Windcall Institute and a Black Women in Arts & Media panelist for the first annual State of Black Women in Michigan Conference held in Detroit in 2015 sponsored by Mothering Justice and the Black Women’s Roundtable. Through that partnership, she served on a delegation that attended a White House briefing on the state of black women and girls in 2016. Through that partnership, she served on a delegation that attended a White House briefing on the state of black women and girls in 2016.
In 2016, Natasha performed at Harry Belafonte’s inaugural Many Rivers to Cross Music and Social Justice Festival in Atlanta, Georgia and for the African-American Policy Forum’s (AAPF) Breaking the Silence Summer Camp at Vassar College and for the #SayHerName Campaign at the African American Women and the Law Conference in Washington, DC. As an artist and speaker, she has had the honor of sharing the stage with artists and activists such as KRS-1, Angela Davis, Stevie Wonder, Kimberle’ Crenshaw, bell hooks, Janelle Monae, Barbara Smith, Ryan Coogler, Sonia Sanchez, Jessie Williams, John Legend and more.
Through various manifestations, Natasha’s work centers on intersectional and holistic approaches to personal transformation and social justice, with a specific focus on racial and gender justice, youth and women’s empowerment, spirituality, radical wellness, authentic creative expression, and popular culture.