From Arkansas Soul Media

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Arkansas Soul … But Should!

Arkansas Soul Media Board Members and Leaders: 
(Top L to R) Niketa Reed (executive director), Dr. Synetra Hughes, Airic Hughes, Renette McCargo. (Bottom L to R) Sara Bishop, Aron Shelton, Kody Ford and Alvin Singh.

By Niketa Reed

There’s so much happening at Arkansas Soul Media and we’ve experienced much growth. Here are five things we need you to know about our organization and a few updates on what’s to come!

Arkansas Soul is BLACK-WOMAN LEAD.

And you know what? It’s ok for a Black woman to be at the helm.
It’s ok to trust the credentials of someone who isn’t white or white-presenting. It’s ok to follow a Black woman’s lead, especially in media.

The very first project of Arkansas Soul was a travel writing project that I organized in 2019 in partnership with Culturally Connected Communications (a Black-owned PR firm based in Little Rock) and Arkansas Parks and Tourism.

The initial goal was to launch a BIPOC-centered media website that catered to diverse audiences, employed BIPOC writers for authentic content and recruited students of color to the media industry.

The project would go on to highlight a number of news deserts in the state, damaging narratives and a lack of solid representation for BIPOC Arkansans in Arkansas media (both in coverage and in employment).

The following year in 2020, I would go on to establish Arkansas Soul Media as a nonprofit and employ a number of colleagues to help build the foundation for our blossoming media startup including Dr. Rob Wells, Antoinette Grajeda and new board members Dr. Synetra Hughes, Airic Hughes, Sara Bishop and Professor Renette McCargo.


Arkansas Soul Media is the work of several, not a few — and that’s the way it will stay.

We serve to highlight the many lived experiences of BIPOC Arkansans in media. There’s no ONE voice behind Arkansas Soul. We represent the many.


Arkansas Soul Media is multi-faceted.

As a startup media organization, we are down to explore print, digital, audio video, illustration and more! With digital media opportunities at our disposal, we stand to support the work of a whole community of media professionals of color on our platform.
There are five buckets of programming at Arkansas Soul Media: a dedicated news section, documentary film section, SoulCon BIPOC Media Conference, community outreach and education, and our media training section for rising professionals of color.


Arkansas Soul Media got that work!

In the coming months, we’re excited to launch a few projects that will likely be in your radar over the summer and fall (and more media series we can’t share just yet!):

Arkansas Flavours food series will debut on a channel near you starring Jeremy Tran of I Am Gastronome to bring you a fresh taste of BIPOC restauranteurs doing their thing across the state.

h.e.ART & Soul web series will return for a second season with a focus on Lakeisha Bradley and her clients who experience transformations through the power of Art in Northwest Arkansas.

The Decision Makers is a new program hosted by Visionairi Founder Airic Hughes that will take us to the many offices, communities and minds of Black leaders in Arkansas. The show is set to debut Summer 2022.


Arkansas Soul Media has plenty of opportunities for new contributors.

Again, we are about the work and stories of many – not just a few. We will accept pitches from around the state for film, articles, illustrations, and more — just as long as it highlights the lived experiences of BIPOC Arkansans in some way.

Arkansas Soul is for, by and about BIPOC Arkansans.

One of greatest success stories is from a contributor who pitched a story idea that turned into an organization and platform of its own. Robyn Jordan wrote about the many female DJs and Femcees she’s worked with and experienced their amazing sets in person.

And what started as an article on Arkansas Soul has grown into a movement called Her Set Her Sound.


Got an Arkansas story to share? Looking for freelance writing work? Have a project to pitch? Arkansas Soul Media wants to hear it! Keep in mind that we accept content that is focused on BIPOC Arkansans.