April R. Silver is a social entrepreneur, writer, and editor who is founder of AKILA WORKSONGS, Inc., the leading communications agency of its kind in the United States. Her distinguished clientele (past and present) range from poets, filmmakers, and public intellectuals to social justice organizations, cultural arts institutions, and universities. Over the years, she has represented or partnered with, for example, the late Amiri Baraka, Nana Camille Yarbrough, Sonia Sanchez, Marc Lamont Hill, Byron Hurt, Toni Blackman, Adesola Osakalumi, Stanley Nelson, Mott Foundation, Romare Bearden Foundation, Brooklyn Museum, PEN World Voices Festival, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Still I Rise: Maya Angelou documentary, Temple University, Howard University, Virginia State University, Florida Memorial University, and most Black theater productions on and off Broadway). A specialist in niche media and marketing, community engagement, and crowdfunding, Silver is known for her philanthropic approach to public relations.
Silver is also a former TV talk show host of My Two Cents (on what is now Centric TV). In 2014, Mayor Ras J. Baraka appointed her to Newark’s Arts, Cultural Development, and Tourism Transition Committee. Because of her work, Silver has been mentioned or featured in Ms., ESSENCE, EBONY, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, as well as on CNN, BET, HuffPost Live, Tom Joyner Morning Show, and many other outlets (nationally and internationally).
Her essays have been published in the New York Daily News, Word.Beats.Life (The Global Journal of Hip Hop Culture), and various blogs. She is editor of Be a Father to Your Child, a work that HuffPost Black Voices cites as a “powerful and groundbreaking anthology.” Silver is working on her second anthology, I’ve Got Life! Persevering Women Talk about Arts and Activism.
In 2013, at the invitation of the American University of Nigeria, the native New Yorker was invited to keynote on arts and activism. She returned months later to create an artist residency featuring her clients from the Tony Award winning hit, FELA! Also in 2013, to celebrate 20 years in business, Silver was featured at the Schomburg Center in a one-on-one public interview conducted by award-winning journalist Curtis Stephen.
While a student at Howard University, Silver was the founding president of The Cultural Initiative, Inc., producers of the nation’s first hip hop conference, the starting point of the hip hop education movement now embraced by academia. After graduation, she went on to teach in New York City’s public schools. Silver was also a member of the NY Chapter of the Recording Academy (The GRAMMYS®), served intermittently on its Board of Governors, served as a 2nd Vice President, and chaired its spoken word committee.
Since childhood, Silver has been driven to help create a more balanced world. She founded AKILA WORKSONGS as a sacred business that is guided by traditional African values and that advocates for justice. Among her hundreds of projects over the years, she founded the organization Co-Motion (in response to the killing of Amadou Diallo); served as Interim Executive Director of Nkiru Center, co-founded by Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def); founded Artists for Life as part of the Hurricane Katrina relief movement; and co-founded Help Haiti as a part of the Haiti earthquake relief movement. For a variety of cultural, social justice, and community initiatives, Silver continues to volunteer, counsel, and help fund the work.
A devotee to Orisa practice for more 20 years, she was recently initiated to Ifa in Nigeria by Chief Fakayode Faniyi, Agbongbon Awo of Osogbo and is currently trained by Chief Ayanda Ifadara Clarke, Ajibilu Awo of Osogbo.