Phoenix Queens of the Nation Co-Founder
Empress Zulu Queen Kenya
Empress Zulu Queen Kenya is a graduate of Fordham University, where she studied animal behavior, having earned a scholarship from The New York Zoological Society. After graduating, her dream of becoming a curator shifted to social inequality within the workplace. Queen Kenya would go on to become an organizer for the largest Union in New York, representing thousands of overworked and underpaid workers in many different vocations and occupations. She is presently a supervisor, training welfare to work participants in New York City.
In her role as Universal Zulu Nation (UZN) World Council President, Queen Kenya kept her finger on the pulse of every region, chapter and department of the UZN world-wide. Under her leadership, the UZN has expanded overseas in countries such as Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, Japan and the Philippines. Queen Kenya has also worked diligently with the UZN Department of Community Affairs Worldwide in its diplomacy efforts building solidarity with the governments of Nigeria, Venezuela and Cuba.
Additionally, Queen Kenya has participated in UZN Regional Training Retreats, Regional Conferences, Political Prisoner Support events, Free Community events in the Bronx’s historic Crotona Park, UZN Emergency Response efforts in Coney Island, Red Hook, and Far Rockaway, Peoples Survival Programs in Harlem, Anti-Police Terror Marches, Rally’s & Demonstrations.
Phoenix Queens of the Nation Co-Founder Zulu Queen Benu Xanamara Ma’at
A graduate of the City University of New York’s Herbert H. Lehman College, Zulu Queen Benu Xanamara Ma’at holds a BA in Sociology, with concentrations in African & African American Studies, Early Childhood & Childhood Education and Political Science.
During her undergraduate studies, in 2013, Queen Benu became an active student organizer on campus as the Founding President and Program Coordinator of ClassAction Student Group – a research based, community organizing club she founded with some of her fellow Lehman classmates. The work of ClassAction Student Group opened the door to a successful collaboration with members of the Universal Zulu Nation for the 1st Annual Hip-Hop History Month Celebration: Hip-Hop Educational Summit held at Lehman College that year; this led to her joining the Universal Zulu Nation and within a year, Benu was awarded the title of Zulu Queen in November of 2014. She would go on to build the UZN’s Phoenix Queens of the Nation: Wisdom Born Zulu Chapter 29 that same month. The Phoenix Queens would become an officially chartered all-women’s Chapter within the Universal Zulu Nation on Feb. 11, 2015.
Queen Benu continued to organize on campus in her position within ClassAction Student Group, had a very successful first year with the women of the Phoenix Queens Chapter and assisted the Universal Zulu Nation’s World Council President and mentor, Zulu Queen Kenya, as a project coordinator. All the while, Benu handled her undergraduate studies, while also attending the CUNY Graduate Center as a Pipeline Fellow, where she produced her thesis project – Hip-Hop Pedagogy: The Universal Zulu Nation & Social Reformation through the New Philosophy of Afrikan Redemption. She successfully completed the program in May of 2015 and earned her undergraduate degree that September.
In September 2015, Queen Benu enrolled in the CUNY Graduate Center’s MALS Program, but decided to go on sabbatical after her first semester. While on sabbatical Queen Benu relocated to Newport News, Virginia, having joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program. For her VISTA assignment Benu worked with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula (BGCVP) in the areas of Teen Programming, Gang Prevention and Resource Development. Queen Benu is now currently working with BGCVP as their Grants Directors and, is also conducting her research in African Philosophical Thought, Hip-Hop Pedagogy, Community Education and Child & Youth Development. Upon completion of her research, Benu plans on returning to graduate school – this time working on her PhD in Urban Education with a focus on the Social Philosophy of Education.
Most importantly, Queen Benu is a single mother, raising a son who has been by her side during all of her accomplishments; learning, adapting and growing. Her Eleven year old son DJ, is her case – study for her research in Hip-Hop Pedagogy and Community Education for Positive Child & Youth Development.
WisdomBorn Amazuluz Community Education and Research Initiative
Queen Benu is committed to helping to create safe spaces and educational programs and initiatives for children and youth ages 2 – 18 to thrive both academically and in life. The Wisdom Born Amzulu Community Education and Research Initiative is composed of two programs: the Hip Hop Pedagogy Community Education Program which is designed to bring the classroom teaching and learning experience directly into the community for children and youth who for social and cultural reasons beyond their control, are not able to attend traditional schools and The WorldView/WorldSense Master Teacher Training Initiative is an intense in-the-field teacher preparation initiative designed to help develop the understanding, sensitivity and skill set needed for those who are committed to being effective educators who serve students of various social, cultural, economic and ethnic backgrounds.