Sofiya Ballin is an award-winning journalist, writer, and curator. The Philadelphia-based writer is the creator of the Black History Untold project.
She's written about trends such as cuffing season and the emergence of Black Twitter, covered major news events such as local Ferguson and Baltimore protests, photographed and produced digital fashion features, and contributed opinion pieces that speak to the Millennial soul. Ballin aims to humanize all walks of life through mentorship and her work, including being a Features Reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She’s interviewed everyone from Tyler Perry to Tamron Hall. Her written work has also been featured on Huffington Post, Okay Player and FADER. Her dedication to the craft has led her to honors that include being named the “2017 PABJ Journalist of the Year" and a “Caribbean American 30 Under Thirty Emerging Leader.”
“All my life, I’ve learned that there were stories untold and that not every legend was etched into bronze. My goal is to tell their stories.” The Temple graduate is a lover of culture and identity and takes every opportunity to interweave the elements of what makes us who we are into the fabric of her work.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Black History Untold, created by award-winning journalist Sofiya Ballin, is an identity series that explores the importance of a comprehensive Black history education through personal essays. In a 2016 personal essay for Philly.com, Ballin said she created the project because: "I learned the most about black history in whispered tones while my mother braided my hair, after school when my father listened to talk radio, as my grandmother grated coconut, and at the dinner table set with shades of brown and opinion. In those moments I learned of the rise and destruction of Black Wall Street, the inhumanity of the Tuskegee Experiment, the tales of Angola's Queen Nzinga, the triumph of Queen Nanny of the Jamaican Maroons, and the Haitian Revolution. I learned that black history crossed continents and spanned languages, creating dialects that sang. It left its traces in music, from the bachata to rock-and-roll. It birthed Moses a thousand times. And it is a history I share, where a knowing nod or smile can instantly connect me with the only other black person in the room."
The first year, February 2016, was an overall look at the untold stories in Black history and the second year focused in on the history and preseverance of Black joy. Some of the individuals featured in the last few installments have included actor/activist Jesse Williams, legendary MC Black Thought, professor and CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill, Senator Cory Booker, Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan, legendary poet Sonia Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins and youth activist Marley Dias.
In 2017, it won the National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) Award for Best Feature: Series in 2017.