Queen Mother Imakhu by Bridget Beenati.j

Portrait by

Bridget Beenanti

www.beenanti.com

about
Queen Mother Mai Imakhu

"Mai means Mother, Water, Cleansing and Renewal."

"Imakhu means To Be in Service to The Creator and The Community."

- Mai Imakhu

                          Mai Imakhu Elaine Lloyd-Artis, also known to the world as 

  Rev. Dr. Queen Mother Imakhu, has enjoyed a well-rounded, forty-plus year career as an            artist, activist, cultural educator, yoga instructor, lecturer and motivational speaker.  

     Proud mother to two adult daughters. Mai Imakhu was born in Elizabeth, NJ, raised in Kenilworth, Mai Imakhu is proud a Newark resident. She was raised in 1960’s Kenilworth, NJ, and can remember seeing crosses being burned in the small town. Still, her maternal grandparents, Walter "Pancho" Whitley and Selma Inez Simmons Whitley, who rose from being southern sharecroppers, and became respected, New Jersey business people and property owners, taught her to proudly embrace life. Also, Mai Imakhu's maternal ancestor, Billy Artis, a free Afro-Latino, fought in the Nat Turner Uprising. Coming from risk-taking trailblazers, Mai Imakhu could only follow by example. Mai Imakhu has passionately used art for social and cultural awareness, education, historical preservation, positive motivation, and celebration.

     Former columnist/reporter for FIRST WORLD NEWS. Director and playwright. Touring actress, storyteller, vocalist, poet, dancer, and musician/percussionist throughout the U.S. and Canada. Founder of AKERU MultiMedia in 2004. First African American woman to found and run her own 24/7 online Black & Brown Consciousness radio station in 2005. Host/Producer of video/podcast series, ASHE: The Truth is Black & Brown (2003-10), highlighting politics, cultural news, poetry, and art, return to the airwaves in fall of 2021. Mai Imakhu is the original creator, executive director/producer and co-founder of Newark Latino Film Festival, LLC (2018), founder/director/producer of Newark Latino Fashion Show (2019), co-founder/producer of Cultures Across the City Music Festival (2019). In 2019, Mai Imakhu founded UHEMU Black & Brown Storytellers.

 

   Spiritually, Mai Imakhu was ordained as an Interfaith Healing Minister by Metaphysical Universal Ministries Seminary of Allentown, PA, an Ordained Minister by Spiritual Healers & Universal Ministries in 1999, and in the same year established Universal Circle of Light Ministries, now known as SHENU Khametic Ministries, LLC. Under the guidance of the late Elder Grandmaster Kham of the Shrine of Khpra in Brooklyn, NY, Mai Imakhu became an initiated, double ankh carrying and uas staff carrying Khametic Elder High Priestess, enstooled Queen Mother, recognized scholar (Zunut). Mai Imakhu is known for her expertise in Ancient Egyptian culture, yoga, and language, and her lifelong immersion in African/Afro-Caribbean traditions. In 2006, Mai Imakhu was initiated as a Bantu nganga and peacemaker by Michael Ortiz-Hill and Mandaza Kandamwa. the National Black  Council of Elders. Currently active member of the Newark Interfaith Alliance, Interfaith Action Movement, Association for Studies in Classical African Civilizations, African Diaspora for Justice, Coalition for Hispanic Clergy & Ministers she is a member of Latino Action Network, and the Coalition for Hispanic Clergy & Ministers, and the National Association of Black Storytellers.

     As an arts educator who believes Black and Brown youth empowerment comes through cultural heritage instruction, Mai Imakhu has taught African/Latino drumming, dance, theater, music, visual and literary arts throughout her forty-plus year career. She has also specialized in teaching physically challenged, at-risk, and detention home Black and Latinx youth throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. Locally, she taught in after school programs for Ironbound Community Corporation of Newark, and Oakwood Avenue Community School in Orange, NJ. Mai Imakhu has been equally as passionate about teaching all generations to find clever ways to mindfully protect our planet. 

 Over the years, Mai Imakhu has served the greater Newark community by offering free yoga and meditation, spiritual and business mentoring to the city's underground artists, and pandemic food distribution to Newark artists, residents, and our neighbors-with-no-addresses. Mai Imakhu was recently honored by the Newark Interfaith Alliance for her ongoing commitment to community service.

  On a personal note, Mai Imakhu’s interest in history and culture are close to home. Her father, Tommie Lloyd, was the first African American accepted into the NJ Tool & Die Association. Her father was Gullah Geechee from South Carolina. South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn is a cousin who was close to Mai’s father. Singer John Legend is also a Lloyd cousin. Another famous cousin was former SC George Washington Murray. Mai Imakhu’s mother, Jean Whitley Lloyd-Mayfield, was the first African American Girl Scout Leader in Kenilworth, NJ – at a time when crosses were still being burned. In the 1600’s, Virginia manumission laws were changed because her maternal ancestors were left land by their slaveholder in his will – something unheard of at that time. They were never able to take residence because their lives were in danger. This was the side of the family that ultimately became Artis (originally Ortiz). Mai Imakhu lectures on the rich history of her family, which is Bantu, Haitian, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Gullah, and Bajan. She has been studying the hidden history of enslaved people of color in the Americas and Caribbean with a personal quest and devotion.

     

   

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