Born Charlotta Spears in South Carolina on February 14 1874 as the sixth of eleven children, Charlotta went from selling subscriptions for The Eagle to becoming one of if not the very first African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper as the editor and publisher in March of 1912. In 1914 she married Joseph Blackburn Bass, a Kansas news editor and went on to re-name the publication together as the California Eagle. Charlotta’s impressive 40 year career in print journalism lasted throughout World Wars 1 & 2, the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement in which she remained a voice for the truth for women and all people of color. Her newspaper was the platform for issues of injustice work conditions and spoke for the voiceless while demonstrating boycotts of discrimination workplaces, police brutality, the portrayal of African Americans in Hollywood and in the media.
Charlotta Bass was the first African American woman to have ever run for Vice President of the United States for the Progressive Party and was a true activist using her words as her weapon of choice in the battle against injustice. Bass retired in the early 1960′s and moved to Lake Elsinore, California where she turned her garage into a community reading room as well as a voter registration site for African Americans. In 1966, Bass died from complications after having a stroke but remains to be a true leader in the Civil Rights Movement and women’s liberation. It was her political drive and powerful storytelling that allowed Charlotta Bass to be a true pioneer for both journalism and justice.
As a NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts student, dream hampton documented a young Christopher Wallace as the subject of a documentary class assignment and years later went on to be an Associate Producer on VH1′s Behind the Music on her neighbor- the Notorious B.I.G, as well as the co-producer on a documentary on his life. dream hampton has remained to be a trusted and the informed voice for hip hop as a true pioneer through her candid and riveting articles that have appeared in The Village Voice, Vibe,Harper’s Bazaar and Essence but also as the first female editor of The Source magazine.
hampton has built an impressive catalogue of candid interviews and controversial pieces while never being one to shy away from hard hitting subject matter. In 2002 hampton’s short film I am Ali was an entry at the Sundance Film Festival and won “Best Short Film” at Vanity Fair’s Newport Film Festival and was the co-author of Jay Z’s New York Times best seller, Decoded and is currently writing Q Tip’s memoirs titled Industry Rules. As a true storyteller the Detroit- cum- New York native’s name is published in lower cases as an ode to feminist author bell hooks and she is a proud mother and longtime member of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a human rights organization.