Imani Cruz is on a mission to transform her community. As a result of the pandemic, she witnessed the decline of her beloved Harlem community. Ordinary people fell into addiction, lost resources for their mental illness struggles and vital sanitation services were reduced or taken away completely. Her desire for change in her neighborhood, led her to create The Harlem Cares Collective, an organization dedicated to maintaining a cleaner and safer Harlem. Harlem Cares hosts neighborhood cleanups and community organizing efforts on a monthly basis, which engages the community, the youth and partners with local small businesses.
Additionally, Imani is passionate about empowering diverse voices to represent the culture. She currently works in the talent and casting department at MTV Networks, where she finds emerging on-air talent and helps to create original programming at the network. Recognizing the massive impact that TV and film have on culture, she works on behalf of talent who are underrepresented, to help cultivate their unique voice and perspectives.
Imani earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications from the State University of New York at Oswego, where she served as president of the Student Association Programming Board, a founding member of the Oswego NAACP Chapter, and created the first Fashion-focused student organization, Fashion at Oswego.
In addition, she is a recipient of the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘Best Orator’ Award presented by Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. and the SUNYCon Fellowship. She has spoken at the NYU Stern School of Business and the SUNY Oswego Annual Media Summit.
Further, she has volunteered her time with at-risk teenagers in Harlem, for the Teens Against Guns non-profit organization.