Have you met Raqiyah Mays? If you haven’t, trust me you will, with an infectiously energetic personality and the determination to live life to its fullest Mays has had the privilege of hosting several radio programs, written for some of the biggest Hip-Hop magazines around and successfully act in several off-Broadway shows. Now in the fashion of a true renaissance woman she’s moving forward with her new business venture Broadway Night Out, a successful events planning company that’s quickly made a name for itself hosting some of New York’s illustrious social meet and greets for members of the entertainment industry. Over the last 15 years she’s brought life to the broadcasting and media world and when asked about her success she replies, “ I always intend to live life to the fullest”.
Native of New Jersey, the media maven found a love of broadcasting at an early age. As an avid radio listener she escaped into the world of her favorite radio personalities such as Wendy Williams where she saw a strength that would eventually drive her in her own career. While studying law at Penn State she decided it was time to follow her heart. She transferred to Hampton University where she studied communications and was just 2 semesters shy of graduated. It was at Hampton where worked on her first radio show for her school station. Upon leaving Hampton she sought another path and landed an internship with Vibe Magazine. Soon after she was offered a position working with the managing editor and was able to fulfill a childhood dream of hers. Mays loved her new career and traveled the world meeting and interviewing celebrities, but eventually she began to miss the addiction of being behind the microphone and sought another position where her personality could really shine.
Through a friend with connections she was able to land a position working for City Colleges WHCR FM college radio where other colleagues, who followed her writing career, liked her show and offered her a personality slot with Sirius Satellite radio. Raqiyah went on to produce a show for DJ Grand Master Flash as well. She had such a passion for journalism that while maintaining her shows on air she continued to write freelance for publications such as XXL, The Source, and the Associated Press, as she says, “once a writer always a writer.” Her career continued to thrive as she garnered other shows on both 98.7 “Kiss FM” and its sister station WQHT “Hot 97”. In 2004 Mays decided to learn more about producing a magazine after having worked for others and went on to partner and launch The Ave Magazine where she was Exectuvie Editor. The Ave focused on Hip-Hop and social awareness topics that were important to her, as one of her founding beliefs was Hip-Hop was more than just music but a culture. She managed the magazine for three years before resigning to continue pursuing things dear to her heart.
Now having been successful managing several radio shows, as well as her own Hip-Hop publication the determined young Mays decided to embark on yet another dream of hers all while still working in radio. Recalling a memory of producing a talent show in her apartment complex at the age of 10, Raqiyah decided to give acting a shot. She studied acting and took acting classes secretly before she made it to radio, but while on air at Kiss FM she decided to take up acting classes again. Though it was a difficult and very busy schedule it was something she loved and continued to work at but remained skeptical of her own abilities and took it as something to do but not a feasible goal. That goal was quickly reached when she auditioned and received her first role in the Vagina Monologues. Since then she has studied at the Lee Strasberg theatre and Film Institute and went on to be a part of other shows such as the critically acclaimed off-Broadway play AUDELCO and the second longest running off-Broadway play in history Platanos and Collard Greens. Mays has been featured in over nine plays and consistently made appearances on MTV, BET, VH1, and the FUSE channel over the years but it wasn’t until an unfortunate event in late 2009 that another dream child would come true.
After being laid off by her home radio station KISS FM, Mays was at a bit of a loss. The love affair she had with the microphone for the most of her career had come to an end and now left her feeling a bit empty. A mentor of hers Jeff Friday, Founder of the African-American Film Festival, convinced her to focus on acting and to “Get out there and build her contacts,” so she did. Not knowing many of the people she interacted with at various social events around New York Mays continued to try and network but felt she wasn’t really meeting people and decided to host her own networking event. In a dual effort to promote both the successful show Plantanos and Collard Greens as well as meet other actors and filmmakers she hosted a meet and greet for the cast of the show and dubbed the evening Broadway Night Out. Though the event was considerably small it served the purpose and drove her to expand the night and attract more people. After a few more parties Mays earned a name for herself in the New York world of thespians as “the girl who threw the networking events” and shortly thereafter she received offers to host events for others. It dawned on her then, “Oh my god I have a company, and its called Broadway Night Out!” Broadway Night Out has grown since then, hosting events varying from networking parties to educational seminars and movie premieres and has plans to go national in the upcoming year.
Ever expanding and growing Raqiyah Mays blazes trails with her motto in hand “If you do what you love, the money will come.” Mays continues to be a living inspiration for anyone who wants to chase their dreams. You can learn more about Broadway Night Out by visiting the website http://broadwaynightout.wordpress.com/
The next Broadway Night Out event is Thursday August 11th.
The Showcase experience is an exclusive event for those who enjoy Film, TV, & Theater. With stage performances by thespians & poets, along with filmmakers sharing independent work with an audience of special invited VIPs, The Showcase experience gives a supportive light to artists ready to shine.
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