For Information Contact:

Jacqueline E. Baptiste

African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey

[email protected]




AACCNJ Announces Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Ph.D.,

as the Winner of the Art Contest for its Inaugural

Juneteenth Black Business Expo at Montclair State University.

(TRENTON, NJ – May 23, 2023) The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) announces Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams as the winner of the Art Contest for its inaugural Juneteenth Black Business Expo, which will be held on June 15th at Montclair State University (MSU).

The mixed media artwork entitled “City Underwater”, was selected as the winner of the “Black Entrepreneurial Excellence, Past, Present, and Future” Art Contest.  The AACCNJ will present Dr. Ellis-Williams with a grand prize of $1,500.00 during the Expo’s cocktail reception from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Conference Center at MSU. As the winning submission, the artwork will be included in a virtual reality Art Gallery that will be featured at the Expo and in the commemorative program book, which is complimentary for all attendees.

“Historically for Black people art and music has always served as a mechanism and expression of our resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds,” said John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM, Founder, President & CEO, AACCNJ.  “The Juneteenth Expo will showcase the intersection of Black Business and Black Culture, i.e.., food, music, art, technology and history, with a focus on health disparities that disproportionately impact people of color.”


Antoinette is a playwright, visual artist, poet, and filmmaker. Her play Scarf Diaries: A Play About Women, Life and Entanglements debut at NJPAC, November 2017; author of Black Gardenias: A Collections of Poems, Stories, & Saying from A Woman's Heart. In 2016, she was the winner of the Newark Black Film Festival Paul Robeson Short Documentary Award for “Lee Hagan: Connecting Generations”. Her credits include producer, co-director, and writer.

“Art is the avenue to the lost ancestors, the gentle light for reconciliation, the force of resistance. Art leads to God; it is light, peace, joy and yes, love”, said Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Ph.D.  “For me, art gives me an infinite celestial language to cross borders in a time of acrimony, brutality & inhumanity. Art is the path I tread, in hopes of finding a better place for all of us.” 

An Open Call for Artists was made in November of 2022 with submissions accepted through April 15, 2023. The specifications for the submissions were original artwork done in ink, pencil, crayon, paint, on paper, canvas, or digitally.  The AACCNJ received submissions from 20 artists which will be featured, along with the winning selection, in the first ever AACCNJ Virtual Art Gallery, created by Black Heart Emoji Inc.  Visit the Virtual Gallery at the Tech Corner in the Exhibit Hall at the Student Recreation Center, from 9:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on June 15th at MSU.

Ancestors’ City Beneath the Atlantic

About Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams

Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams is Chair and Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies at New Jersey City University. Ellis- Williams is an emerging Jamaican born multi-media interdisciplinary abstract contemporary artist, and poet. Audible selected her mural Say So! Dance for the first phase of the Newark Artist Collaboration. She has had solo exhibitions at the Visual Art Gallery and NJCU and Moody-Jones Gallery. Her work has appeared at Newark Museum of Art, NJ State Museum, Newark Airport Terminal A, Morristown Performing Arts Center with Art in the Atrium, Consulate General of Greece in NYC; Black Juried Art Exhibition, Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Ill, CLIO Art Fair, “The Art of Protest”, New York City; “The 2021 NJ Arts Annual ReVision & Respond”, Newark Museum; Neopoprealism Press, THIRD PLACE WINNER International Online Competition; “Into the Light” Art in the Atrium Virtual Exhibition; “Works on Paper”, Long Beach Island Foundation’s 23rd annual National Exhibit. She earned her B.A. Seton Hall University, M.P.A. University of Pittsburgh, and Ph.D. Cornell University. 

About the African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ 

About African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey The AACCNJ performs an essential role in the economic viability of New Jersey. While providing a platform for New Jersey’s African American business leaders, to speak with a collective voice, the AACCNJ advocates and promotes economic diversity fostering a climate of business growth through major initiatives centering on education and public policy. The Chamber serves as a proactive advocacy group with a 501(c) 3 tax exemption, which is shared by the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

About Black Heart Emoji

Black Heart is a full service worker-owned cooperative agency specializing in digital events, XR integration, social media strategy, video production, the metaverse, and any technical or creative challenge you can dream up. We are a majority Black owned business, guided by the talent and principles of our team and their lived experience. Our mission is to lead with the heart to serve up big thinking, authentic experiences, truthful narrative in a way no one else can.

Juneteenth – History

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with some 2,000 Union troops and the message that slavery would no longer be tolerated in the states. Since 1866 that day’s anniversary—known as Juneteenth, a combination of June and nineteenth—has been celebrated as the symbolic end of American slavery.


Visit Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams Website
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