Malaika Adero finds her happy place in reading. She imagined, even while a young girl, that her studies and work would center her in the world of media and literature.
The author of A Black Woman Did That: 42 Boundary-breaking, Bar-raising, World-changing Women(Downtown Bookworks/S&S 2020) and Up South: Stories, Studies, and Letters of This Century’s African American Migrations (The New Press 1992/93) held editorial positions in the publishing industry for thirty years, beginning in the mid 1980s. Her first acquisition while still an assistant editor was Miles: The Autobiography by the music legend Miles Davis. She followed that by landing a multi-book deal with a then-emerging filmmaker, Spike Lee. She found a career path and life’s work.
Most of her climb up the corporate ladder—more than eighteen years–was spent at Simon and Schuster, working in various imprints, most recently Atria Books where she was a Vice President and Senior Editor. Proud to stand on the shoulders of great African American pioneers in the established mainstream, she jumped at an opportunity to join Charles Harris in the launching of a new independent Black-owned publishing company in the early 1990s, Amistad Press. There she published one of the bestselling books of her career, In the Spirit by Susan L. Taylor, then the editor-in-chief of Essence.
Adero continued to work as publishing executive with authors at the top of their careers in various fields, including Bishop T.D. Jakes, Maryse Conde, Jewell Parker Rhodes, bell hooks, Gordon Parks, Sheila Weller, Blair Underwood, Zane, Common, Ben Green and George Clinton, and many more. In 2015, she chose to become an independent book developer, working more with emerging talent and big influencers, including Walter Mosley, Colin Kaepernick and collaborate as a writer with Jenifer Lewis on her memoir, The Mother of Black Hollywood (Amistad 2017).
A polymath cultural worker, she is also active in an international community of artists. Her performances and study of folk and modern traditions in art and dance have driven her travels throughout Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
New York City’s Harlem is her home and work base, but, spends parts of the year in Atlanta, Georgia and her birthplace Knoxville, Tennessee where she can indulge in her love of gardening and spend time with her large extended family.
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