With Yardie grit, a dose of trap and a sprinkle of black girl magic Sofiya Abena Ballin is an award-winning journalist, writer, curator, and storyteller forging new roads in digital journalism. The Philly based and New York born writer has a magnetic personality and natural charisma that’s evident in her work and online presence, bringing new energy to the field. Representing for a generation that bumps Cardi B and simultaneously “stans” for Michelle Obama, Ballin’s work is daring and refreshing.
She's written about trends such as cuffing season and the emergence of Black Twitter. She's covered major news events like local Ferguson and Baltimore protests, photographed and produced digital fashion features, and contributed opinion pieces that speak to the millennial soul. Ballin aims to humanize all walks of life through mentorship and her work that includes being Features Reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. During her tenure, she’s interviewed everyone from Tyler Perry to Jidenna. Her written work has been featured on Huffington Post, The Guardian, Okayplayer, OkayAfrica, Essence and FADER. Her dedication to the craft has led her to honors that include being named the “2017 PABJ Journalist of the Year (Online)" and a “Caribbean American Thirty under 30 Emerging Leader.”
“All my life, I’ve learned that there were stories untold and that not every legend is etched into bronze,my goal is to tell their stories.”
Her allegiance to those untold stories has led to some of the most poignant work in her career so far. Ballin’s series #BlackHistoryUntold was birthed from this idea and led to her identity series that explores the importance of a comprehensive Black History education through an array of powerful essays. Winning the National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) Award for Best Feature: Series in 2017, the project served as an opportunity to work on something bigger than herself and has included Jesse Williams, Marc Lamont Hill, Cory Booker, Black Thought and Jazmine Sullivan, among others.
Ballin also brings her insight and zeal off the page through events that include her Caribbean and African WUK Party and The Electric Lady series, a week-long event series celebrating and reclaiming what it means to be a woman. This, in addition to her work on camera through interviews with some of today’s biggest artists and influencers.
Proud Jamaican roots, natural, woman – the Temple grad is a lover of culture and identity and takes every opportunity to interweave the elements of what makes us who we are into the fabric of her work. Her ability to be both wild and poised makes her versatile enough to talk with Levi Carter about his beef with SpongeBob and then discuss being pro-life with Lecrae. Ballin knows that women can do both and is indeed that woman who delivers in her approach that connects real issues with cultural relevancy.
Ballin is dedicated to the work of telling the stories of others, that might otherwise be overlooked, in the midst writing her own.
~ bio written by Ashley M. Coleman.