The Team

Meet the Team

GCJL 2016 Corner HS

Garlia Cornelia Jones-Ly

Founder and Artistic Director

An OBIE Award Winning Theatre Producer and native Detroiter, Garlia is no stranger to creating spaces for underrepresented artists of color.  As a freshman at Indiana University, Garlia founded Black Curtain, a group devoted to Black Theatre on the Bloomington campus.  Black Curtain’s first production was “A Raisin in the Sun”, which Garlia directed.  In addition to promoting Black Theatre through original and established plays, Black Curtain devoted much of its time to Diversity training and cross cultural communication as well as HIV/AIDS awareness that culminated in a benefit concert, RedVolution, co-hosted by former MTV VJ, Quddus.

Garlia was introduced to theatre and the arts at an early age because of her Father, who, in addition to teaching for over 60 years, directed The Corunna Festival Chorale for over 20 years, and The American Festival in Britain before that, allowing suburban Detroit and urban High School students the opportunity to perform Shakespeare in London.

In 2010, Garlia assembled with a group of producers in Harlem.  They became Harlem9 and began producing an annual event, “48Hours In… Harlem™”, a spin on the traditional 24-hour play festival.  In 2014, one week before her son was born, Harlem9 won an OBIE for “48Hours In… Harlem™”.  

Garlia’s writing can be found in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Brain, Child and Howlround.  Learn more about what Garlia is doing on her website:


 Ayo Oneke HS

Ayo Oneké Cummings


Oneké’s artistic journey began in Minnesota the land of 10,000 lakes. Most of her childhood she wanted to be a doctor, so Oneké headed to Spelman College in Atlanta, GA and declared Bio-Pre-Med as her major. After a semester she quickly realized her passion was NOT in biology, and after some soul searching she discovered the Spelman College Drama department. That is where she found her passion Oneké didn’t want to be a doctor she wanted to play one on TV.  After graduating from Spelman, Oneké interned with Georgia Shakespeare, followed by working at Climb Theatre in Inver Grove Heights, MN. Oneké then attended graduate school in New York at the New School for Drama where she met Garlia Jones (before the Jones-Ly). The two became fast friends. In 2010 two years after Garila started Blackboard Plays, Oneké joined and has been committed to the development of black playwrights and black plays ever since.

Almeria HS2 2012

Almeria Campbell

 Co-Curator Emeritus

A born and bred Texan, Almeria Campbell attended Texas Christian University where she received her B.F.A.  in acting before attending Rutgers University for her M.F.A in acting.

Almeria’s acting credit include Blue Bloods, Person of Interest and Royal Pains, to name a few. In addition to co-curating BlackBoard, Almeria is also a writer. Check out some of her work at: