Despite the risk that comes with introducing friends from two different corners of your life to each other—potentially a recipe for disaster—Ayanna Wilks has a thing for mixing peer groups. In fact, that’s where she thrives. Wilks, Senior Director of Publicity at Epic Records and co-founder of The Brownie Agency network, is what you’d call a relationship person, both by trade and by heart. “I'm all for the integrated friends and the integrated friendships,” she says over Zoom with a laugh. “I love to be able to have people that I know meet each other, because if I love you, then I can only imagine that my other friends will love you, too.”

The Los Angeles-based Brooklyn native prides herself on being the center of gravity for friendships in her personal life, and then expanding them. As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, she comes from a big family teeming with aunts, uncles, and cousins, so she understands the importance of a strong community and providing that for others. “I know the importance of being around people who you love, who love you, who celebrate you, and make you feel warm and comforted,” she says. 

That raw impetus to cultivate community is what led her to create The Brownie Agency alongside Brianna Agyemang, who is also the co-creator of #TheShowMustBePaused, a music industry movement created in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Co-founded in 2014, The Brownie Agency is a network that “promotes culture, good vibes, and Black Girl Magic.”