Vy Higginsen: Pioneer, Producer, Publisher
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Portrait of Vy Higginsen with mic

Meet Vy Higginsen

Ebony Magazine’s First Woman in Advertising Sales
In 1970, Vy Higginsen, a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute for Technology (F.I.T.), walked into Ebony magazine for a job in advertising. With the bold statement, "Ebony does not accurately reflect your demographics," Vy was hired on the spot.

New York City’s First Woman in Prime Time Radio—WBLS-FM
With only an idea to present programming for women and her audition tape, Vy walked into WBLS-FM and again, was hired on the spot!

Publisher of Unique NY Magazine
In 1970, using her tax refund, Vy Higginsen partitioned an area in her studio apartment and published Unique NY magazine, a black lifestyles magazine. After moving its publication uptown, Unique NY magazine showcased black people and places in New York City for four more years.

Writer/Producer of Mama, I Want to Sing
Mama, I Want to Sing opened March 23, 1983 with a miniscule advertising, promotional, and publicity budget and became the longest running black Off-Broadway musical in the history of the American theater. Mama also enjoyed a two-and-a-half-year tour across the USA, seven tours throughout Japan and multiple appearances in the Caribbean, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy.

Founder and CEO of the Mama Foundation for the Arts
In 1998, Vy Higginsen created the Mama Foundation for the Arts to present, preserve, and promote Gospel, Jazz, and the R&B arts for current and future generations. The Foundation identifies, trains, and employs the next wave of singers, musicians, administrators, and theater technicians.

Vy Higginsen MilestonesClef Note

A visionary, Vy Higginsen has always reached for the stars. Seeing no limitations in accomplishing all she sets her mind to, Vy has achieved some very impressive milestones.

Portrait of Vy Higginsen in evening dress
  • Radio talk show host for a nationally syndicated woman’s talk show, The Action Woman.

  • Radio personality for KISS-FM
  • Publisher of Unique NY magazine (Black people, places and lifestyle)
  • Contributing editor, Essence magazine

  • Contributing reporter for NBC TV, and The Metro Channel

  • Producer of the Mama, I Want to Sing musical series and Gospel Is . . . !, This is My Song, and Glory, Glory Hallelujah.

  • CEO of The Mama Foundation for the Arts in Harlem, which is dedicated to presenting, preserving and promoting the history of our people.

  • Conceived and produced I Gotta Praise Sunday gospel brunch at Jimmy’s Café in Harlem

  • Conceived and produced Let Me Off in Harlem! Saturday night dinner theater at Jimmy’s Café in Harlem

  • Ordained as an Interfaith minister

  • Named a Harlem hero in Harlem Is… a public art and education project of Community Works celebrating the living history of Harlem at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

"The success of any people, idea, product or service depends on the ability to communicate effectively."

— Vy Higginsen

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Higginson family

Photo credit: Vy Higginsen Family Photo

This Is My Song

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg (left) and Knoelle Higginson (right)


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