Aitina Fareed-Cooke was told at a young age that she would be a “failure to thrive” as a
result of her biological mother’s addiction to drugs. As a result, she and her two older
siblings were placed into the foster care system and due to substance abuse, their
mother passed away. Despite being labeled emotionally handicapped by the system,
Aitina refused to be defined by it. Instead, she found solace and empowerment through
her faith in God and her voice within the creative arts, rewriting her narrative. Her
unwavering commitment to her family and community became a testament to her
resilience and determination.

Aitina now serves as a Creative Arts Strategist, Buffalo’s Poet Laureate, National
Recording Artist, and founder of Get Fokus’d Productions (GFP), an award-winning
media arts production company that has been recognized for its exceptional work
within the community of Buffalo NY. Get Fokus’d Productions is a company in which
creatives partner together to capture ‘human-first’ stories, a method that prioritizes
empathy and connection. In collaboration with a collection of creatives, and through
the mentorship of emerging artists, Aitina amplifies community voices using a social
design approach, creating a ripple effect of positivity within the creative arts.

She utilizes digital media art, performative, emotive storytelling through speech
writing and lyricism to ignite thought and expand perspectives, she travels across the
country sharing her inspiring journey of personal growth from foster care to freedom
through the creative arts. For nearly two decades, Aitina has pursued and earned
numerous grants to fund a plethora of creative arts projects that involved and unified
nonprofit community-based organizations, businesses, entrepreneurs, educators, and
the next generation of creatives.

Earning her BA in English and MS in Education at Buffalo State University, where she
currently serves as a foundation board member, she has utilized her educational
experiences as a mechanism to forge her creative path. Over the last decade, she has
dedicated her efforts towards designing and implementing a variety of project-based
educational programs, presentations and performances, apprenticeships, practical
income-generating opportunities, and access to a variety of platforms for career
development experiences within the creative arts sector to a collection of over 20,000
emerging artists, aspiring young creatives, entrepreneurs and more.

Aitina has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Art & Design Department at Buffalo
State University, Community Schools Navigator with Say Yes to Education, Artworks
Director and Education Coordinator with Young Audiences of Western New York, and
was the Youth Services Site Coordinator for Community Action Organization
N.U.R.T.U.R.E. Academy. During her tenure in each role, she designed curriculums that
contributed to the growth of program retention rates in youth and parent
participation, increased youth & community engagement, established unique
partnerships with community-based organizations, and secured grant funds toward
the longevity and success of those individual programs.

Recognized for her achievements, she has successfully secured funding through
prestigious organizations like Creatives Rebuild New York, 43 North Ignite Buffalo, and
the New York State Council on the Arts. Her work has been showcased in exhibitions
and has provided services to esteemed institutions such as Buffalo State University,
Cornell University, M&T Bank, and Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, among

Her musical career has led her to executive produce four full-length albums and
collaborate with Grammy award-winning artists, resulting in an impressive collective
stream count of over 1 million through distribution services. Aitina’s remarkable
accomplishments also include receiving the Buffalo State University Young Alumnus
Achievement Award and the Arts Services Inc. Trailblazer of the Arts Award, firmly
establishing her as a beacon of inspiration and a catalyst for positive transformation
within the creative arts industry.