Journalist, influencer Ayesha K. Faines of ‘The Grapevine Show’ has died

"This news is just devastating. My heart is broken for her family."

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Black Twitter is mourning the death of journalist Ayesha Faines, who passed away on Friday.

A cause of death has not been released for the global influencer, who died “unexpectedly,” according to News4Jax.

Faines, founder of Women Love Power, was best known for being a panelist on the millennial web series The Grapevine Show. In addition, she connected to the human spirit through her work for various outlets, including MTV, Essence, Entertainment Tonight, Hot 97, Afropunk, and The Michael Baisden Radio Show.

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Ayesha K Faines (Twitter)

A graduate of Yale University, Faines was a beloved lecturer known for exploring topics related to feminism power, women’s issues, intersectionality, mythology, race, and gender politics. 

As a former TV journalist, she worked for WJXT4 News4Jax in 2008 and My9TV/FOX in New York City, as reported by Insider.

“Ayesha was such a bright light,” News4Jax anchor Melanie Lawson said. “She was so young when she came to News4Jax but very intelligent and mature beyond her years. When she spoke it was like listening to poetry. I was always so proud of her accomplishments after she left the station.

“Ayesha was also a fierce supporter of women. She never said a disparaging word about any woman so I wasn’t surprised to see her use her voice for women’s rights. She was a wonderful friend and journalist. This news is just devastating. My heart is broken for her family. I know she meant the world to them. I’ll never forget how her father lit up when he talked about his baby girl. I can’t imagine the pain they feel.”

Several heartfelt tributes have been pouring in on social media since news broke of her passing. 

Cultural critic Jameer Pond reacted on Instagram, writing, @ayeshakfaines, I love you. And I’m so honored and thankful that I got to share space, laughs, and timeless memories with you. You made me a better human being. This is a GREAT loss because a beacon of light has transitioned. But voyage on to Atlantis and I’ll meet you when the time is right💛 JP.”

Donovan Thompson, executive producer and panelist on @thegrapevinetv, paid tribute in a series of tweets. 

“AYESHA K. FAINES | devastation doesn’t even begin to describe what i feel. there is a weight now of deep, profound loss that will remain with me forever & the world will never be the same. @ayeshakfaines changed my life…,” he wrote.

In a follow-up post, he added, “Ayesha offered the most profound, insightful words of wisdom in the most beautifully articulate ways imaginable. i was always humbled being in her presence and she continuously inspired to be better. intellect, beauty, wisdom, power, grace, class, and bravery… she had it all.”

Thompson continued, “i cannot believe that i actually have to say this, but rest well, QUEEN. i love you so much and your works will live on forever… you’re an icon now. i’ll make sure of that. until we meet again, baby…”

The Grapevine TV shared a photo of Faines on Instagram, along with the caption: “When she started speaking the panel would hush. Rarely did someone try and speak over her (and that happens to every one of us). She had notes. She took notes. She was intentional. Every word she spoke had backing. She made everyone step up their game. She was such a nice person. A force. We’re worse off without her here. RIP.”

Shakira Sanchez, Ayesha’s gal pal at Yale University wrote, “Rest in peace, my beautiful friend. She was the first friend I made at Yale when we met as high school seniors visiting the campus. I remember how exciting it was when she became a TV anchor in my hometown and then from there had continued to do amazing work in media and journalism. She had just commented on one of my posts 1 week ago with encouraging words which we always exchanged. Still feels surreal. I will miss her lovely, regal and brilliant presence.”

Many people flooded Twitter with condolences for the media personality, with several users calling Faines “a voice for women.”

One person wrote: “Ayesha K Faines was a Black woman who organized complex information so anyone could understand. She had a great dharma as a teacher & she fulfilled her purpose. She followed her own rules & listened to her internal calling. The loss of this woman will be felt for generations.”

Before her death, Faines was a columnist at Zora magazine. She was also a competitive salsa dancer.

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