Umi Selah and Aja Monet created Smoke Signals Studio with the community in mind. For them, this is not a business, but a personal mission. The two run the studio out of their own Little Haiti home. Monet is a Brooklyn-born poet of Cuban-Jamaican descent. Selah was born in Chicago and, after graduating from Florida A&M University, cofounded the Florida activist group Dream Defenders. "A smoke signal is something that someone sends up when they're stranded, when they have lost all hope and they're looking for somebody to take notice and rescue them," Selah says. The concept for the studio is similar: to give a creative outlet to Miami's disenfranchised and underserved. Back then, Selah and Monet had hoped to raise $10,000 to get things off the ground. They ended up collecting more than $15,000, and now Smoke Signals is up and running. Because they operate out of their shared home, Selah and Monet prefer to keep their address private. But it's not difficult to get in touch with them. If you're in need of studio space and a warm, collaborative, uplifting environment, shoot an email to [email protected] and get the music started.