Samuels was born in Queens and raised in Roosevelt, New York.
She graduated from Amityville Memorial High School in 1984.
Samuels joined the Style section of The New York Times,
the most prominent newspaper in the country, in 1988.
After noticing what she considered a void in positive articles
about African-Americans, she became a writer and contributor
to the paper.
Her first story, about Brooklyn-based textile artist Xenobia Bailey
appeared in the Sunday “Style Makers” section, in 1990.
In 1991, Samuels won an award from the National Association
of Black Journalists for several of her feature stories, including Afrocentric fashions,
natural hairstyles for black women and sartorial styles among students.
A year later, she won scholarships from the National Association of Black Journalists and its
New York chapter, NYABJ and took courses at New York University.
She also garnered attention for a major business report on the bankruptcy of megastar
recording artists TLC.
Samuels resides in Brooklyn, New York, and is the mother of one son, Shane, and
grandmother to Maliyah.
Samuels has served on the editorial staffs of several national publications. In 1997, she was an assistant editor for BET Weekend, the second-largest publication targeting African-Americans, with a circulation of 1.3 million. The magazine was owned by Black Entertainment Television. In 1998, she became the Rhythm & Blues editor at Billboard magazine, considered the trade magazine of record for the music industry.
The post was based in Los Angeles.
By 1999, she had returned to New York to join the staff of the newly launched Vanguarde Media.
She held posts at two of Vanguarde's publications: Associate editor of Impact, a monthly music lifestyle magazine; managing editor for Impact Weekly, a radio and retail trade magazine.
As a freelance journalist, Samuels has written exclusive, front-page articles for the New York
Daily News and her work has appeared in Consumer’s Digest, Global Rhythm magazine, The Asbury
Park Press, Upscale, Honey, CODE, Caribbeat Magazine, Heart & Soul, a health and fitness publication,
Forum, published by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, FierceForBlackWomen.com, and DiverseBusinessNews.com. She was also a contributing writer for "Mama’s Little Baby:
The Black Woman’s Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth and Baby’s First Year," by Dennis Brown and
Pamela A. Toussaint (Dutton, 1997).
Samuels’ first book, "Rants & Retorts: How Bigots Got a Monopoly on Commenting About News Online," is
a provocative exploration of the way in which reader comment sections — created to foster the free flow of ideas and opinions on the news of the day — have spiraled downward into what many journalists call “cesspools” of racism and bigotry. The book features reader comments amassed over years from various news sites, as well as commentary and analysis by experts in media, journalism, law, and contemporary culture. The foreword is by Chuck D, the founder of the groundbreaking
hip-hop group Public Enemy.