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Hosts-L to R Phyllis Stickney (Co-Founder), Danny Bakewell, Jr.(Founding Board Member), Curtis Fralin (Owner, Maverick's Flat) Marva Smihth (Co-Founder), Nzingha Asantewa (Founding Board Member), and Roland Wirt. Jennifer Bruns (Founding Board Member) not pictured.
Newly formed organization seeks to address the lack of positive images of African American women working in Arts and Entertainment Careers.
At a launch event held on Thursday, April 26 at the newly renovate Maverick’s Flat Jazz and Supper Club located on Crenshaw Blvd., the Co-founders of A Woman’s Place, Inc. announced its formation with resounding community support and offered a glimpse of what is to be expected in the coming months.
Noting the dearth of positive images of African American women in media and entertainment, A Woman’s Place Inc. treated attendees to a brilliant performance by Jazz in Pink led by musical director Gail Jhonson and featuring the genius of violinist Karen Briggs. Co-founder, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, star of stage, television and screen, was so moved by the music that she treated the audience to an impromptu spoken word performance. The energy in the room was palpable and continued until after midnight with dancing courtesy of one of LA hottest female deejays, DJ Karma Camille.
The more than 200 attendees were greeted with hefty bags of hair care products donated by Miss Jessie’s and participated in a silent auction which included donated items of two Playoff Tickets contributed by The Los Angeles Lakers, Park Lane Jewelry, Scentsations Gift Basket and Dinner for two at Maverick’s Flat, just to name of few.
The organization cited a recent study by the Women’s Media Center that highlights the need for efforts to include more women of color in key positions. The report notes that during the 2010-2011 television season, women made up just 18 percent of creators, 22 percent of executive producers, 37 percent of producers, 15 percent of writers, 11 percent of directors, 20 percent of editors, 4 percent of directors of photography. The numbers are equally shocking for music industry careers. With lofty goals, the organization seeks to impact media and entertainment by supporting women of color working in arts and entertainment careers. “The absence of presence of women of color and African American women in particular, leaves our society lacking a perspective and a richness, to the worlds detriment”, said Co-founder Marva Smith, a local activist and vocalist. She went on to say that, “we can sit back and complain or we can do something about it.”
The organization believes that a woman’s place is wherever she wants to be. Whether it is in the boardroom, on the stage, behind the camera, in the engineer’s booth or in the director’s chair, women of color must be present or we all lose out on the opportunity to enhance the landscape.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters served as Horary Co-host but was unable to attend due to a Congressional vote; however, in attendance were California State Senator Rod Wright and Councilwoman Jan Perry, candidate for Mayor who presented the group with a Certificate of Recognition and spoke briefly to the audience. Event hosts were founding board members Danny J. Bakewell, Jr., Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Marva Smith and Nzingha Asantewa along with Gloria Simmington and Roland Wirt. The organization has filed for nonprofit designation and is currently partnering with The Brotherhood Crusade to serve as fiscal sponsor. All contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law. For more information on A Woman’s Place, Inc. please visit the website at www.awomansplaceinc.org.