“For the Culture: Building a Career in Media and Television” was the first panel produced by the Black Women in Media Collective that highlighted the careers of prominent Black women executives from leading companies at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall on Thursday, Sept. 6.
“I’ve worked in music for going on eight years now, I just don’t meet a lot of women who look like me in this industry,” started Tyra Elder, one of the founders of the organization and director of creative licensing television at Extreme Music.
The panel was hosted to give attendees an opportunity to gain insight and ask questions about breaking into the music, film and television industries. Eager to learn, a diverse crowd filed into the Macy’s Bridge to hear about the different facets of the entertainment industry and dined on complimentary food from Cafe Creole.
“Part of the reason we called it ‘For the Culture’ is because we really do want to talk about the culture of the industry and where we fit in it,” explained Carolyn Richardson, who moderated the panel. Richardson is a prominent music supervisor with over 15 years of experience in the industry having worked at Live Nation, Sony Music, and CBS Studios.
“The opportunities are very few and far between for us in music, television and film,” added Angela “Moonbaby” Jollivette, panel curator and music supervisor for television shows like OWN’s “Greenleaf.” “It makes sense for us to unify and continue to help uplift each other and keep our eyes open for each other.”
What started out as a brunch launched to bring together black women in the entertainment industry to fellowship and to build sisterhood has since expanded to include original programming, such as this inaugural panel and various networking events.
The panel included: Taura Stinson, Golden Globe, Grammy, and Academy Award nominated songwriter; Edina B, coordinator of creative marketing for film at Sony music publishing; Ellene V. Miles, senior vice president of intersectional marketing for Sony Pictures; Qiana Conley, executive director at the Recording Academy, LA Chapter; Tash Gray, writer and director; and Stacey Evans Morgan, executive producer, writer, and director for SEM PRO Inc.
Each panelist discussed how they represent a specific side of the corporate and talent sides of the business. Gray shared that some of her greatest lessons have come from finding her voice as a writer.
“I learned that code switching was not being my authentic self,” commented Gray. “If I want to offer something to media and a certain perspective and a story that isn’t out there then I could no longer do that.” She further mused “I had to fully embrace who I am and move forward with authority and boldness to say this is who I am and variations of this image also need to be projected.”
The need for a sense of community in such a competitive landscape is the reason that Gray became a part of the Black Women Collective.
“I would say the most important thing about becoming a mainstay in any industry is to build community,” echoed Richardson. “Part of your career building should be supporting other people like you. If you don’t like the community that exists, you have to create it.”
In sum, the panel collectively reiterated that everyone has their own path, find a mentor and build a community of like and diverse minded people, find and standby your voice, and be open to spaces that you believe are not for you.
For more information about the Black Women in Media Collective, follow them on Instagram.com/bwm.collective. This event was part of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw ongoing commitment to providing free, high-quality programming to the Crenshaw Corridor. To obtain information about upcoming events at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall visit https://www.baldwinhillscrenshawplaza.com/events.