It’s been said, to “Let go and let God,” but not everyone takes that advice. Roz Stevenson was one of the reluctant ones.
By her own admission, the pioneering movie publicist almost didn’t achieve that status because she didn’t factor God’s purpose for her life into her plans. But after hitting rock bottom, she submitted to the Lord and saw her wildest fantasies become reality.
Stevenson reveals how her entertainment career was transformed into an astounding success in her new memoir, “Look At God! My Hollywood Walk of Faith.” She traces her beginnings as a youngster growing up in a Christian household in Compton to her early determination as a young adult to carve her own path. The final section, which is the largest, details the miracles and opening of doors that occurred once Stevenson let the Lord guide her.
“This is a story of dreams coming true after I surrendered all and began to walk in faith. I watched God’s hand work in my life as I stepped into His purpose,” said Stevenson, who promoted some of the biggest film productions in the industry, especially movies featuring Black casts.
“First, I made my mark promoting films at MGM and Universal for two decades before becoming the president/CEO of Roz Stevenson Public Relations, dedicated to marketing to the African American audience,” she said. “During my career, I have worked with Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Cicely Tyson, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, and many top stars.”
Her portfolio includes marketing Washington’s “American Gangster” and “Inside Man,” Murphy’s “The Nutty Professor” films, and Foxx’s “Ray.” Stevenson also managed publicity for Queen Latifah’s “The Last Holiday,” Eminem’s “8 Miles,” Gabrielle Union’s “Bring It On,” Vin Diesel’s “The Fast & Furious” franchise, Samuel L. Jackson’s “Coach Carter” and “XXX,” and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “Gridiron Gang,” “The Scorpion King” and “The Mummy.”
Many stars attested to Stevenson’s array of skills in their reviews cited in “Hollywood Walk of Faith.” Jackson and his wife, actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson, wrote, “Of the thousands of people working in Hollywood today, Robert (Roz’s husband) and Roz exemplify two people whose contributions have been integral to the films they’ve worked on. Thank you, Robert, for running around the world with me for 14 years, and thank you, Roz, for putting up with us! Kudos!”
Award-winning director Ava DuVernay declared, “Roz Stevenson set the bar for Black publicists in Hollywood. For many years and many movies, her work was the gold standard on the West Coast for Black film campaigns. Roz garners the respect of her fellow publicists and journalists alike for her unwavering commitment to her clients and to press professionals of color.”
In the words of Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy of Motion Pictures president from 2013 to 2017, Stevenson “is revered among the Black press for her undying commitment to providing them with equal access to films, stars and filmmakers. Her passion resulted in her becoming president/CEO of her agency, which specialized in marketing films to a deserving, yet an underserved, segment of society.”
However, Stevenson didn’t attain such a hallowed status without God, as she continuously points out in “Hollywood Walk of Faith.” She first married at the age of 20 and was divorced by the age of 27. In addition, she was left with two young sons and bad credit. Although her world appeared bleak, God was on her side and she found love with a new man, Robert Stevenson, who is an award-winning hairstylist.
Robert earned a Primetime Emmy for “The Jesse Owens Story,” and Emmy nominations for “The Atlanta Child Murders” and “The Jacksons: An American Dream.” He also received a Makeup/Hair Guild Award for “The Butler” and the organization bestowed upon him a Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the only African American to ever receive the honor.
In his review about “Hollywood Walk of Faith,” Director Lee Daniels said Robert was recommended as “the best person to be hair stylist on my film, ‘The Butler.’ Even though he was retired, he agreed to serve on my project and he was awarded for his outstanding work.”
Of course, Roz Stevenson had glowing remarks for Robert as well, recalling, “Once I re-married, I found an encouraging new partner and a beautiful new life. We began our Christian walk together, and Sunday continues to be our favorite day.
“I am retired now and as I reflect back, I am grateful that my life came together in every aspect; the perfect partner, the perfect career and perfect peace. I love my family and I want to inspire my children and grandchildren with the joy that comes by being obedient to God,” she said
Alluding to following God’s timing, Stevenson shared that her success was realized later than expected. Still, she said, “It is never too late to get your life on track. I didn’t discover my professional purpose until I was 40-years-old. I am considered a trailblazing publicist, yet I was 57-years-old when I became president/CEO of my own company!”
But, as it says in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” And God applied His own scheduling to Stevenson’s life, yet it all turned out incredibly well, she acknowledged with a smile.
“I have enjoyed working with ‘stars,’ but most importantly, I have enjoyed watching my director, God, produce a story I couldn’t make up or even dream up,” said Stevenson. “With God, it is all possible and I’m so happy I’ve been able to live this life — and live to write about it.”
“Look At God! My Hollywood Walk of Faith” is available in hardback, paperback and e-book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart and everywhere books are sold.