All Articles Tagged "debra lee"
Former basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson has joined forces with Coca Cola, rapper/actor Common, and BET boss lady Debra Lee for a program that will allow youth between 16 and 21 to shadow them and their teams for a week in the summer.
Part owner of the LA Dodgers and Magic Johnson Theaters, Johnson told TheGrio.com that he wants to teach teens that “focus, discipline and sacrifice are all necessary attributes to become successful.”
Common has always had a presence in the community, including in his hometown (and mine) of Chicago. Here’s what he had to say about his mission in the program: “I want them to experience the ups and downs, the hard work and discipline that it takes.”
He also said he will personally be involved with the mentees. “Beyond music, it’s important for me to reach back and create a legacy bigger than my career,” Common said.
These celebrity leaders are on the right track. According to BeAMentor.org, a Pew Study shows that minority and low income youth who have mentorship are 46 percent less likely to use illegal drugs, 53 percent less likely to skip school, and 33 percent less likely to hit someone.
So hopefully by these familiar faces taking a stance on mentorship, others will be encouraged to get involved with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters or similar programs as well.
Anyone can nominate a young person for the “Pay It Forward” apprenticeship program via the My Coke Rewards site through March 2.
We tweeted yesterday about Urbanworld Digital, but, even bigger, the 16th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival kicked off last night with the opening film Being Mary Jane. Starring Gabrielle Union (number 22 on The Root 100) and written by Mara Brock Akil (number 51, who also wrote Sparkle, Girlfriends and The Game), the BET Networks movie is about a single TV news anchor (Union) making a way in her personal and professional life.
Before the movie, however, there was the red carpet (we snapped a quick pic of Gabrielle Union for the cell phone, along with the dozens of photogs and reporters who showed up for opening night). In addition to Union, Akil, BET CEO Debra Lee, Tika Sumpter, and other stars and notable names turned out for the event.
Though Urbanworld has been around for more than a decade, it’s still hard work to finance and organize the event.
“It’s definitely a comprehensive labor of love,” said Gabrielle Glore, the festival’s executive producer and head of programming, who spoke with us over the phone just before opening night. “No one is getting rich off these festivals. Not even the big ones.”
Among the big ones are, of course, Sundance, the Toronto Film Festival, which got a lot of attention this year because Kristen Stewart made her first pre-scandal debut, and Cannes. For all of these festivals, publicity — for the films, for the event itself — is important. Last night’s media turnout no doubt drums up a good deal of attention for the festival.
But more than that, sponsors are important to Urbanworld. “It’s all about sponsors,” said Galore. HBO is Urbanworld’s founding sponsor; BET is its presenting sponsor. “It lets people know that there’s some credibility. The sponsor piece is critical.”
According to Glore, it’s the marketplace that determines the level of sponsorship. “The years that have been more difficult in terms of funding, it’s about what’s happening in the marketplace,” she told us. She says they’ve already started working on the slate of sponsors for next year. The sponsors help determine festival activities, like the digital events and labs.
In addition to that, the festival operates on a strict budget.
“We’re lean and mean and we have money to make it happen,” said Glore.
Historically, Urbanworld has showcased some big-name movies. Collateral, starring Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise debuted there. Night Catches Us with Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington opened there two years ago. And there were the showings of both Barbershop films and Secret Life of Bees, among others.
Though many of the movies that the festival screens aren’t necessarily blockbusters on the level of Twilight, they are successful (as that list shows). More than that, they give famous actors the chance to attach themselves to indie projects that they’re passionate about. And it gives filmmakers a chance to show their work in a theater, something that many of them might not otherwise be able to do.
“We definitely don’t characterize ourselves as a black film festival,” said Glore, while acknowledging that many of the films they include involve African American artists. “There’s a cross-cultural sensibility that reflects what America looks like.”
Which is very good for enlisting sponsors. ”Companies want to align with brands and with what’s the future,” Glore adds.
Among the other films showing this year are Won’t Back Down, about reform at an inner city school starring Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rosie Perez; The Girl is In Trouble a crime movie starring Columbus Short, boasting executive producer Spike Lee and directed by Julius Onah; and the closing night film, Middle of Nowhere, directed by another Root 100 honoree, Ava DuVerney, who was the first African American to win the director’s prize at Sundance for this movie.
For the complete Urbanworld schedule, click here.
by R. Asmerom
When asked by Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal about BET’s competition, Debra Lee (Chairman and CEO of BET Networks) didn’t say TV One or Magic Johnson’s soon-to-be launched network Aspire. Rather, she said the network, which is available in over 90 million homes, is competing with every media entity for eyeballs. This is the case,she says, despite the fact that advertisers try to lump Black media under one umbrella.
“We’re not a monolithic audience. Sometimes advertisers treat us that way, or other networks treat us that way,” she told Marketplace. “So we try to have a well-rounded programming slate to be attractive to male, female, different income levels, different educational levels.”
Lee has been credited with directing BET to embrace more original programming. In the past two years, the network has unveiled to original programs including “The Game,” which it picked up after CW cancelled it, and “Reed Between The Lines.” Although she explains that BET is not striving to be the “PBS” for Black Americans, she does communicate that it does consider the challenges facing Black America and integrates realistic images in their programming.
Since taking the helm at BET seven years ago, the network has undergone a transformation of sorts and being hailed as a more well-rounded network than it was previously when it embraced round-the-clock music=related programming.
More on Madame Noire Business!
- Bar Owners, Party Throwers & DJs: African-American Women Making It In The Nightlife Business
- How She Made It: Maria Lee-Driver Discusses The Success of Her Skincare Line Oria’s O’Shay’s
- Entrepreneur Spotlight: Shafonne Myers, Founder and Owner of Pretty Pear Bride Magazine
- Behind the Click: Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream
- Do Black Designers Skip Over Black Models to Gain White Customers?
- How She Made It: Alia Jones-Harvey, Producer of A Streetcar Named Desire
After weeks of being snapped grabbing coffee together, going on vacations together with Eddie’s kids and more, Eddie Murphy and Rocsi Diaz made their first “red carpet” appearance together for Debra Lee’s Pre-BET Awards celebration in Los Angeles on Saturday. They were holding hands and each other as cameras flashed away and Rocsi cheesed it up for the camera. People have been throwing shade online saying that they are a hot mess of a couple, but in all their photos taken by the paps, they seem to have good chemistry and are into each other. But in these photos, they seem uncomfortable, him for sure. Anywho, this is their first real appearance together as an official couple, even though Rocsi kept saying the two were anything but that when inquiring minds wanted to know. Don’t know why these celebs like to play coy and then come out on the red carpet pretending like folks didn’t already know what was going on. Just do you, boo boo. Do you! Check out a few more pics and tell us if you’re seeing the chemistry or not. Body language does tell a lot, and Eddie is looking like a deer in headlights. But then again, this is his first time publicly taking a woman out in front of the camera in years…*Kanye shrug*
Well, all right. What do you think?
More on Madame Noire!
- Keep It On The Down Low! Your Fave Celebs’ Secret Celeb Crush….
- Only Christian Men Need Apply: Why I Think It’s Important to Share Religious Beliefs
- Oh You’re a Freak, Huh? Good and Bad Ways to Surprise Him in Bed
- Hair Me Out! Mane Mishaps To Avoid At All Costs….
- Do You Remember When…?: 7 Shocking Moments From The BET Awards!
- Where Are They Now? Our Favorite Good and Bad Guys From “The Wire”
- Peaches & Green: The Business Ventures & Side Hustles of the Real Housewives of Atlanta
It’s almost summer, and with that season approaching with the quickness (not until June, but you know Memorial Day ushers in the summertime way of thinking and naked-ness), it’s time to get ready for another presentation of the BET Awards. Nominations came out yesterday, and while I’m sure most–no, make that some–of the nominees are geeked up about their honors, I kind of rolled my eyes at not only the nominations, but the idea of another unorganized award show. Is it just me, or have the BET Awards become pretty irrelevant and unnecessary at this point?
I’ll never forget when the show was at its prime. The award show as a whole started in 2001 and has been a force to be reckoned with over the years, even pulling in MTV Video Music Award numbers, sometimes record numbers for the network. The most entertaining BET Awards presentation was probably the one in 2003 when Mo’Nique was the host, and anybody and everybody that was hot in the industry (and black) was in the audience. That was the year Bey performed “Crazy in Love” live for the first time, a very popular 50 Cent (remember, this was a LONG time ago) slayed the stage, and that was the year the show honored James Brown and Michael Jackson came out and got down with him. Our last glimpse of the men together on stage before both passed. Pretty awesome indeed.
But if you look forward after those years, the ceremonies became more and more ridiculous. From hosts who bombed (I still love you Damon Wayans), to reckless mess (Lil Wayne singing “I wish I could f**k every girl in the world” with his daughter and her friends dancing on stage), the terrible censorship (covering up clean words and accidentally letting the F-bomb and worse be aired on national television), and Debra Lee’s wardrobe choices, folks have been begging BET to go back to the drawing board with this once very fun and exciting annual event.
I’m sure most would say we need the BET Awards in order to honor OUR stars, but how does the show benefit and represent for black celebrities when half of them don’t even show up for the award’s ceremony??? Maybe they started to think the show was obscure as well, because last time I saw folks like Rihanna or even Kanye at the show, they had different boos on their arms and were all smiles before big scandals that would change the direction of their music and careers. And in all honesty, the show has started to honor the same folks over and over again rather than really showcasing a wide variety of talented black stars. And it’s getting pretty tired at this point.
For instance, this year, the video of the year category has two nominations for Bey and two for “The Throne” (Jay-Z and Kanye), leaving just one random nom left for Usher’s video, “Climax.” And that video came out, what, two months ago? And let us not forget that it has been the Chris Brown/YMCMB show for the last three years (Lil Wayne or Drake has consistently closed the show with stomach-turning flashes of Wayne’s panties and expletive-laden performances). Who can forget the fact that they let Chris Brown perform on-stage about three times last year and just HAD to give us a streamed performance of Beyoncé performing at Glastonbury? (They could have kept that.) And after a year that sprouted new female rap talents like Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks, why Nicki Minaj is nominated against folks like Diamond (she had new music???), I have no clue. They might as well mail her that award now and save her the trouble of coming out. And No Jill Scott in the Female R&B category??? *scoffs*
I do commend producers for including the humanitarian award, the lifetime achievement award (which is hand’s down my favorite part of the show) and letting gospel talents perform (too bad they have to sit in the audience and listen to so much ratchet-ness a majority of the night). I even like that they try to broaden people’s musical tastes by having awards for international acts, but what good is that award when you hand it out before the program starts??? You see, for every step forward the show takes, it winds up taking a few more back. But then again, that’s the history of the network as a whole.
With this type of job, I’ll be watching so I can help provide coverage about what happened, who wore what, and all that jazz (just as I did last year), and I’m really just looking forward to the show’s attempt at honoring Whitney Houston. But I’m hoping with the time they have to put on something fancy, it will be great, and that the awards as a whole can get a major upgrade. But these days, I’m finding that this show…honestly, make that most music award shows, are becoming as irrelevant as as can be, and there’s nothing you can do about it but tune in to laugh, or tune out to maintain your right mind.
More on Madame Noire!
- Dayummm…They Look Good For Their Age: Celebs Who Prove That Black Don’t Crack
- Let This Be A Lesson: Nas Says He Knew Marriage To Kelis Wouldn’t Work
- 7 Singers Turned Actors: Who Was a Natural On-Screen and Who Was a Hot Mess?
- Decoding Your Downstairs: 8 Things Women Need To Know About Their Va Jay Jay
- No Need To Call Tyrone: 7 Ways To Bow Out Of A Relationship Gracefully
- Madame On the Street: How Long Should You Wait to Have Sex?
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind the Making of “Jungle Fever”
Black women have an extraordinary impact on the world, and Crystal McCrary is capturing all of those modern-day successes and triumphs in one book. Through written word and photo essays, Inspiration: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World, tells the unique stories of 30 black women who are current game changers.
From entertainers to athletes, politicians, and business owners, this book covers black women from all social, cultural, and political walks of life, such as Betye Saar, Majora Carter, Thelma Golden, and Bethann Hardison. Well-known figures such as First Lady Michelle Obama, Ruby Dee, Patti Labelle, Shonda Rhimes, and Venus Williams are also featured.
Wesley Royce, assistant editor for ABRAMS, the publisher of the book, said throughout the book there were a few common threads woven throughout each woman’s story of success.
“These women put in an immense amount of hard work into developing their skills and they didn’t just believe in themselves— they believed in sharing their talents with the world,” he said.
Wesley also noted that no woman said they achieved their success on their own.
“They also all spoke about the importance of other strong women in their lives— whether it was their mothers or own children or friends— and the strength they drew from their support was crucial to their success.”
The book is currently available as a hardcover and for e-readers. For more information visit the ABRAMs blog. Will you check out this book?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- How Tweet It Is: Folks Who Need A Twitter Take Down!
- No Ordinary Love: Weird Things That Are Good For Your Relationship
- Double Take! Celebs’ Who Look Just Like Their Parents
- Golden Girls! Gorgeous Gold Accessories – EDITOR PICKS
- Jojoba Oil: A Nourishing and Natural Friend For Your Hair
- Black Celebrity Twins Besides Tia & Tamera
- Puurrfectly Poised: Style Icon Eartha Kitt
- Sisters In Hiding: Not So Famous Sisters of Famous Celebs Part II
Tags:ABRAMS, Ambassador Nicole Avant, and Venus Williams, bethann hardison, Betye Saar, Crystal McCrary, debra lee, Debra Martin Chase, Dr. Patricia Bath, Gayle King, iman, Inspiration: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World, Janice Bryant Howroyd, Judith Jamison, keke palmer, Laila Ali, majora carter, Marian Wright Edelman, mary j. blige, mellody hobson, michelle obama, Misty Copeland, Nina Shaw, patti labelle, raven-symone, ruby dee, Shaun Robinson, Shonda Rhimes, soledad o'brien, Susan L. Taylor, thelma golden, tracy reese, Whoopi Goldberg
Our Kela Walker hit the Black Girls Rock! red carpet to ask celebs: Who are your favorite Black GUYS that rock? and If a BGR was a super hero, what would her superpowers be? Check out what everyone had to say!
Check Out More Video from Black Girls Rock! Red Carpet:
(Eurweb) — BET CEO Debra Lee says her cable channel has righted the ship in terms of its programming, and she hopes her recent decisions will at least quiet critics. It’s no secret that BET, including its co-founder Sheila Johnson, has been the target of public criticism for airing shows and music videos that many deem as offensive and degrading to women. However, over the last few months, BET has exercised its option not to air certain content and has even introduced shows like “Let’s Stay Together” and resurrected canceled CW series “The Game.” In Debra’s opinion, those measures have gone a long way to improving BET’s image.
(Wall Street Journal) — The challenges women face often cut across industries. But some are also unique to specific sectors. Women who have risen high in four industries—finance, health, technology and media—sought to illuminate these issues by recounting their own experiences and assessing how women generally have fared in their fields…
MS. GALLONI: Debra Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks, is the woman behind famous shows like “The Game” and “The Mo’Nique Show.” You started at BET in 1986 as general counsel. And then 10 years later you were promoted to chief operating officer. And you say many people below you tried to sort of trick you. They figured, “She doesn’t know my business, so I’m not going to tell her things.” Can you tell us a little bit about how that happened? And how much do you think that that had to do with the fact that you were a woman?.
MS. LEE: It was a small, entrepreneurial company. I had been part of a peer group of probably seven or eight other executives. All except two were male. I went from being part of the peer group to being the boss. And I found out all the other men had asked for the COO position, so they were not happy when I was given it.
(The White House) — Debra Lee is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B) and the world’s leading provider of quality entertainment for the African-American audience and consumers of Black culture. Ms. Lee oversees one of the most influential multiplatform media companies in the world, including several cable television networks, digital offerings, and a home entertainment business. BET Networks is committed to providing its audience with quality entertainment that speaks to where they are in their lives and where they want to go. Ms. Lee has led BET’s successful original programming strategy that has created hits such as The Mo’Nique Show, Monica: Still Standing, Sunday Best and many more. In addition, Ms. Lee has helped guide BET’s reinvigorated approach, which is built on supporting families, embracing and encouraging their dreams, focusing on the issues that are important to them and presenting the freshest talent and entertainment. In September 2009, Ms. Lee managed the launch of CENTRIC, the 24-hour entertainment network featuring the artists, music, series, movies and reality programming that reflects the lifestyle and sophistication of today’s African-American and multi-cultural adult. She also oversees the company’s current growth initiatives, including international distribution of the brand in the United Kingdom and Africa.