Photo caption: NBFF Founder J.O. Malone with EM correspondent, Deanna Laster
By Deanna Laster
The 2nd annual National Black Film Festival (NBFF) took place in Houston May 2-5 with a complete schedule of workshops, movie screenings, networking events and award ceremonies. All to connect industries professionals with the latest up and coming filmmakers.
NBFF was founded by film producer J.O. Malone as an initiative to build an enlightening platform for future filmmakers.
In the midst of women reaffirming their voices globally through movements like the Women’s March and #MeToo Movement, it was commendable for NBFF to host a Women in Film & Entertainment panel on Thursday, May 3 at AMC Theatre.
It was great to catch up with the some of panelists, that included TV host and actress Stacy Ike, actress Terri J. Vaughn, writer/producer Cas Sigers-Beedles, CEO, director & producer Michelle Mower, FOX 29 reporter Haddie Djemal and TV One’s Sr. Producer Krystal Franklin on the red carpet to talk about women’s equality.
As the first live show host of OWN Tonight on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Stacy Ike’s mantra “Fight For Your Fairytale” was definitely clear when asked if she could change one thing for women in the entertainment industry. Stacy stated that it would be “for us to not feel the fear of speaking up.” Given her spunk and charisma, Stacy would tell her younger self, “Not to be so scared and stop thinking she has to have it all figured out.”
We all know Terry J. Vaughn for her character Lovita Alizay Jenkins-Robinson on “The Steve Harvey Show,” but this three-time NAACP Image Award recipient is also a producer, director and co-founder of Nina Holiday Entertainment, a TV/film production company. Vaughn was very passionate about women having more opportunities to be decision makers in “moving projects forward and getting them done.” Her advice to her younger self would be to “trust your instincts and be courageous enough to follow them.”
Haddie Djemal is lifestyle correspondent for Fox 29 who is a proud University of Houston alumnus with a degree in broadcast journalism. Djemal is establishing her on-air footprint in the Texas region and beyond, and passionate about women receiving the same leverage as their male counterparts in the entertainment and film industry.
The NBFF red carpet would not be same without the 30-something TV One Senior Producer, Krystal Franklin. Houston’s own Grambling State University alumni said if she could give advice to her younger self, she would remind her to “be comfortable with who you are and know that you are enough!” If she could have one super power it would to “be a mind reader in tough conversations.”
Overall, the fight for gender equality is real as this team of panelists are proving on their respective paths in the entertainment and film industry.
About Deanna Laster
Deanna Laster (@deannamichelboutique) is a fashion designer and president of DeannaMichel Inc.