Black Media: Reflecting on the Past and Reimagining the Future


Friday, September 22, 2023
Howard Thurman Center

8:00-9:00 a.m.

Registration and light breakfast.

9:00-9:15 a.m.


Symposium organizers share goals for the day.

9:15-10:15 a.m.

The Business Impact of DEI on Media

Diversity in media matters for a myriad of reasons…including financial ones. Case in point: a recent study by McKinsey & Company found that the film and television industries could reap an additional $10 billion in revenue each year simply by addressing persistent racial inequities. This panel of DEI leaders will illustrate why creating inclusive workplaces makes financial sense and will offer expert tips on how to create such flourishing workplaces.

  • Paolo Gaudiano GRS ’91, Co-Founder and President, Aleria Research Corporation 
  • Dr. Ana-Christina Ramon, Director of Research and Civic Engagement for the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA
  • Lynn K. Sitanimezi, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion leader at Driven Aligned Leadership Group Canada
  • Mark Walton, The New School

10:15-10:30 a.m.


10:30-11:30 a.m.

How To Change the Game

Three visionary community builders across industries tell us why and how they created their organizations, all of which are dedicated to amplifying Black voices in communications industries. Discover the important work they are doing, the things they wish they knew at the very beginning, and what you need to know about being an entrepreneur and changemaker.

  • Christopher Hope,  Founder and Executive Director, The Loop Lab
  • Fatou Barry, Founder of PR Girl Manifesto and Co-founder of Hold the Press
  • Akoto Ofori-Atta, Co-founder and Chief Audience Officer at Capital B
  • Kelundra Smith, Senior Writer, Emory University and Freelance Arts Journalist

11:30 a.m.-11:45 A.m.


11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Black & LGBT: Media Professionals on the Intersection of Race and Gender/Sexual Identity

Media professionals from various industries will discuss how they have navigated and built successful careers as media professionals who identify as both Black and LGBT. Panelists will speak about the challenges of balancing both identities and share how one’s unique identity can be an asset in the workplace.

  • Whitney Simon, Account Director at Missive
  • Tre’vell Anderson, journalist
  • Femi Redwood, journalist
  • Anthony Harrison, President of the Boston University Alumni Association

12:45-2:00 p.m.

Lunch and optional mini-session

Please proceed to the second floor for a boxed lunch

Optional lunch mini session:

Mental Health Resources for Media Professionals of Color 
This session will begin at 1:15pm. To attend, please grab some lunch and head back down to the main event space on the first floor.

2:00-3:00 p.m.

How To Be a Workplace Ally

It’s no secret that the journalism, PR, marketing, film, and advertising industries are predominately white. As these industries slowly move toward more diversity and inclusion, how should white professionals within these industries actively support DEI efforts? What exactly makes a strong ally in a newsroom, advertising, or PR agency? This panel will explore what it actually takes to be a white ally to communicators of color.

  • Moiz Syed, Product Design Lead, Pocket-Mozilla
  • Shauna Nuckles, Founder, Advocation
  • Doris Truong, Director of Diversity and Teaching Strategies, Poynter
  • Tina McDuffie, Boston University

3:00-3:15 p.m.


3:15-4:15 p.m.

The State of Black Media

What is the current state of Black media and Black-owned media? From trends in the industry, to the roles of social media and Black Twitter, to what AI will mean for communities of color—this panel will explore everything you need to know about Black media in America in 2023.

  • Cheryl Thompson-Morton, Black Media Initiative Director at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York
  • Dr. Frances Draper, CEO and publisher of The AFRO-American newspapers 
  • Latoya Peterson, CXO of Glow Up Games
  • Kimberly S. Johnson (COM’96,’98), Deputy Chief News Editor for The Wall Street Journal

4:15-4:30 P.M.


4:30-5:30 p.m.

The Ida Lewis (COM ’56) Keynote Conversation: How BU Alums Are Changing the Entertainment Industry

  • Michelle Hurd, actress and national vice president of SAG-AFTRA
  • Russell Hornsby, actor
  • Brianne Garrett, managing editor, Sweet July

5:30-5:45 p.m.

Closing remarks

5:45-6:45 p.m.

Reception and networking

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

BlackBox Film Screening
640 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 101

BlackBox Film Festival logo

Join us for the BlackBox Film Festival to view exemplary short films from Black student filmmakers across the Greater Boston Area! Films will be judged by a talented and accomplished group of professional filmmakers. Awards include Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Short Script, and Best Picture. Come watch the winning shorts on September 22 to celebrate the art of film and the talented Black creators who are breaking into the industry!

Refreshments will be served at the reception in Room 209 after the screening. Reserve your seat now.