Six Imperatives for Rendering Black Lives in Media
The relationship between mass media and the Black community demonstrates the tremendous power of storytelling and how it conveys images and messages that conjure perceptions and beliefs that either help or harm. Intentional choices in the depiction of Black life in media have produced psycho-social dynamics that require attention and redress. In this session, the NAACP Hollywood Bureau will explore six imperatives for rendering Black lives in media. The panel will discuss various ways mass media storytelling can illuminate a path toward a healthy, discerning and authentically rendered society, wherein the Black experience is understood, appreciated and celebrated with equitable deference.
Kyle Bowser, Senior Vice President of NAACP Hollywood Bureau
Ivan Juzang, Founder and President of MEE Productions
Michael Swanson, CEO, Faith Filmworks
Tiffany Yvonne Cox, Actress / Multi-hyphenate
Yvette Nicole Brown, Emmy-nominated actress, writer, producer and host
presented in partnership with the NAACP Hollywood Bureau
Kyle BowserSVP Hollywood Bureau, NAACP
Kyle Bowser serves as the Senior Vice President of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau. In this capacity, Mr. Bowser is responsible for advancing NAACP’s Hollywood projects, relationships, and overseeing NAACP’s Image Awards production.
For nearly three decades, Kyle Bowser has worked as an entertainment industry executive. His experience spans film, television, music, theater, radio, and digital media. This immersion within a vast sphere of media interests has provided Bowser with unique insight into the intersecting parameters of the arts, culture, business development, and emerging technologies.
Bowser’s career began in theater management and concert promotion. His involvement in television began with NBC Business Affairs in New York City. He later moved to Los Angeles to join Fox, Inc., where he developed television programming of multiple genres and creatively managed primetime fare aired on the Fox Broadcasting Company. Bowser next served as Director of Creative Affairs for HBO Independent Productions, where he developed new programs and creatively supervised content licensed to primetime broadcast carriers. Throughout Bowser’s storied career, his producing talents have been engaged by countless media companies, including NBC, Fox, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Comedy Central, Lifetime, Cooking Channel, PBS, iNDemand, Facebook, Warner Bros., Harper Collins, AEG, the NFL, and more.
A native of Philadelphia, PA, Kyle Bowser received his Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University in Radio/Television Communications and earned his Juris Doctor degree from Widener University School of Law. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar Associations and supports the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association and the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) – for whom he founded the annual Vision Awards and received its coveted Legacy Award.
Tiffany Yvonne CoxActress / Multi-hyphenate
Tiffany Yvonne Cox is a 1st generation Trinidadian actress, director, writer, and producer. She has been seen on regional stages such as Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Ojai Playwrights Festival and many more. She is currently playing Ruth in A RAISIN IN THE SUN at South Coast Repertory Theatre. Select TV credits include: Grey’s Anatomy; Dead To Me; Good Trouble, American Horror Story, and many more. She currently can be seen playing Autumn Owens on Hulu’s Reasonable Doubt which was renewed for Season 2. Tiffany is also one of the leads in Hallmark’s Mahogany film NAPA EVER AFTER. This film is the first Mahogany film to be placed on Hallmark’s home channel. Volunteering with CSH Speak Up! (where she supports those who have experienced homelessness in developing their story to share with legislation for more funding towards supportive housing) influenced her to direct and produce. Recent directing/producing credits include: Star Vehicle; Commune; Roadside Assistance; and the podcast play LaDonna’s Epiphany ft. Anna Maria Horsford. Tiffany started a grassroots group after joining SAG-AFTRA Leadership called MOVING THE DIAL to advocate for Black performers need for equity in Hair and Makeup on set. Since the inception of the group; the commercial contract added protections for people of color and those with textured hair. SAG-AFTRA has also joined forces to legislate for change with The Crown Act. And with the upcoming theatrical negotiations they are pushing for further protections in SAGAFTRA’s contract. Follow her work at www.tiffanyyvonnecox.com and her work in empathy and allyship at www.roadsideassistance.com.
Ivan J. Juzang Founder and President of MEE (Motivational Educational Entertainment) Productions Inc.Ivan J. JuzangFounder and President of MEE (Motivational Educational Entertainment) Productions Inc.
Ivan J. Juzang, Founder and President of MEE (Motivational Educational Entertainment) Productions Inc., has more than three decades of first-hand experience running a behavioral health communications business he founded during his final year at The Wharton Graduate School of Business. Juzang has used market research, culturally-relevant media and community engagement to address health disparities and mental health issues affecting low-income, underserved and devalued communities across the country and around the globe. He conducts qualitative audience research that provides an “insider’s view” of the challenging daily realities of urban living, and combines it with creative, “outside-the-box” media production and grassroots community mobilization strategies. His work speaks to and incorporates the oral tradition (oral communications culture) to shift attitudes and influence behaviors.
For more than 30 years, Juzang and MEE have been profiling the trendsetting culture of low-income Black youth and the ways that stereotypical mass-media images negatively impact an already-traumatized and marginalized Black community. MEE first gained national prominence in 1992, with the release of its primary research study, “The MEE Report: Reaching the Hip-Hop Generation.” Funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the report focused on the previously unexplored cultural and communications dynamics of urban teens. MEE’s 2004 youth sexuality study, “This is My Reality-The Price of Sex: An Inside Look at Black Urban Youth Sexuality and the Role of Media,” also received national media attention because it added young people’s voices to the dialogue about sex in America’s inner cities. MEE’s 2010 study, “Moving Beyond Survival Mode: Promoting Mental Wellness and Resiliency as a Way to Cope with Urban Trauma” explored issues related to stress, trauma and promoting mental wellness in low-income African American communities. Juzang’ s legacy of insightful focus-group research includes, “The Inner-City Truth 3 Survey” (2013), “Tackling America’s Opioid Epidemic From the Ground Up” (2015) and “Heard, Not Judged: Insights Into the Talents and Realities and Needs of Young Men of Color” (2016).
Juzang received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University, and his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. While MEE has primarily been focused on health disparities, Juzang has extensive private-sector experience with some of the biggest and most successful entertainment media brands and makers of Hollywood content. His market research on more than 60 movie/TV projects for Hollywood has validated MEE’s model across sectors and over time.
Michael SwansonPresident and CEO, Faith Filmworks
Emmy Award winner Michael Swanson is a film and theatre producer. He is also a visionary entrepreneur and president and CEO of the Los Angeles based entertainment company, Faith Filmworks.
Throughout his distinguished career in entertainment, Michael has produced films to critical and audience acclaim including All About You starring Renée Elise Goldsberry, Terron Brooks and Debbie Allen; All About Us starring Boris Kodjoe, Ryan Michelle Bathé and Ruby Dee; For the Love of Ruth starring Denise Boutte and Loretta Devine; To Hell and Back starring Ernie Hudson and Vanessa Bell Calloway; The Wayman Tisdale Story starring Wayman Tisdale and Michael Jordan and Fannie starring Aunjanue Ellis.
On Broadway, Michael is involved with the Tony Award winning hit musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, the upcoming Hippest Trip – The Soul Train Musical and the first Broadway revival of Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking choreopoem, for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. This celebrated work garnered 7 Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival of a Play. Michael is currently developing and producing the Broadway and West End bound musical, I’ll Be There, about Motown’s Four Tops.
After attending Princeton Theological Seminary, Michael joined NBC’s “Must See TV” national primetime sales team in New York City that sold commercial space for top-rated NBC shows including Seinfeld, ER, Friends, Frasier and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This sales team became the first in broadcast television to book over $2.2 billion in upfront advertising revenue.
Earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Film, Television and Theatre from the University of Notre Dame; Michael was chosen by the Notre Dame Alumni Association as The Rev. Arthur S. Harvey Award recipient, acknowledging his achievements in the arts.
Michael serves on the board of directors for Wedgwood Circle, Notre Dame’s Performing Arts Advisory Council, Success Through Education Program, FEAST and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. A South Side of Chicago native, Michael resides in Los Angeles with his wife of 29 years, filmmaker and screenwriter Christine Swanson, and their four children.
Yvette Nicole BrownEmmy-nominated actress, writer, producer and host
Yvette Nicole Brown is an Emmy-nominated actress, writer, producer and host best known for her roles on the television shows: “Community”, “The Mayor”, “Drake and Josh”, “The Odd Couple”, “Big Shot” and “Act Your Age” and films including “Dreamgirls” “Tropic Thunder”, “Avengers: Endgame” and Disney’s “Disenchanted.” She is also a 2020 NAACP Image Award Nominated writer for “Always A Bridesmaid” — the Romantic Comedy she penned and Executive Produced that is streaming on Netflix and BET+. Yvette sits on the National Boards of Donors Choose (where she is Vice Chair), EMILY’s List and MPTF Next Gen and is also a caregiver and advocate.