Inclusivity in Entertainment: Uplifting Black Voices
In Conversation on the LLX Studio Stage
Saturday, January 28
2:00pm - 3:15pm
What do an actor, a celebrity photographer, an assistant district attorney and juvenile prosecutor, and a filmmaker have in common? On the surface, they are all Black creatives with forthcoming books from Sourcebooks. But in diving deeper, they are all intimately familiar with Black representation and the lack thereof in the entertainment industry as a whole and the damage that can do to people in the Black community. And most importantly, they have all chosen to be the change they wish to see by telling stories that have been historically excluded. In this hour-long in conversation panel, these five trailblazing professionals will present their upcoming titles and will then discuss the creation of Black-centered content, the increasing availability of diverse stories, and what representation of identities means across genres in book publishing.
Moderated by pop culture expert and author Caseen Gaines, "When Broadway Was Black," who holds an MA from Rutgers University, focusing on racial representations in popular culture.
Featuring panelists: Carell Augustus, Eriq LaSalle, Jorge Redmond, and Ali Biko Sulaiman Kamanda
Photo (left to right):
Carell Augustus, Caseen Gaines, Eriq LaSalle
Jorge Redmond, Ali Biko Sulaiman Kamanda
Caseen Gaines, Moderator
Caseen Gaines is an author, director, educator, and popular culture historian. He holds an MA from Rutgers University in American Studies, focusing on racial representations in popular culture. He has written for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and more. He is the author of "When Broadway Was Black: The Triumphant Story of the All-Black Musical That Changed the World," (available February 2023), the story about how an all-Black Broadway cast and crew changed musical theatre―and the world―forever.
Carell Augustus is a Los Angeles-based photographer whose career has taken him around the world to shoot some of the biggest stars on the planet. After a tour of duty in Germany as a U.S. Army soldier, he set his sights on Santa Barbara, CA to attend the world-famous Brooks Institute of Photography. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Imaging and Advertising, he made his way to Los Angeles where he worked at premier studios Smashbox and Quixote. His celebrity clients have included Viola Davis, Beverly Johnson, Mariah Carey, Elizabeth Banks, Pierce Bronson, Meghan Markle, Serena Williams, Snoop Dogg, and more. Augustus is the author of "Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments," available now, a groundbreaking reimagining of Hollywood's most beloved films.
Ali Biko Sulaiman Kamanda
Ali Biko Sulaiman Kamanda is an award-winning filmmaker and social entrepreneur from Sierra Leone, West Africa. He runs BIKO Studios, a cross-cultural film production company, and is the President of Salone Rising, a not-for-profit organization that provides micro-financing and mentoring resources to small business owners in rural Sierra Leone. Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond are first-time authors who channeled their feelings over the murder of George Floyd into something positive for the world in their picture book, "Black Boy, Black Boy," available now, that not only disrupts the harmful narrative of absentee Black fathers but also profiles Black male role models. A similar-in-concept "Black Girl, Black Girl" picture book will be coming soon.
Eriq LaSalle is an actor, director, producer, and author―best known to worldwide television audiences for his portrayal of the commanding Dr. Peter Benton in the critically-acclaimed medical drama, E.R. LaSalle attended Juilliard School of Drama and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree through the Graduate Acting Program. Among other honors, he has been nominated for a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy and has won a SAG Award and NAACP Award. LaSalle is the author of "Laws of Depravity," available now, the first book in a heart-pounding crime thriller series.
Jorge Redmond currently works in the Buncombe County District Attorney's office as an Assistant District Attorney and as an adjunct professor in South College's Legal Department. He co-authored "Black Boy, Black Boy," available now, with his college friend, Ali Biko Sulaiman Kamanda, an award-winning filmmaker and social entrepreneur. Their debut book tells today's black boys, "You have the courage, you are the light. It’s a new day! Be inspired and motivated by drawing on the history of the role models that came before you." A similar-in-concept "Black Girl, Black Girl" picture book will be coming soon.