BWIM: Panel & Awards Ceremony Recap



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On March 29th, 2014 Black Women In Media held its inaugural Panel & Awards Ceremony at Le Skyroom located in the French Alliance Institute Francaise in NYC. Black Women In Media, an organization catered to creating a platform in celebrating Black women in all facets of the media realm, boldly and successfully created a thought-provoking, eye-opening, and enlightening experience this past Saturday.

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The event began with a networking portion sponsored by Birthday Cake Wines, Sweets by Alize, & Trust In Us Catering.The who’s who of black women in media joined BWIM and engaged in building beneficial and sustaining relationships. As guests enjoyed neo soul classics, built beneficial relationships, as our caterers passed Hors D’ouevres and wine.


Our Mistresses of Ceremony, Africa Miranda of Bravo’s The New Atlanta, and host of Uptown Magazine’s Uptown Unplugged: Uptown Studios, Ashlei Stevens began the event in high spirits by greeting guests and welcoming them to their inaugural panel and awards ceremony created by BWIM. Shortly after, they introduced the CEO & Founder Judith Jacques. A young woman who has many other powerful entities under her brand such as Black Culinary Expo, Black Celebration Awards, and BLACK STREET to name a few. Judith quickly greeted her guests and gave a short overview as to why she decided to create Black Women In Media among her other brands, stating,





“I would hear others murmur about the imperfections within our community while idly watching.  Although I never stated those exact words, but the thoughts did come across my mind. I had to ask myself– What am I doing to change my community for the better?”

Hence, the creation of the powerful organization which is receiving much and deserved attention today, BWIM.


Following her greetings, the event delved right into the first panel, Mass Communications which entailed moderator Africa Miranda, MSNBC Political Commentator Esther Armah, NULYP President Brandi Richard, Fixer & Co-Founder of 135th Street Agency Shante Bacon, and Ashlei Stevens. The discussion for the panel included perfecting ones craft, building your network and how Shante Bacon so eloquently put it,


“Your contacts can turn into currency”.DSC_4324


The next panel presented was the Beauty/Health & Wellness Panel. The panelist included moderator Africa Miranda, OWN’s Love In the City Co-Star Bershan Shaw, Emmy Award Winning Makeup Artist Julia Jovone, Creator of the First Full Figured Fitness Phenomenon Anowa Adjah, Health & Sustainable Living Expert Yoli Ouiya, and Stylist & Style Blogger Joy Adaeze. Each woman provided healthy and proper alternatives to attaining the best you possible while living a healthier lifestyle.

In between panels, BWIM awarded each participating panelist including the mistresses of ceremony. Each received a note worthy introduction and were presented with an engraved crystal award.


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The event went into an intermission sponsored by MYX Moscato, entitled: MYX & Mingle. “VIP” ticket holders had the opportunity to mingle and converse with honorees, panelists and other phenomenal and elite women who joined BWIM on Saturday. During the intermission, guests enjoyed once again Hors D’ouevres prepared by Trust In Us Catering, chocolate covered strawberries by Sweets by Alize, and drinks by Myx Moscato, and Birthday Cake Wines.

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During the MYX & Mingle portion, the beautiful and talented ESNAVI gave a breathtaking and phenomenal performance for our guests. Right after the performance, the Mistresses of Ceremony encourages all guests to find their seats as the panels continue.

The next panel to go up was the Pioneer Panel with moderator Africa Miranda, MSNBC commentator Esther Armah, legendary Journalist Flo Anthony, New York 1 News Anchor Cheryl Wills, & OWN’s Love In the City Co-Star Bershan Shaw held a dynamic discussion at staying relevant, not overlooking up and coming entrepreneurs, and the meaning and sacrifice of being one. Cheryl Wills stated,





“Never overlook up and coming entrepreneurs” and “The same bridge that brought you up can bring you down.”


Flo Anthony also stated, “Entrepreneur= Entre-Poor-Neur” the real meaning to entrepreneurship; its struggle to attain a desired level of success.


Finally, the last panel TV & Lifestyle with moderator Ashlei Stevens, Bravo’s Blood Sweat & Heels Geneva S. Thomas, CBS Survivor Runner Up Sabrina Thompson, Bravo’s The New Atlanta Africa Miranda, 7x’s Essence Magazine Bestseller Tiphani Montgomery, and Lifestyle Expert Neffi Walker. This panel contained a heated debate as to whether women who are public figures should represent all Black women. Guests, and panelists/honorees, all participated in the topic of Black women, their responsibility to represent Black women as a whole, and their current lifestyle.

Throughout the entirety of the event, audience members as well as viewers from home viewing via Live-Stream; powered by WorldCast Inc., asked the panelist and honorees a series of questions. In return, each panelist provided a wealth of information in response to each question.

To conclude, Founder, Judith Jacques gave her final remarks, thanked everyone who participated and encouraged them to look forward to future events. BWIM accomplished putting together a dynamic and rewarding experience for their guests and all of its participants. Everyone walked away feeling encouraged, enlightened, and eager to venture off to their new projects. It is safe to say that Black Women In Media is rapidly becoming the source of new inspiration to all Black women!

Celebrity Painter & 3D Artist S. Whittaker debuted some of her pieces including pieces from her new line: DSC_3785WOMAN at the Black Women In Media panel & Awards Ceremony.  The pieces were absolutely breathtaking. Other partners and sponsors included NABJ, NULYP, Dynamic Endeavors, Wild Spirit Hair Products, & Doris New York Hair Products.


Feature: Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson



Tennis, which first came to the United States in the late 19th century, by the middle of the 20th century had become part of a culture of health and fitness. Public programs brought tennis to children in poor neighborhoods, though those children couldn’t dream of playing in the elite tennis clubs.

One young girl named Althea Gibson lived in Harlem in the 1930s and 1940s. Her family was on welfare. She was a client of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She had trouble in school and was often truant. She ran away from home frequently. .

She also played paddle tennis in public recreation programs. Her talent and interest in the game led her to win tournaments sponsored by the Police Athletic Leagues and the Parks Department. Musician Buddy Walker noticed her playing table tennis, and thought she might do well in tennis. He brought her to the Harlem River Tennis Courts, where she learned the game and began to excel.

The young Althea Gibson became a member of the Harlem Cosmopolitan Tennis Club, a club for African American players, through donations raised for her membership and lessons. By 1942 Gibson had won the girls’ singles event at the American Tennis Association’s New York State Tournament. (The American Tennis Association – ATA – was an all-black organization, providing tournament opportunities not otherwise available to African American tennis players.) In 1944 and 1945 she again won ATA tournaments.

Then Gibson was offered an opportunity to develop her talents more fully: a wealthy South Carolina businessman opened his home to her and supported her in attending an industrial high school, while studying tennis privately. From 1950, she furthered her education, attending Florida A&M University, where she graduated in 1953. Then, in 1953, she became an athletic instructor at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Gibson won the ATA women’s singles tournament ten years in a row, 1947 through 1956. But tennis tournaments outside the ATA remained closed to her, until 1950. In that year white tennis player Alice Marble wrote an article in American Lawn Tennis magazine, noting that this excellent player was not able to participate in the better-known championships, for no reason other than “bigotry.”

And so later that year, Althea Gibson entered the Forest Hills, New York, national grass court championship, the first African American player of either sex to be allowed to enter.

Gibson then became the first African American invited to enter the all-England tournament at Wimbledon, playing there in 1951. She entered other tournaments, though at first winning only minor titles outside the ATA. In 1956, she won the French Open. In the same year, she toured worldwide as a member of a national tennis team supported by the U.S. State Department.

She began winning more tournaments, including at the Wimbledon women’s doubles. In 1957 she won the women’s singles and doubles at Wimbledon. In celebration of this American win — and her achievement as an African American — New York City greeted her with a ticker tape parade. Gibson followed up with a win at Forest Hills in the women’s singles tournament.

In 1958 she again won both Wimbledon titles and repeated the Forest Hills women’s singles win. Her autobiography, I Always Wanted to Be Somebody, came out in 1958. In 1959 she turned pro, winning the women’s professional singles title in 1960. She also began playing professional women’s golf and she appeared in several films.

Althea Gibson served from 1973 on in various national and New Jersey positions in tennis and recreation. Among her honors:

  • 1971 – National Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame
  • 1971 – International Tennis Hall of Fame
  • 1974 – Black Athletes Hall of Fame
  • 1983 – South Carolina Hall of Fame
  • 1984 – Florida Sports Hall of Fame

In the mid 1990s, Althea Gibson suffered from serious health problems including a stroke, and also struggled financially though many efforts at fund-raising helped ease that burden. She died on Sunday, September 28, 2003, but not before she knew of the tennis victories of Serena and Venus Williams.

Other African American tennis players like Arthur Ashe and the Williams sisters followed Gibson, though not quickly. Althea Gibson’s achievement was unique, as the first African American of either sex to break the color bar in national and international tournament tennis at a time when prejudice and racism were far more pervasive in society and sports.




Feature: Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems


Carrie Mae Weems was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1953. Weems earned a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (1981), and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego (1984), continuing her studies in the Graduate Program in Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley (1984–87). With the pitch and timbre of an accomplished storyteller, Weems uses colloquial forms—jokes, songs, rebukes—in photographic series that scrutinize subjectivity and expose pernicious stereotypes. Weems’s vibrant explorations of photography, video, and verse breathe new life into traditional narrative forms: social documentary, tableaux, self-portrait, and oral history. Eliciting epic contexts from individually framed moments, Weems debunks racist and sexist labels, examines the relationship between power and aesthetics, and uses personal biography to articulate broader truths. Whether adapting or appropriating archival images, restaging famous news photographs, or creating altogether new scenes, she traces an indirect history of the depiction of African Americans of more than a century. She has received honorary degrees from Colgate University (2007) and California College of the Arts (2001). Awards include the MacArthur Fellowship (2013); Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2007); Skowhegan Medal for Photography (2007); Rome Prize Fellowship (2006); and the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography (2002); among others. Weems’s work has appeared in major exhibitions at Savannah College of Art and Design (2008); W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University (2007); Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown (2000); and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1998); among others. Carrie Mae Weems lives and works in Syracuse, New York.





Feature: Maya Wiley

Maya Wiley Activists

Maya Wiley is the founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion, a national public policy strategy organization that works to unite public policy research and grassroots advocacy to transform structural racial inequity into structural fairness and inclusion.

A civil rights attorney and policy advocate, Ms. Wiley graduated from Columbia University School of Law in 1989. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College in 1986. She has litigated, lobbied the US Congress and developed programs to transform structural racism in the US and in South Africa.

Prior to founding the Center for Social Inclusion, Ms. Wiley was a senior advisor on race and poverty to the Director of U.S. Programs of the Open Society Institute, and helped develop and implement the Open Society Foundation — South Africa’s Criminal Justice Initiative. She has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union National Legal Department, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. in the Poverty and Justice Program and the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. She currently serves on the Tides Network Board and has previously served on the Boards of the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota School of Law, Human Rights Watch and the Council on Foreign Relations.

She was a contributing author to the National Urban League’s 2006 State of Black America, and authored a chapter on Race, Equity and Land Use Planning in Columbia, South Carolina recently published in Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice and Regional Equity, R. Bullard, ed. The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA (2007).

She was named a NY Moves magazine 2009 Power Woman. In 2011 Wiley was named as one of “20 Leading Black Women Social Activists Advocating Change” by TheRoot.com.





Feature: Sanura Weathers of MyLifeRunsOnFood

Sanura Weathers Blogger

Our lives run on food. Most of us are too busy to plan a menu and to cook a dish. Ironically, we discuss food-related topics such as the best restaurants, tasty recipes, fascinating ingredients and diets that supposedly work. Depending on such factors of how food is sourced or processed, most diets and ingredients are healthy. We each have a unique diet to get the nutrients our body needs to survive. Understanding our needs, we’re constantly asking questions about our food and changing our diets accordingly. In the last few years, salt, butter, beef, pork, diary, nuts and wheat have had their health benefits questioned. For most people, nothing is wrong with these ingredients, unless their doctor specifically ran a test to declare an allergy­­. The real question to ask are where it’s sourced, how it’s produced and how it would benefit a personal diet. Planning a menu will answer these questions pertinent to our health.

What’s truly healthy? It’s a simple answer: Cooking a meal at home. It doesn’t matter if it takes a short 30 minutes to a few days to prepare a recipe. Does the thought of spending more than one hour of cooking and eating seem impossible? We’ve been conditioned to think about cooking as a luxury of time. It’s a necessity to our physical and mental health, but good food can fit into a hectic schedule. Sitting down for a meal is sometimes the only time a household verbally communicates with each other. A faint sniff of a particular spice revives nostalgic memories. And, cooking allows us to choose the beneficial ingredients applicable to our health.

We thought the future of health would be like the 1960’s version of the space-age cartoon, The Jetson’s. Pop a pill to replace a meal. Who needs food, when we should be working? By the way, did you know George Jetson’s grueling work schedule was only 9 hours a week? Realistically, today most people are working 40 plus hours a week, in addition to organizing households. Our lives lack food of substance and taste. Just when prepared food was ushered in our lives as the modern convenience, we’re learning it’s not always healthy. Some of us lost the ability to cook; fewer of us know how to plan a menu. Creating a recipe is mostly for short term planning. Maybe, leftovers are anticipated for the next day. Menus are effective for long-term planning, staying within a budget and saving time. We have to plan food back into our lives. Otherwise, we will be at the mercy of bland microwavable pre-cooked meals, fattening fast food and oily take-outs.

I don’t consider myself a food expert, nor have I been to cooking school. My passion drives my evolving knowledge about food. I love reading food-related articles and cookbooks; listening to personal stories; and watching television shows. Learning about international cuisines inspires delicious vegetable dishes. My livelihood depends on planning an interesting menu for an upcoming week. It’s how I live to be healthy.

I grew up in a household, in which both parents worked long hours. It was my dad, who planned the menu and cooked the food. Teachers would write my mother, thanking her for the “…lovely, delicious spice pound cake.” My father would correctly respond in gratitude. My dad is my teacher, the master chef. I’m a picky eater because of my father. This is a guy who makes stuffing from scratch, including baking the bread and cornbread days before it’s stuffed into the bird. I was once offered a fast-food made cinnamon bun and politely refused without expressing reason. My boyfriend was confused, “How could anyone turn down a cinnamon bun… there’s no way your father could make a better cinnamon bun…Millions of people love this… they have the sales to prove how delicious it is, and you don’t like it?” No, I don’t like it. Made at home, it’s a subtly brown sugar sweet, yeasty bread with cinnamon. And, Dad knows to add cranberries and big chunks of pecans to my cinnamon roll. Excuse my gourmet attitude; it’s being fined tuned. My lack of time has humbled me to purchase take-out meals, too. I use my creative skills to shorten prepping and cooking time in recipes. When my father emails a recipe, I reply with a short-cut version. He’s a retired military officer who starts off recipes with making a rich chicken stock. It’s no argument; homemade chicken stock is far superior to store-brought versions. However, who has time for that type of extensive cooking? I’m lucky to know what homemade food taste like because of my father’s love.

My Life Runs on Food is a blog demonstrating how to plan a well-balanced meal back into our lives. It’ll offer tips on how to “brown bag” yesterday’s dinner for lunch. The blog will suggest which seasonal produce to use in recipes. It will encourage buying food from local retailers, such as farmer’s markets. Read how to adapt life events into a weekly menu, and how to quickly update a menu in the middle of the week because of a sudden change of plans. Optimistically, I hope My Life Runs on Food will inspire a passion into creating a weekly menu catering to a well-balanced household.



Feature: Crystal Haynes

Crystal Haynes Reporter Boston

Crystal Haynes joined FOX25 News as a general assignment reporter in July 2011. She came to FOX25 from WTNH –TV in New Haven, CT where she was a reporter. During her four years there she covered an incredible range of stories.

She was part of the continuing coverage of the 2007 killings of a Cheshire woman and her two daughters during a home invasion. She helped follow the crime’s only survivor, Dr. William Petit and his commitment to keep his family’s legacy alive throughout the trial of his family’s killers.

From 2004 – 2007 Crystal was a reporter at WGGB – TV in Springfield, MA. She started her broadcast career in the newsroom as an assignment editor and producer giving her a solid foundation for a reporting career.

Crystal has earned several awards for her reporting and believes one the best things about being a reporter is the adventure. She enjoys the chance to meet someone new each day and tell their story or dig deeper on an issue facing a community.

Crystal grew up in Springfield, MA and is a graduate of Emerson College where she majored in Broadcast Journalism and minored in History and Political Communication.