As more and more Black faces are finally making their way both in front of and behind the camera, the Paley Center for Media is preparing to honor the many Black creatives who have had a major influence on culture and social change through their achievements in media.
The television industry is one that has become infamous for its lack of diversity and high barriers to entry for Black talent. For those who have managed to climb over the industry’s seemingly unscalable walls, however, many have grown to be true trailblazers in an industry that has an incredible amount of influence on public perception and popular culture.
Such influencers, trailblazers and industry disruptors will be the center of attention at a special black tie tribute event on May 13 in New York City.
“Television, more than any other media, has paved the way for social change, and this momentous African-American tribute is a great expression of the Paley Center’s mission to highlight the critical role of media within our society,” said Mareen J. Reidy, president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media, in a press release.
Guests of the event will include stars like Oprah Winfrey, Mara Brock Akil, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Lee Daniels and Phylicia Rashad.
Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., a renowned Harvard scholar, social critic and filmmaker, has been tapped as the Paley Center tribute’s special adviser.
“I am honored to participate in The Paley Center for Media’s remarkable tribute to African-American achievements in television to showcase the rich diversity of expression and creativity over seventy years,” Gates said in the press release. “The evening will be historic in spotlighting television’s important cultural impact.”
The event will highlight such historic moments in media like the 35th anniversary of BET.
From media moguls to ground-breaking television programs and networks, the Paley Center is hoping its tribute will truly highlight the significant influence that Black people have had on the media industry.
“The renowned Paley Archive will come to life during our salute with an expanded African-American media collection of iconic trailblazers and critically acclaimed programs of historical importance spanning seven decades,” Reidy added.