By Ricky Richardson, Contributing Writer

        (Los Angeles CA) – An enthusiastic crowd spent a recent Saturday, June 4, to attend the annual Arts, Culture & Entertainment Festival (ACE), hosted by the NAACP to celebrate the power and impact of the arts from an African American perspective.

        The festival featured inter-active, engaging conversations with some of the most influential industry professionals and companies covering topics in television, film, streaming and music highlighting pathways to equity and inclusion in entertainment.

        The festival got underway with a Black Hollywood Close-Door Conversation with NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson as he discussed the most pressing issues facing Black America and the role of entertainment media can play in addressing them. The conversation, moderated by comedian Amanda Seales, took place in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, California.

        The Pathways to Inclusion Career and Info Fair consisted of several organizations and individuals that facilitate programs and resources for career development by providing resources on how their organizations are contributing to breaking the barriers to entry into the entertainment industry.

Rashidi Jones and Tyler Watson (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        Attendees were greeted by attentive, engaging and knowledgeable staff at the various booths. Michael Knapp-Vote Arts and Music, Imara Jones for Streetlights P. A.’s, Rashidi Jones and Tyler Watson- Tech Leimert, Raven Stewart, Christine Morrison and Amber Clemons-Warner Bros Discovery, Ula Mayres-Directors Guild Producer Training Plan/Assistant Directors Training Program, Mahab Abou-Elalla, Carmey Taborn and Rikarlo Hamp-Handy Foundation. Do you know someone who would benefit from the above-mentioned information, feel free to reach out to the various organizations for more information?

Mahab Abou-Elalla, Carmey Taborn and Rikarlo Hamp (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        The live option at The Ray Dolby Ballroom consisted of masterclasses and other industry discussions with directors, writers and producers. For the first time, they will deep dive into the importance of content creations as the industry continues to evolve and explore other avenues to success.

        Three wonderful presentations were held on Saturday, June 4 at The Ray Dolby Ballroom.

        A Masterclass: How to Produce in Television and Film, Moderator: Salena Rochester, Panelist D’Angela Proctor. This panel explored strategies a producer can employ to achieve success.

        A Masterclass: The Art of Storytelling and Story Selling- Moderator: JaSheika and JaNeika James, Panelist Jamila Hunter. The process of selling stories in both artistic and strategic and can be both exhilarating and demoralizing.

        A Masterclass: The Vision of a Director- Moderator: Abdul Malik Abbott, Panelist Anya Adams. In the world of filmmaking the ultimate creative authority goes to the director, what creative chops are necessary to imagine and deliver a noteworthy production was shared with the audience.

Josh Buzzy Baker and Khleo Thomas (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        The Importance of Content Creation- Moderator: Josh Buzzy Baker and Panelist Khleo Thomas delved into the creator’s journey to virility and the importance of creators of color.

        You Look Familiar: An Inside Look at the Journey of a Working Actor- Moderator, Abdul Malik Abbott, Panelists, Elvis Nolasco, Sherri Saum and Vanessa Estelle Williams. The panelist shared the key for working actors is to be inventive and adaptable.

        The virtual experience featured sessions to facilitate career development through masterclasses, resources, discussion, and exposure to resources allowing participants to gain insight from industry professionals from around the country.

        Friday’s segment was virtual. The topics featured Editing at your Fingertips: Premiere Pro for social media; The Importance of Black Television Programming; The right Read- Clips and Conversation; Behind the Scenes-Producer’s Editions: A Look at Film Independent’s Artists Development Program; The Importance of International Filmmaking; and Careers in Animation- the Best Kept Secret.

        An industry mixer immediately followed the activities on Saturday. Attendees were able to network with other current and aspiring industry members.

        Feel free to share this information with your network who are looking for a career in the entertainment industry or looking to explore or expand their options inside the industry.