This past week the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation launched Careers in Entertainment (CIE) Tour, in support of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The event was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center and had 500 high school and college students in attendance for a jam-packed day of education, and empowerment. The goal is to give inner-city youth more knowledge and skills to work within the entertainment industry regardless of challenges and opportunity gaps.
The day kicked off with opening remarks from Jada Pinkett-Smith welcoming the students and faculty members to the first stop on the tour and introducing what’s to come from CIE. U.S government officials were present as they helped launch opening day and shared their excitement for the initiative.
The first panel moderated by actor, author, and activist Hill Harper, highlighted the careers of creators and crafters within the industry. It compiled a group of experts that featured talent like actress Regina Hall, singer Leona Lewis, animator Shawn Martinbrougg from Marvel Entertainment & DC Comics, talent agent Kevin Lin, and many more gifted individuals who not only work on screen but behind the scenes.
The second hour-long panel spoke on what comes after a production has been completed. Hill Harper spoke with Roc Nation President, Chaka Pilgrim, Global Head of Content Partnerships at Spotify, Tom Calderone, SVP Programming Talent Development & Inclusion at NBC Universal, Karen Horne, and other very important individuals who help promote the content we all consume on a regular basis.
Once the panels concluded, the students headed to the exhibitor’s section where they had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with some of the best in the game. The room was divided into sections based off of the multiple career avenues that make up the industry. There were booths set up for production which included hair, make-up, photography and wardrobe, animation, marketing & PR, post-production, distribution, representation, talent, and broadcast journalism. Each booth had executives from some of the most prestigious companies like Spoitfy, Roc Nation, Essence, Nickelodeon, Writer’s Guild of America, Starz, and many more.
Check out the photos from the event below.