New York Film Academy in Los Angeles to Host Panel on Black Hollywood

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New York Film Academy Los Angeles Filmmaking Instructor, Cheryl Bedford will host a panel of six on April 3rd, 7pm, to discuss the current state of Black Hollywood.

Black Hollywood Panel at NYFA Los Angeles
“In a perfect world there is only one Hollywood, where everyone enjoys the same equal standing. We have to strive for perfection." - Cheryl Bedford

The New York Film Academy in Los Angeles is offering an open invitation to a unique and provocative panel discussing the current state of Black Hollywood.

Moderated by producer and NYFA filmmaking instructor Cheryl Bedford, the panel includes six additional African-American members of Hollywood who represent a multitude of professions in the industry. Over the course of the 90-minute event, panelists will address the past, present, and future of African Americans in Hollywood and assess how the state of the industry has both improved while de-mystifying problematic stereotypes about the global profitability of black film and how black characters and stories are represented on screen.

"We wanted to do the diversity panel of Black Hollywood to discuss openly what we discuss amongst ourselves. It is time to start open conversations and dialogue with Hollywood and to let them know that we collectively can debunk all the myths that exist,” says moderator Cheryl Bedford. “In a perfect world there is only one Hollywood, where everyone enjoys the same equal standing. We have to strive for perfection."

The panel consists of seven Hollywood veterans who remain highly active and are influential directors, producers, actors, and publicists.

  •     Moderator Cheryl Bedford is a venerable producer of such films as Traci Townsend and Dark Girls, for which she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
  •     Ben Watkins was the executive producer of the hit USA TV show Burn Notice and is in pre-production on the TV movie Hand of God.
  •     Wyllisa Bennett is an entertainment publicist, having served as a media consultant and publicist of record for the Pan African Film Festival for the past five years. She has worked with many personalities, including award-winning actresses Victoria Rowell (The Young and the Restless) and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha, Designing Women, and Instant Mom) and reality star NeNe Leakes (The Real Housewives of Atlanta).
  •     D. Channsin Berry is the director of acclaimed documentary Dark Girls and is currently working on two new documentaries that explore the mindset of modern African Americans.
  •     Caryn Ward Ross is an actress who recently starred on BET’s The Game and will appear in two feature films this year, The Affair and Patterns of Attraction.
  •     With over 200 music videos directed, Jeff Byrd has also directed such features as A Beautiful Soul and King’s Ransom and is currently in pre-production on a modern re-telling of Bad News Bears.
  •     Director Craig Ross, Jr. is a winner of the American Black Film Festival award for Best Film for Blue Hill Avenue and is in post-production on The Affair, the first film shot entirely on an iPhone by a Hollywood director.

Since its inception in 1992, the New York Film Academy has grown into an international film and performing arts school with a focus on learning by doing, providing its students with hands-on instruction. Students can choose to enroll in one of the Academy’s MFA, MA, BFA, BA, and AFA degree programs and short term workshops in filmmaking, acting for film, photography, producing, 3D animation, cinematography, screenwriting, documentary filmmaking, game design, musical theatre, broadcast journalism, dance, music video, and digital editing. By holding this panel, NYFA hopes to initiate a discussion amongst students and the public about the role of African Americans in Hollywood and what can be done to increase equality in the entertainment industry.

The Black Hollywood panel is open to students and public, but people must RSVP laevents(at) to attend.

If you are a member of the media interested in covering the event, please RSVP Nicholas Zurko at nicholas.z(at)

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