November 05, 2020

By Lapacazo Sandoval

Contributing Writer


The King — Charles King, MACRO CEO/Founder—does not do things in half measure. He’s a rebel with a cause. Committed to the larger cause. He is gifted, fearless, and is well on his way to becoming a legend not only in entertainment but in the movement at large.

MACRO understands the value of inclusion and they don’t use the word “diversity” as a clever tag like so many companies do in Hollywood. In their second annual MACRO X HBCU Entertainment Summit (free) the company has again reached to help a new generation understand how to make their dreams of an entertainment career a reality.

MACRO X HBCU Entertain­ment Summit is powered by Amazon Studios and is supported by SheaMoisture. It’s fair to say that Amazon Studios, SheaMoisture, and MACRO share a commitment to the culture and that they champion Black businesses and that they stand firm on the issue of justice. Each thirty-minute module was designed to allow students to learn from conversations and inspirational messages from notable talent and changemakers in the entertainment business

EP. 1 — Chat with Chris Paul and Terrence J. and presented by SheaMoisture.

NBA star point guard Chris Paul has emerged as one of our country’s preeminent voices in the fight for social justice. He sits with Terrence J for an intimate conversation about life inside and outside the bubble, the necessity of our voice and action on the streets and at the polls, and the lasting legacy of Kobe.

EP. 2 — PANEL: When & Where I Enter: Black Women at the Seat of Power.


Presented by Amazon Studios. On the panel Niija Kuykendall is the Senior Vice President, Production at Warner Bros. Pictures; Karen Toliver, Executive Vice President Sony Pictures Animation; Latasha Gillespie, Executive Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Amazon Studios; and Inga Dyer. Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Business & Legal Affairs at MACRO.

On the table, how to maneuver a mostly white, male world of Hollywood.She’s not bossy, she’s the boss. Hear from four incredible Black women on how they lead in power and how their very presence is changing the Hollywood game.

EP. 3 — PANEL: A MACRO Conversation: Kenya Barris & Charles D. King. Sponsored by MACRO.

Prolific writer/creator/producer Kenya Barris proves why he’s a treasure for the culture when he sits down with MACRO CEO/Founder, Charles D. King. The two discuss prolific career, the importance of his HBCU experience, his approach to authentic storytelling, and what’s inspiring him now.

EP. 4—PANEL: Creators & Manifesters. Sponsored by MACRO.

Participating in the panel Stacey Walker-King; Chief Brand Officer, MACRO; Quinn Wilson, Creative Director, Lizzo; Mark Anthony Green, Special Projects Editor, GQ; and Jasmyn Lawson, Editorial Manager Strong Black Lead, Netflix.

Curious how your particular creative gifts translate to a career in the industry? This panel is for you. Our panelists talk about their dream jobs and give you the truths to carve out your lane.

EP. 5 — PANEL: Doing The Work: Bison in TV & Film. Sponsored by MACRO.

The Howard University Entertainment Collective launches with a virtual panel discussion designed to inspire, engage, and support current and former students of the celebrated HBCU. Featuring notable alumni working and thriving in the TV and film industry.

EP. 6 — PANEL: The Playbook, How to Break into the Industry. Sponsored by MACRO.

Participating in the panel Brandon Lawrence, agent, CAA; Ahmadou Seck, Director of Development MACRO Television.

Real answers to a real question: How do I get my foot in the door? This panel is a free game, giving you the strategies, skills, and mindset you need to finally make that leap from where you’re at to where you want to be.

EP. 7 — PANEL: The Come Up. Sponsored by MACRO.

Some of HBCU graduates share their experience and what they have learned working in production companies.

Participating in the panel Jordan Rogers, Coordinator, Marvel; Kiana Chambers, coordinator Wonderland Arts; Maura Chanz, director of creative media, 7th Sun Productions; and Justin Browing, agent trainee, CAA.

Here’s some sage wisdom that Kenya Barris - writer, actor, director, and producer has shared in the past that might give you some insight on why he’s so successful. Kenya is the genius behind the award-winning TV show, Black-ish, hit movie “Girls Trip” and Netflix series “#BlackAF.” 

On What Fueled His Creativity Growing Up:

KENYA BARRIS: When you’re in restrictive environments it makes you explode. I snuck and watched TV; Saturday Night Live raised me.

On His Early Days Writing:

KB:  I think the biggest thing is the outline. You just want to write when you’re a writer. I think that’s the worst way. What will take you from novice to pro is knowing that all of your work is pre-work.

Make a beat sheet and expand that to an outline. The outlines that I do can be 80 pages. The outlines are so detailed that if I gave it to you, and pretty much get a decent draft close to my voice.

Vulnerability in Writing:

KB:  I’m a huge stand-up fan, huge Richard Pryor fan. I feel like the art we relate to the most is self-deprecating.  When you can examine your world from a self-deprecating place, it makes people more comfortable.  Talking about my own divorce and problems with my kids...talking about it from a [vulnerable place] gives people more access to [relate to] your story.”

On the Creative Process:

KB:  I feel like one of the things I did when I did Black-ish...I wanted to make a black family that was absolutely a black family...and what it was like to reach a commodious of success within a world that didn’t look like you.

On Grit & Ambition:

KB: I think anybody who comes from a situation where you want something, and you have the ambition...there’s something that it feeds into that separates you. I love ambitious people.

When you give someone an opportunity and they knock it out the park and hustle. In an interview, they may be a 7 in terms of talent, but they’ll give you a 10…[because they have that grid & ambition].

On Expanding What We Do (Re: Black Creators):

KB: We [usually] get a slave story, I’m single and want a man, the gangster story, and a historic biopic. I want to expand [our stories].  What we got to do with Black-ish was satire and you don’t see a lot of Black satire on TV.  I want to make sure we don’t keep showing up monolithically.  I’m starting to see Black women show up in an impactful way that we haven’t seen before, from Ava DuVernay to Lena Issa Rae.

This story has been edited for clarity and length and contains, in part, previous interviews with Kenya Barris. Some of Mr. Barris’ quotes came from his talk on “Smarter Social Storytelling” at Adobe MAX Creativity Conference. To view the virtual session at

Category: Arts & Culture