June 09, 2022

By ZonD’Amour

Contributing Writer


In a television landscape where the predominance of Black women in ensemble casts are on reality shows with less than stellar reputations for empowerment and positivity, “Recipe for Change: Amplifying Black Women” is a breath of fresh air.

Executive produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter with their media conglomerate The SpringHill Company, “Recipe for Change” became a Daytime Emmy Award nominated series following, “Recipe for Change: Stop Asian Hate” with the second installment being, “Recipe for Change: Standing Up To Antisemitism.”

“Amplifying Black Women” consisted of three dinners hosted by Mary J. Blige, Saweetie and Tabitha Brown. Partnered with esteemed chefs Kelis and Danielle Saunders, their dinner guests included Chlöe Bailey, Winnie Harlow, Kelly Rowland, Jackie Aina, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Roxane Gay, Sarah Jakes Roberts, Lynn Whitfield, Yaya DaCosta, Loni Love, Renee Montgomery, Danielle Young, Angelica Ross, Hallease and Elaine Welteroth. Amanda Seales also joins the special episode as an on-the-street reporter, speaking with Black women and their allies in Los Angeles.

During an exclusive screening at YouTube Stages, journalist and dinner attendee Danielle Young moderated a panel discussion about the episode with fellow dinner guest actress and comedian, Loni Love, alongside Courtney E. Whitaker, creative executive at The SpringHill Company, DeMira Pierre from YouTube Originals and Hannah Hall from The Loveland Foundation.

When asked about the importance of seeing these renowned actors, activists, artists, athletes and authors have a communion space to celebrate Blackness, Pierre said, “Communion means the experience of gathering in intimate settings for deep conversations that explores spirituality and your mental state. So to gather in communion with Black women is really a gift, it means we’re safe and we’re seen. There’s also a responsibility to contribute. You’re not just there to take, but to give, you’re there to hold space.”

Black women are far from a monolith and Whitaker was tasked with ensuring a diverse range of Black women had a seat at the table. “When we were putting it together, we wanted to make sure we had every background, every shape, size and color. Everyone is so different, we all think and view things differently so we wanted to put women in a room together that quite honestly might never be in a room together,” she said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Pierre shared, “It was important, especially with this being on YouTube that we had a cast of women that would be authentic and had authentic voices because it’s easy to find big names with a large social media following, but it was really about the conversation and the substance that we wanted to get from the conversation so that’s how we looked at it from a casting perspective.”

She went on to say, “When we were curating the tables, it was literally like making a wedding seating chart so that we could get the right mix of energies and personalities.”

As a veteran actress and comedian whose career spans over two decades, Loni Love expressed how important it is to have content like “Amplifying Black Women” as an antidote to consistent trauma that we’re bombarded with on the news and through social media. She candidly shared the difficulty of her role as co-host of the daytime talk show, “The Real.”

“I was a part of a show where it was 60% Black content and out of that 60% Black content, maybe 50%  was Black trauma. Let me tell y'all, that was the hardest eight years of dealing with shootings, police shootings, fighting for hair rights…there was never a moment to celebrate [and] it takes a toll on you.”

Love emphasized that in spite of whatever may be going on in the world at the time, it’s imperative for shows to give their viewers hope.

She went on to suggest that more productions hire mental health coordinators on sets where the subject matter could be distressing.

She also mentioned how important it is for shows to have Black executives like Whitaker and Pierre who could broach topics from an emphatic and culturally sensitive vantage point.


For “Amplifying Black Women,” Whitaker and Pierre were intentional about selecting the questions that the dinner guest would dialogue about. From conversations around colorism, code switching, motherhood and self love, they were able to weave a delicate balance of being lighthearted and humorous while also being relatable and vulnerable.

Pierre revealed, “When we selected the questions, we had a therapist onhand that we consulted to ask, ‘How can we get to this conversation without being offensive?’ or we want to have this tone, how do we get there?”


Whitaker shared that there were at least 100 potential questions that had to be whittled down to the approximately 10 topics discussed across the three dinners.

“We found that we would have a question about motherhood [for example] and we would start talking about family, dating and marriage. We purposely picked questions that would lead us to different topics. As black women, if you put us in a room, we’re going to talk about everything so we picked questions that would transition pretty easily,” she said.

Love had high praise for the way in which the dinner was curated, “It felt celebration. I’m glad you guys structured the questions so that it could be a celebration and not just us whining or complaining. The point was to amplify our voices and I think you ladies did a wonderful job with that.”

Watch “Recipe for Change: Amplifying Black Women” exclusively on Jason Y. Lee’s Jubilee YouTube Channel.

Category: Arts & Culture