On September 17, 2013 I had the privilege of attending the symposium, "The Hollywood Confidential: Images of African American Women in Mainstream Media." This was a free event held at the Museum of Tolerance (MOT) in Los Angeles, CA. The Museum of Tolerance is a wonderful venue whose mission is "challenging visitors to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination in our world today." MOT has held and continues to hold events involving all different nationalities and cultures, including Korean, Rwandan, Asian Pacific, Hispanic and African American, just to name a few. Parking is free and admission is $15.50 a person, less for students and others. This event was free.The event included a panel of some of Hollywood's top Black women in show business, including Cori Murray, Essence Magazine entertainment director, Kimberly Elise, critically acclaimed actress, Endyia Kinney-Sterns VP of programming and development at OWN, and young actress and recording artist, Keke Palmer. The moderator was Sheree Fletcher, actress and the ex-wife of actor Will Smith. Sheree was a great moderator, asking some really good questions, and at the same time keeping it down to earth for the audience.Amongst the panelists one who stood out for me was Kimberly Elise, who was as classy as always. She named Cecily Tyson as the person who inspires her most and told a personal funny story about meeting Miss Tyson for the first time during a trip to Canada. She was excited, delighted and honored to receive a phone call from her idol when they were both staying at the same hotel in Canada. They spent time on a boat talking about getting to know each other.Cori Murray was the serious one of the panelists, although at the same time she was very practical in her advice. She named New Edition as being her greatest inspiration. I loved Cori's honesty and simplicity in answering her questions. She also told wonderful stories about her work at Essence and talked how much care the company uses in making sure that they represent all different types of Black women in their magazine. Endyia Kinney-Sterns named Oprah Winfrey as being her greatest inspiration and she talked a lot about being guided by your spirituality and passion rather than trying to follow a path.I have to say, however, Keke Palmer stole the show for me. Everyone knows that Keke is a great aspiring actress, but what most people may not know is that somewhere in her past life Keke must have been a motivational speaker. She was an eloquent speaker and she was quite funny. Keke spoke the truth, and had the audience charged up. At different moments I thought I was in church. An audience member even gave her a five dollar bill as a gesture of appreciation, which she laid at Keke's feet as she was speaking. After the others answered the same question and the mike was back to the moderator, Keke politely bent over, picked up the five dollar bill and placed it on her table. The audience broke out in laughter. Oh, and by the way, Keke named Raven Symone as her greatest inspiration.
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