November 2018 | "Red Carpets, Publicists and the Black Press"

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Ahead of awards season, we're partnering with the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Public Relations Society (BPRS-LA) on our Nov. 17th event focused on the experiences of black press and publicists in Hollywood. We will be joined, at 11 a.m. at the SAG-AFTRA Headquarters, by industry journalists and publicists.



Kelley L. Carter is the Sr. Entertainment Reporter for ESPN's The Undefeated where she covers the intersection of race, pop culture and sports. She's also worked for outlets including USA Today, Vibe, BuzzFeed, Ebony, Essence,, MTV News, the Chicago Tribune, and the Detroit Free Press. Carter is a Michigan State University alum.

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Dr. Katherine Pieper received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Communication from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She has worked as a Research Scientist with Dr. Stacy Smith and Marc Choueiti at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative since 2012. There, she has collaborated on research focused on employment patterns in film and television, with a particular focus on diversity and inclusion in key production roles. 


Shawn Smith has more than 15 years of experience in the communications industry having worked for global brands including The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Recognized as a top leader in PR, Shawn continues to lead multi-million dollar campaigns for international franchises and properties. Currently she serves as a senior communication executive with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, leading PR campaigns for products inspired by DC Entertainment franchises including Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman; and Warner Bros. Animation. 


Michelle Watts has fleshed out positions at Essence Communications where she worked with the top names in entertainment and learned the practices of PR, The Mayor's Office of Communications - City of Cleveland where she acquired fearless mastery of the art & Universal/ Def Jam under the tutelage of Shawn (Jay-Z) Carter where she triumphed in the risk and rewards of the work and established herself as an industry leader. In 2012 the recognition of her talents demanded she open her own Public Relations practice. The Aziza Work Group launched in Los Angeles with such force that within three years her clients in the world of Comedy alone included, but were not limited to: Kevin Hart, Mike Epps, Lil Rel Howery, Deon Cole & DeRay Davis. The Aziza Work Group specializes in PR across multiple industries such as film, fine arts, television, major events, sports, law, children's toys and music.

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