By Corinne Dorsey
Special to the AFRO

Howard University held a moderated discussion on April 13 focused on helping Black women in media achieve success. The event, titled the “Black Women Empowerment Panel and Expo,” was part of the annual Springfest event in Cramton Auditorium. 

The event showcased the diversity and depth of Black women’s experiences and perspectives, inspiring and empowering the next generation of media and entertainment leaders.

The speaker panel consisted of media moguls and event co-chairs Zoe Warner and Amber Jones, who were selected as hosts. The forum was put together in partnership with the Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business and the Warner Music Social Justice Fund.

“To be able to bring successful Black women to inspire our youth was super important and impactful. It was really great to have one-on-one crowd interaction. They could relate as Black women and have a deeper impact,” said Warner, a moderator on the panel.

Jazz Young, the director of the Warner Music/Blavatnik Center for Music Business and a professor specializing in hip-hop, joined Autumn Joi, an actress and on-air host at Howard University’s WHUR, and Jayda Cheaves, the founder and CEO of “Waydamin,” to share insights about their respective career paths and how they overcame challenges. The three media and entertainment moguls inspired and empowered the audience with their stories of overcoming challenges and successes. 

In a packed auditorium, students eagerly listened to women as they shared their experiences and insights on building a personal brand. 

“People will love you one day and hate you the next, but as long as you stay true to who you are– whatever they’re saying– you can stay above that,” Cheaves said.

During the event, the speakers discussed a range of subjects, such as the significance of having mentors and support systems. They also spoke on the influence of diversity and representation in the media, the value of self-care and self-esteem and the necessity of being resilient and persistent when overcoming obstacles. Additionally, they responded to questions from the attendees, offering helpful guidance and motivation for those wishing to enter the media and entertainment industry.

Cheaves’ advice resonated with the audience and served as a reminder that staying true to oneself is essential for success. Joshua Jackson, a Howard University senior and long-time Jayda Cheaves fan, shared his experience at the event. 

“I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s panel. As someone who has been a supporter of Jayda for a long time, it was such a meaningful experience to not only hear her talk about her social media career but the ins and outs of being a young entrepreneur,” said Jackson. “Overall the panel was very insightful and educational. I hope Howard continues to not only bring business professionals but young influencers who students can relate to and engage in an enriching conversation with.”