By Dennis J. Freeman
The Black Women in Entertainment Law Foundation (BWEL) held a pre-2011 BET Awards event at the famous Phillipe Chow restaurant in West Hollywood, honoring three women who have contributed mightily in the entertainment industry.
Being feted at the industry reception were Toni Judkins, senior vice president of production and programming at TV One; Dana Sims, a motion picture talent agent and Pearlena Igbokwe, senior vice president of original programming at Showtime Network.
BWEL, along with Fox Rothschild LLP, hosted the event to salute the three honorees that they believed to be exemplary examples of success and professionalism, inspiring others to achieve.
Lisa Bonner, executive director of BWEL, said the event was to help call more attention to the mission of the organization.
“We mentor women of color in law school who aspire to be entertainment lawyers,” Bonner said. “We provide scholarships, grants, mentoring, networking opportunities for them to be role models and to bring effective change on a greater level. We started as four lawyers around a pool at a conference in the Caribbean.
“We marched together as an army and pulled people together to start our board. We have grown from there. There are a lot of people that want to follow in our footsteps.”
Certainly, media personality Lala Vasquez has somebody whose footsteps she follows. Dana Sims, who represents International Creative Management, is Vasquez’s agent. Vasquez said she came out to the event to show her support for Sims.
“I’m supporting women in entertainment, “Vasquez said. “Most of all, I am supporting my agent, Dana Sims, who works so hard for me. The least I could do was come out and show her a lot of love.”
BMI executive Catherine Brewton knows a thing or two about being shown some love from the folks at BWEL. Brewton was an honoree herself two years ago. Supporting what BWEL stands for is important for young women, she said.
“The ladies, two years ago, honored me as a recipient, which I am always honored when my colleagues see fit to honor me. It is a privilege to be here and support their endeavors to try to educate and fund black women in law,” said Brewton.
“It’s exciting. I think it’s extremely important to always not only to promote, but allow young women to see that we are also a force to be reckoned with. I think BWEL has done a wonderful job at providing scholarships to young women trying to get in to law school.”
Celebrity publicist Kita Williams (The T.O. Show), who is launching a foundation (Define Your Pretty) to encourage women to define their beauty, said it’s equally important that women know who they are.
“It’s not about how beautiful you are on the outside,” Williams said. “It’s about when you define something about yourself, you own it. Once you define your pretty, you walk into your own authenticity. That is what we want young girls to understand.”