Leah Daniels Butler honored for diversity and inclusion push

Vanessa Williams and Kym Whitley share a light moment during the 2018 Griot Gala Oscar Night After Party. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson Photography

LOS ANGELES-Hundreds of anxious invited guests flooded the sidewalk in front of The District By Hannah An, located at 8722 W. 3rd Street, waiting to get in the event with the biggest buzz in Los Angeles: the Griot Gala Oscar Night After Party. The gala centered on the push for diversity and inclusion in film and television.

Help leading that charge are casting director Leah Daniels Butler and Daphna Ziman, president of Cinemoi North American and founder of Children Uniting Nations, both of whom who were feted at the well-attended event (over 600 people) because of their contributions in the fight for diversity in Hollywood.

Casting director Leah Daniels Butler (left), actress Kym Whitley (center) and Lisa Raye McCoy enjoy the festivities at the Griot Gala Oscar Night After Party. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson Photography

In an interview posted by Page Six of the New York Post, Daniels Butler was blunt about the climate of diversity that she sees in Hollywood.

“People are just tired of not seeing themselves reflected on television, or not being recognized for their accomplishments, or not being included, or not having a seat at the table for certain things,” Daniels Butler said. “That’s not just African Americans. It’s everybody.”

The much talked about gala was a production of the GRIOT Gateway, LLC, a company based in Atlanta founded by brand strategist C. Dionne Miller and publicist Reid J Rich in conjunction with Annette BibbyOliver of Dreamhouse MBG in Hollywood.

Joe Jackson arrives for the Griot Gala Oscar Night After Party. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson Photography

Guests arrived to witness an exciting red carpet hosted by Radio One syndicated radio personality Darlene McCoy, with lots of celebrities and media. Inside, they enjoyed sophisticated Vietnamese cuisine prepared by the Districts five-star chef and an open bar sponsored by Marani Vodka, Vault Spirits, and LaVang Wines.

One of the biggest highlights of the evening was the arrival of the legendary Joe Jackson, where traffic along Third Street stood frozen as cameras surrounded his black chauffer driven SUV to capture his exit from the vehicle and on to the red carpet.

Just because: Three lovely ladies pose for the camera during the 2018 Griot Gala Oscar Night After Party. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson Photography

Other celebrity guests in attendance included actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, Daphna Ziman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Gretchen Rossi & Slade Smiley (Real Housewives of OC), actor/comedian Dion Cole (black-ish), news anchor Christine Devine, actor and producer Darren Dean, Terrell Carter (Empire), Kym Whitley, Azmarie Livingston (Empire), rapper Bre Z (Empire), Terrell Carter “Empire,” Coco Brown (Ted 2), Janice Freeman (The Voice), Matty Rich, Victoria Rowell, Beverly Todd, Kenny Lattimore, Vanessa Williams, Antwone Fisher, Darius McCrary, and Christopher Darden.

Daniels Butler’s casting brilliance has put diverse thespians in roles portrayed in box office hits as well as popular television shows such as: The Butler, Precious, The Paperboy, Being Mary Jane, The Quad, Star, and Empire. Daniels Butler has continued to push the envelope to produce roles of diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.

Ziman has dedicated her work and heart towards the children of the world for more than 20 years. Ziman was recently honored with the “Jacqueline Kennedy Award” by JFK University and celebrated with the “Women of Achievement Award” by North American Council for Adoptable Children. Ziman is also the recipient of the “Uniting Children of the World Award” by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), which creates a strong awareness of inclusion and diversity for the next generation.

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