The recent dialogue surrounding the portrayal of women of color in entertainment, specifically in Hip-Hop music, has propelled women in the entertainment industry to take a proactive stand. Powerbrokers like fashion mogul Kimora Lee Simmons; international music star Joss Stone; Sylvia Rhone, President of Motown Records and Executive Vice President of Universal Records; and Valeisha Butterfield, Executive Director of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, have joined forces to announce the launch of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN). Kimora Lee Simmons has signed on as the national spokeswoman for WEEN.
“I am truly honored to join forces with the Women’s Entertainment Empowerment Network and this amazing collective of women,” said Kimora Lee Simmons. “I firmly believe in WEEN’s mission and hope that together we can begin making a real difference with our work.”
WEEN is a coalition of women, of all races and ages, committed to supporting, promoting and defending the positive, balanced portrayal of women in entertainment and in society.
The formal launch, a special invitation-only “pink” carpet event, will take place on Wednesday, September 19 at trendy Bo Concept, an exclusive furniture store in Manhattan. Entertainment and recording industry executives from across the nation are confirmed to attend.
For the last several months, more than 80 influential women in the entertainment industry; including corporate executives, recording artists and educators have been meeting to develop WEEN’s mission statement, program and strategy. The launch event will kick-off the twelve month countdown to enroll one million women into WEEN. The initiative will create a coalition of empowered women committed to action.
WEEN has launched WEENONLINE.ORG as the portal through which the network is developed and members are enrolled. WEEN will target three core areas: 1) corporate social responsibility, 2) media/artist responsibility and 3) community programs/outreach.
“It is imperative that as women in leadership positions, we take back responsibility, raise awareness and implement programs that reach the young women and men in our communities that need it most,” said Valeisha Butterfield, WEEN founder and Executive Director of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. “Young girls are crying out for our support and mentorship. Dialogue is important, but not enough. Dialogue followed by strategy and subsequent action is necessary for the type of change we hope to see in our communities.”
For more information and to join WEEN, log onto www.weenonline.org.
Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN)
The Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) is a coalition of women committed to supporting, promoting and defending the positive portrayal of women of color in entertainment and in society. WEEN is led by women executives in music, television, film, radio and other forms of entertainment. WEEN is a program of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. www.ween.org.
Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN)
Founded in 2001 by Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) is dedicated to harnessing the cultural relevance of hip-hop music to serve as a catalyst for education advocacy and other societal concerns fundamental to the well being of at-risk youth throughout the United States. HSAN is the largest non-profit, worldwide coalition of hip-hop artists, entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil rights proponents, and youth leaders united in the belief that Hip-Hop is an enormously influential agent for positive social change which must be responsibly and proactively utilized to fight the war on poverty and injustice. www.hsan.org.
WEEN supports the First Amendment rights of Hip-Hop artists united in the belief that artistic expression can be commercially marketable and socially responsible. For more information on the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network or Hip-Hop Summit Action Network visit www.weenonline.org and www.hsan.org