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The Pan African Film & Arts Festival: Conversations with Hollywood’s Black Leading Ladies

By: Trene Todd | Black Hollywood Leading Ladies Discussion | Image: PAFF

Conversations with Hollywood’s Black Leading Ladies Took Center Stage at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival

The Pan African Film Festival 2023 (PAFF) showcased some of Hollywood’s fiercest leading ladies talking about their experiences as Black women in the industry and how they have helped change the industry for the better. Hollywood has long been criticized for its lack of diversity, with limited leading roles for black women. This is why conversations with Hollywood’s Black Leading Ladies are so important. These conversations provide an opportunity to discuss the challenges these women face in the industry and what can be done to improve diversity in Hollywood.


This year's PAFF offered a platform for these women to share their stories and experiences, which was inspiring and empowering to other aspiring actors. Reasons for lack of diversity vary from unequal access to resources, limited representation in decision-making roles, unconscious bias, and the prevalence of stereotypical roles making it difficult for black woman to be seen as fully-rounded characters on screen. During the panel, the woman discussed how we can work towards improving diversity in Hollywood by increasing access to resources, diversifying decision-making roles, and creating more diverse content. By having more conversations with Hollywood’s Black Leading Ladies, we can help create a more inclusive industry where everyone is given an equal chance at success. WHO: The Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) Panelists included: SONEQUA MARTIN-GREEN (Star Trek: Discovery), TICHINA ARNOLD (The Neighborhood), PAULA NEWSOME (CSI: Las Vegas), META GOLDING (Rabbit Hole), and SHINELLE AZOROH (Swagger). Moderated by SHERYL UNDERWOOD (The Talk). The discussion was presented by CBS Studios, CBS and Paramount+. WHAT: Conversations with Hollywood’s Black Leading Ladies WHEN: Saturday, February11, 2023 1:00 PM Red Carpet 2:00 PM Program Begins WHERE: Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD 4020 Marlton Ave., Los Angeles

ABOUT | PAN AFRICAN FILM AND ARTS FESTIVAL Taking place February 9-20, 2023, in Los Angeles, the Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) presents and showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans. Since 1992, PAFF has remained dedicated to the promotion of Black stories and images through the exhibition of film, visual art, and other creative expression. Today, PAFF is one of the largest and most prestigious Black film festivals in the U.S. and attracts local, national, and international audiences. In addition, it is an Oscar-qualifying festival for animation and live-action films, and one of the largest Black History Month events in America. THE PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL| A 501(C)(3) NON-PROFIT ORGANIZAITION PAFF is sponsored in part by the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell through the Department of Arts and Culture, LA Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, LA Councilmember Curren Price, LA Councilmember Heather Hutt, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, LA Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund with the California Community Foundation, and the LA County COVID-19 Arts Relief Fund administered by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture. This year’s PAFF is presented by Stocker Street Creative, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, and FX Networks For more information, please visit


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