TV, movies, the Internet, and radio have been around us for years and years. We live by it. But what we see in media can affect what we think. Those in media can either inspire us, or make us shake our heads. Media keeps us connected to each other and in the know about what is going on in the world. Those in media become important to us. We look to them each day to hear the news and for entertainment. And it’s important that the diversity in media shows us the diversity of the world. The world is made up of a variety of different people, so that is what we like to see on TV and in movies. The Bentonville Film Festival is on a mission to celebrate diversity in media. And they asked me to answer the question “Who in media inspires you and why?”


What is the Bentonville Film Festival?

The Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) was founded in 2015 by Academy Award Winning actress Geena Davis, and co-founder Trevor Drinkwater. The mission of BFF is to celebrate and foster diversity in film. We all know from recent conversations that acknowledging and celebrating that diversity is important, and much needed. This is especially true of women and minorities. BFF is proactively supporting content creation by women and minorities by providing a platform to help them showcase their work. And not only do they have a place to showcase their work, winners are guaranteed theatrical, television, digital, and retail home entertainment distribution.

The 2nd annual Bentonville Film takes place May 3-8, 2016. And is supported by great sponsors. The founding sponsor is Walmart. It’s also sponsored by Coca-Cola, and distribution partners AMC Theatres and Lifetime.


Films entered into the competition must meet the following criteria:

  • Female or Minority Lead
  • Female or Minority Director
  • Female or Minority Writer
  • Female or Minority Production Company
  • Gender and Diversity Balanced cast
  • Gender and Diversity Balanced crew

If you are a filmmaker, definitely consider it! Check out the Bentonville Film Festival site for more information.

Who Inspires Me in Media?

When I think of this question my mind just churns with all of the people out there doing big things. From people in news to people in movies, TV, and music there are so many names. But as someone who works in social media, my list of those that inspire me include people who are making waves on the Internet as well.

Oprah: She’s identified by one word. I’m sure Oprah is on a lot of lists, and for good reason. At 62 years old Oprah has built a brand, an identity and a fortune. As of last year she is worth over $3 billion. She is one of the most ambitious people of our time. Born in Mississippi she was a child of poverty, but she did not let that stop her. She took opportunity and ran with it. She shows us that taking chances pays off.

Shonda Rhimes: Shonda Rhimes is on my list because she now the leading African-American female producer on television. And… she’s from my neighborhood! Shonda is from the South Side of Chicago and grew up in the suburb that I live in now. She proves that a little Black girl from Chicago can make it.

I love a good business love story. The folks listed below are either women who started a rising media company and their husbands joined them and supported them, husbands who started and their wives joined them, or married teams who show that it is possible to be in love and run a successful business with your spouse.

Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman: Ree Drummond is living the life all bloggers dream of. She started her blog, The Pioneer Woman, back in 2006 to talk about her life on a ranch, and her love of food and photography. The blog took off. It was wildly popular. Now over 9 years later she has enjoyed success in blogging, as an author, and in television. For the past 4+ years she has hosted her own show on The Food Network with her supportive husband and kids by her side. They show us a bit about their life on the ranch while sharing recipes that we all love.

Kelby Carr: While Kelby may not yet be a name on TV, she is an influential name in the social media space. Kelby is on my list because I’ve watched her build something from nothing! Kelby and I met online back in 2005 while we were both pregnant with twins and on bedrest. This was before she launched Type-A Mom, now known as Type-A Parent. The site blossomed and became one of the leading blogging conferences. Kelby is also an author, and frequently shows up on  lists of who to follow on Twitter. When attended the conference, you can find her husband, Mike, running around and making sure that things are running smoothly behind the scenes.

Lamar & Ronnie Tyler: Lamar and Ronnie make up the husband and wife power couple behind the highly popular blog, Black and Married with Kids. It started as a personal blog and is now the largest independent African-American marriage and parenting site on the web. Lamar is also creator of Traffic Sales & Profit which teachers others what they need to know to make money on the Internet. He’s an author. They have produced independent films, and many, many African-Americans look to their sites for guidance.


I could think of so many more that inspire me, but I will stop there for now. What inspires you? Is it those in film, TV, or social media? Head over to the Bentonville Film Festival site to see some inspiration from participants.


Disclosure: This is a post was sponsored by The Bentonville Film Festival; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me to produce this post.