Liburd recognizes the importance of reaching BET viewers on both a national and a local level. Under her guidance, BET partnered with WP Narrative to generate buzz about the network’s biopic “The Bobby Brown Story” during NY’s Harlem Week fan experience. The exhibit’s highlight was a nearly 30-foot inflatable facsimile of Brown’s head. “If your goal is to be a storyteller or produce,” Liburd advises, “the key is to find a way to make your unique perspective your biggest asset.”
What’s a recent example of a step forward for diversity in the industry?
The success of “Crazy Rich Asians”! I loved that movie and took my daughters and a whole crew to watch it. “Crazy Rich Asians,” which features an entirely Asian cast playing a variety of character types, will help change the media landscape. Not since the Joy Luck Club, which was released 25 years ago, have we seen such well-rounded Asian characters in a major motion picture. With the success of movies like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, decision-makers at the highest level can see that diversity isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a must have for long-term success.
In what areas should the industry step up its efforts with regard to diversity and inclusion?
The fact of the matter is that the most senior roles across the media industry still do not reflect the consumers who are driving the business. A diverse workforce should not just be reflected in the diversity & inclusion departments, it should be reflected in the C-Suite where decisions are being made about everything from multi-million dollar budgets to marketing strategy and creative direction.
What’s your best advice to someone just entering the video content/distribution industry?
The best advice I can share actually came from actor, writer and producer Lena Waithe at a taping of our signature women’s empowerment show, “Black Girls Rock!” She shared her personal story, including the fact that her success was all about how she has moved her unique and powerful voice forward throughout her entire career. If your goal is to be a storyteller or produce, the key is to find a way to make your unique perspective your biggest asset. Break out content comes from authentic and unique voices, so it’s important to stay true to that and never try to replicate something that is already in the marketplace.