BET announced that writer, professor, television host, and political commentator, Melissa Harris Perry will host a panel discussion with Being Mary Jane (BMJ) star Gabrielle Union at LA Live on Saturday, June 25th.  The conversation will be a part of the BET Experience Genius Talks series sponsored by AT&T.  Entry to this event will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Harris-Perry spent an epic four years as the brilliance behind MSNBC’s Nerdland.   Perry’s voice was dedicated to those from marginalized communities, and a void was felt when she left her post because she refused to sell out on racial issues.  MSNBC did not want Harris-Perry to cover the details of the 2016 election during her segment, and preferred that she spend her two hours on air covering “irrelevant” news.

“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head… I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.”Melissa Harris-Perry

Union is gearing up to star in the fourth season of Being Mary Jane, which revolves around the personal and professional life of news anchor Mary Jane Paul (Union).  The series has been applauded and celebrated for painting a realistic and accurate portrait of black women rarely seen on screen today.

Union’s character, Mary Jane Paul, took actions opposite of the real life Harris-Perry.  Mary Jane Paul stopped discussing issues that mattered to the black community in order to secure a spot as the lead anchor of her news network.  She eliminated topics that stemmed from racial injustice and societal inequality from her news coverage in exchange for a promotion.

The BMJ story line and what actually happened to Harris-Perry brings light to the unfair realities that many minorities have to face across all industries.  Minority professionals across America either speak out against injustices that they see in the workplace and risk losing their job, or they remain silent to insure that they maintain job stability.  The conversation between Union and Harris-Perry will undoubtedly be enlightening and engaging.

Union can be seen on the big screen later this year in A Meyers Christmas, Sleepless Night, and in the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation directed by Nate Parker.

A detailed schedule for the BET Experience “Genius Talks” series is listed below:


Saturday June 25th

4:00 p.m. PDT: DJ Khaled’s Keys to Genius – Hosted by Michael Smith

DJ, producer, and hip-hop megastar DJ Khaled found another level of success in 2015 when he became a leading social media personality and motivational thought-leader. Be there as he shares his keys to genius, personal branding and reinvention with host ESPN’s own Michael Smith (ESPN’s “His & Hers”).

5:30 p.m. PDT: State of the Union: Black Women in Hollywood – Hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry

Join Melissa Harris-Perry as she talks to “Being Mary Jane” and “Birth of a Nation” actress Gabrielle Union about the need for strong black female leads in Hollywood and the challenges women of color face in front of and behind the camera.

7:00 p.m. PDT: The Moguls – Hosted by Angie Martinez

From setting trends to making bank, these industry Moguls have built successful empires while helping to shape both the sound and culture of a generation. Don’t miss New York Times best-selling author and multimedia personality Angie Martinez, in conversation with Snoop Dogg, Birdman, and Jermaine Dupri.


1:30 p.m. PDT: Uplifting Your Genius with Kirk Franklin – Hosted by DeVon Franklin

Join DeVon Franklin (Author, “The Wait” and “Produced by Faith”) in conversation with GRAMMY award-winning, game-changer and gospel music royalty, Kirk Franklin as they discuss how Kirk discovered his genius and draws on it in everyday life and beyond.



About The Author

The HBR Media Team is a collective group of black women filmmakers, writers, and studio/network executives who are passionate about bringing visibility to women of African descent working in film and television.

Related Posts