MJ Musical honors 7 Black Women in Media

Photo Credit: Aaliytha Stevens

March 13, 2022—In celebration of Women’s History Month, seven New York City Black women working in the media, including me, recently were saluted by the producers of MJ the Musical and Aaliytha Stevens, Chief Operating Officer of SpotCo. The event was coordinated by the renowned Irene Gandy, a recipient of 2020 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre and the only Black female member of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers.

I was thrilled to be in the company of the other six honorees, several of whom I have had the opportunity to partner with over the years.:

Cynthia Smith is the Program Director for New York’s WBLS radio station and is the first woman to hold this position. Cynthia curates both the sound and content for the station that is home to several popular shows, including the Steve Harvey Morning Show, The Quiet Storm with Lenny Green and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Cynthia also produces the station’s signature event Circle of Sisters, which is the largest Women’s Empowerment Expo on the east coast for women of color. I have enjoyed working with Cynthia, who has been a big supporter of our promotions and interviews with artists.

Jeanne Parnell has spent more than 25 years on New York City’s airways. A longtime supporter of the Broadway actors of color, she currently hosts “City Lights,” a weekly show on WHCR-Radio. Her famed guests have included Carmen de Lavallade; Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, and jazz giant Miles Davis. I’ve known Jeanne for more than 20 years, and she has featured many actors and shows represented by my company.

Cheryl Wills is the prime time anchor for NY1 Live at 10 for Spectrum News NYl. She joined the station when it launched in 1992 and also is the host of the public affairs talk show, In Focus with Cheryl Wills. Cheryl became the first African-American reporter in NY1’s history to win an Emmy Award in 2018. She also is a speaker and author of three books.

Marcia Parris is a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer for PIX11, the New York flagship station of Nexstar. Marcia currently serves as the senior producer for PIX11 Morning News, where she oversees the booking of newsmakers, features, and entertainment guests for the live broadcast.

Bevy Smith is the host of Sirius XM’s “Bevelations” on Radio Andy. A pop culture aficionado and fashion expert, Bevy served as moderator of Bravo TV’s revolutionary “Fashion Queens.” and was a former co-host on the nationally syndicated “Page Six TV.” She also is the author of a book, which details her transition from a fashion advertising executive into a media celebrity.

Christal Young is a FOX-5 NY Emmy Award-winning journalist known for her profiles of cool street styles for her weekly segment, “Where’d you get that?” and her new series of half-hour specials for FOX-5 NYtitled, Christal’s NY.

It was exhilarating to experience the magic of MJ the Musical and I was thrilled to be saluted by the amazing cast. I thank Lady Irene for including me in this esteemed group of women, and for always making sure that everyone is standing in the spotlight.

As always, I would like to know what you think. I invite you to share memories or experiences you may have had with any of the honorees and tributes to Lady Irene Gandy for her more than 50 years of work in the theater industry as a Producer and Press Agent.

2 thoughts on “MJ Musical honors 7 Black Women in Media

  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!! to DONNA and all these beautiful women recognized for their incredible work in the media over the years. BLACK women have always “rocked” as we carry our community to the world. I LOVE “Lady Irene Gandy” who I’ve known for more than 40years. She is a mighty “force”!!! She has helped me achieve great success on nearly every project I’ve undertaken. She has always worked to ensure that others and their contributions are in the spotlight while being content to orchestrate success from the background…a true model of humility and service. Of course she would create an opportunity for Black women to be recognized on such a visible platform… so once again the world must take notice…GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!

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