Jaleesa Lashay Diaz and Kyra Lewis co-lead the recently launched experiential platform, Scene In Black, HBO Max’s new home for Black stories and storytellers.
Through this platform, Jaleesa and Kyra have managed to amplify the current and upcoming slate of HBO Max’s Black-centric content and characters through community experience and engagement.
Scene In Black has proven to be an excellent component to HBO Max in the way it indeed aims to make Black voices feel represented and celebrated.
Scene In Black Interview
The landscape of how audiences receive experiential information and events has evolved so much in the last five years. How does Scene in Black stay innovative with its approach to the campaigns it creates in this space?
Scene In Black: For more than a decade, our Multicultural Marketing team has been doing the groundwork to engage with diverse audiences thoughtfully and authentically. Scene In Black is an extension of this work.
Our incredible team understands the value of putting the audience first, and our campaigns reflect this approach. We do our best to stay tapped into the latest trends and our culture – but we also utilize research and insights to help inform the way we approach our campaigns and the ways we look to engage with our community.
Then, when you consider that our brand has a history in amplifying Black stories and talent, that only makes our part that much easier. We’re able to leverage this history and current programming available on HBO Max to bring these amazing experiences and campaigns to life.
Your roles as Multicultural Marketing Managers are vital to the added success of a media company like WarnerMedia/HBO and amplifying the culture. In what ways do you want your voices to impact society through these positions?
Scene In Black: Working for our company and being in the position we are in as Multicultural Marketing managers is a privilege that we do not take lightly.
As Black women who graduated from HBCUs, we are passionate about Black stories and storytellers. We both went to Spelman College. It’s a pleasure to help bring these campaigns to life and be a part of such an incredible team that cares about the communities we speak to because they reflect our everyday lives and relationships. We feel a different sense of responsibility, and it shows.
There’s still a lot of work to be done in our industry and in the world to ensure Black men and women have more opportunities. We’re doing our part to afford those opportunities by working and collaborating with Black businesses and creatives.
With Scene In Black, every vendor we worked with, including our agency who produced our launch events, is Black-owned. We hope that we continue to open doors and show the world the exceptional talent from our community.
What words of encouragement would you give to the next generation of creatives who look at you as an example and want to follow in your footsteps?
- Remember why you started. There will be hurdles to overcome on the path to your dreams, especially as a Black creative, but if you’re steadfast in your ‘why,’ then nothing can get in your way.
- Make a plan and outline the steps needed to get to the next level, but do so in a way that’s not only unique to your craft and your authentic perspective but flexible in case things don’t go as planned.
- Remember to celebrate the small wins.
- Take a second to be present in your progress and see how far you’ve come.
You’ve got this!
Jaleesa: Do not allow anyone to limit you, and do not limit yourself. I’m a first-generation college student who grew up in the South Bronx and worked really hard, despite my circumstances, to make things happen – and they did. Please focus on the work but do not let it define you.
Put good energy out there, and it will be reciprocated. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. Do not mask your Blackness.
There is beauty in your perspective and your experience. Go where you are celebrated and bring someone along with you.
What can people expect to see from the Scene In Black next year?
Scene In Black: HBO Max has exciting programming coming to viewers in 2022. Scene In Black will elevate our Black stories and storytellers and drive connection with our audience via:
- Custom content and experiences that:
- Showcase HBO Max talent and creators
- Provides resources for discussions and conversations amongst thought leaders
- Highlights innovators, entrepreneurs, stories, and voices amongst our influencers
People can also expect to see Scene in Black have a real-life presence at some of your favorite events and in some of your favorite cities. Follow us on social media to keep updated on more to come. We’re looking forward to continuing the momentum from our launch.