BPRS-LA ROUND-UP: February 2019
President's Message
Happy Black History Month! This is a time to reflect, celebrate, and come together to activate. BPRS-LA will do all of these things this month and throughout the entire year because we are a part of creating Black history and Black excellence every day.

The BPRS-LA Board has grown immensely this year, and you'll soon meet all of the amazing and dynamic communications professionals that have joined our team. Our board reflects the diversity in the communications industry from entertainment and transportation to aerospace and technology, and non-profit to education, we represent the breadth of our industry. 

We are connected, energized, and mobilized and we invite you to join us.

Let's make 2019 great!

Shawn Smith
BPRS-LA 2019 Executive Board

Kenya Friend-Daniel
Vice President, Membership

Melissa Mills
Vice President, Strategic Alliances

Carlos Ray
Vice President, PR & Marketing

Brandi Redick
Vice President, Digital Marketing

Rachael Golding
Vice President, Special Programs

Charlene Collier

Whitney Patterson
Media Moves

BPRS-LA's Interview with African American Caucus of the California Democratic Party's New Communications Chair, Jasmyne Cannick

Jasmyne speaks in an exclusive interview with BPRS-LA's Penelope Hutchens.
Penelope Hutchens (PH): How do you find balance in your career?

Jasmine Cannick (JC): The main work I do is in politics. I’m always going to be a Journalist, I started off in radio and writing as a journalist. I worked in congress for a while as a Press Secretary, I went to the State Assembly first and then I went to Congress. My main work is in politics just doing communications as a Press Secretary, Director of Communications and so when I left congress it was really important for me when I came back to live full-time in Los Angeles again to really balance my consulting world, I came back and became a Political Consulting Advisor but also in my journalistic world. I find the balance because as you know journalism doesn’t always pay you a lot of money and I make most of my money doing what I love in communications. I give back to my community by telling our stories and also by working with organizations that don’t have money to hire full-time comms directors or people to help tell their story to the world. I love doing that, I think we all should do that, find a way to give back to our communities and use the skills we were given.
PH: How do you feel about today’s current political climate?

JC: I’m not happy about it. I’m definitely not happy about it. I look at it not happy about the person whose involved with it. I don’t want to be one of those people who sits around and complains about it. I always want to figure out, "Well what can I do to be the difference?" I just ran for office here, I ran for delegate here (California). I’m currently the Communications Chair of the African-American Caucus of the California Democratic Party.

I just ran for delegate here in the district that I live in L.A. I didn’t win but I’m still going to run again. I’ll be on the ballot again next year in March when we vote for the President. I want to be more involved in my party’s politics because I feel that in the state of California, particularly black people are being left out of the conversations. A lot of the conversations exclude us and our issues and so I think more black people specifically black women need to get more involved at all levels, not just running for congress not just running for mayor but also at the party level where a lot of the decisions are made. People don’t understand how party politics work and how a state party develops its platform or the issues and candidates they're going to support. We in California have the largest Democratic Party in the entire country but you won’t find us in any positions of leadership in it. People don’t know that. 

PH: How do you feel about gentrification that’s occurring throughout the United States but specifically California and how it’s affecting middle class and poor African-American Families?

JC: Gentrification doesn’t just affect the middle class, it affects people who are in the ‘forgotten class’, people who are not in the middle-class. The people who live in South L.A. are getting their rent increased just as much as the people in my neighborhood. It’s affecting everyone and one of the reasons I ran for delegate is because I live in a district before there was ‘redistricting’ it could have been considered a black district. Now where I live it’s considered to be part of a district that includes East L.A., Boyle Heights, Huntington Park, Downtown L.A., and it’s really crazy to me because by doing that they were able to only have a district that has only 3 percent black resident rate. I ran in a district that was not black at all. I ran on purpose because of the fact that there are not a lot of black people in my district. Our issues are never taken up by the people who represent us because everyone who represents us are Latino and they typically don’t represent our issues at all especially if it’s in any kind of a conflict with their issues.

If you were to talk about jobs everyone has an opinion about jobs and we can talk about jobs but let’s also talk about the effect of illegal immigration on black employment, well you’re racist if you want to talk about that. I’m like, no it’s a reality when you have black people who try to apply for jobs at Mc Donald’s, Target and everywhere else and they're not being accepted because they’re not bi-lingual, that they don’t speak Spanish that’s an issue we should discuss not something we sweep under the rug and act like it doesn’t exist. When we talk about immigration and migrants and the border crisis all the images that are being splashed across the television are of Latinos and Central Americans, no one is talking about all of the Africans that are at the border or the Haitians who are also at the border.

What’s happening now is that the magical word is ‘affordable’ housing, but people don’t understand how politics work and they don’t understand that’s really just a gimmick. Market rate, let’s say they put up an affordable building with ten units in it and part of the deal is 3 of those units have to be ‘affordable’ housing. The next question out of everyone’s mouth should always be, “affordable for who?”. People don’t understand when they say it’s going to be affordable housing that does not always mean it’s going to be affordable for you, especially if you can’t get a job that’s paying a prevailing living wage you have to put it all together. That’s why I was not supportive of the idea of raising minimum wage to $20 and that somehow that was going to fix all our problems, because by the time it’s staggered every year they increase it a bit.
PH: What’s been your most memorable career moment?

JC: Going to Sierra Leone with Isaiah Washington, he’s a friend of mine. Even with all the nastiness with Greys Anatomy, we left the country and went to Sierra Leone and built water wells and a school we held a medical clinic for villages we just kind of left all the chaos of the U.S. And did some good with our people. We went to Sierra Leone because he had taken his African ancestry test and found out that he was from Sierra Leone. He called me and was like, ‘can you take some time off can you come with me to Sierra Leone?” I asked my boss and my boss was like, “bye!” My boss was from Trinidad and he was really big in all of this seeing the outside of the U.S. and traveling and stuff. I then I went to Beijing on a diplomatic trip with Mark Morial, his wife, Roland Martin and a few other people we had a really wonderful time. At that time the relationship between the Chinese and the U.S. was not as intense as it is right now. We went to represent black people in the U.S. and our business interests, that was the most memorable. Climbing the great wall of china with Roland, me and Roland go back, we’ve been friends for a really long time. I’ve done some great stuff in the country, but the stuff I’ve done outside of the country is really important too because it gives you a whole different outlook on life because you get to see how people really live, if you never leave the U.S. you probably think people live like we live but we’re actually the minority we’re definitely not the majority. The stuff I did in D.C. is memorable obviously because I worked in the house when we elected President Barak Obama that was amazing. 

PH: What’s next for Jasmine Cannick?

JC: I’m working on trying to get this deal done to do this television show around one of my investigative series involving the death of two black gay men in this white democratic donor’s home here in West Hollywood. I’m definitely going to run for office again. I’m definitely going to continue my work just in terms of speaking on issues that I feel are taboo or makes people feel uncomfortable because it’s in those issues that we find our answers and we also find our freedom because we have to talk about it.
Member Spotlight
Dawnchelle Carlton
Current position/company or field? 
Managing Director of Eden Digital Group

Where were you born and raised?  
Los Angeles, CA & Santa Clarita, CA

Which college did you attend and what was your major?  
I graduated from Cal State University Northridge with a B.A in Cinema Television & Film & Minor in Pan African Studies.

What do you love most about PR?
  Connecting with new people and nurturing relationships.
What kind of work are you most passionate about? 
Love helping others and working on films that have an impact on society.
What type of PR do you do?  
Entertainment PR
Best advice you've ever received? 
Treat everyone with kindness and respect.
Skills you’ve discovered have been the most useful in your field? 
Great work ethic, determination, and passion.
Why did you join BPRS-LA
I wanted to connect with like-minded individuals and engage with fellow publicists in Los Angeles.

Pan African Film Festival

Pan African Film Festival's Mission
It is PAFF’s goal to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help destroy negative stereotypes. We believe film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.

When: February 7-18, 2019

Where: Cinemark 15 BHC
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza
3560 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90008

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