Three years after Bravo fans had their Bravo dreams come true, BravoCon returns for an even bigger star-studded and unparalleled experience from October 14 to October 16. The super-fandom event will take place at the Javits Center in New York City, featuring an exciting weekend of tea-spilling panels, interactive experiences, live performances, immersive activations, never-before-seen content and more exclusive shopping opportunities than ever before. Fans will have front-row exclusive access to their favorite shows and Bravolebrities. Additional details coming soon.
“BravoCon emerged as a first-of-its-kind interactive event where ten thousand fans got to experience the massive Bravosphere come to life,” said Ellen Stone, EVP, Consumer Engagement & Brand Strategy, NBCUniversal. “After the last few years, we are especially excited to bring our biggest BravoCon ever to our loyal fans for an even more memorable year.”
One fan famously raved after attending: “My top three moments in life were marriage, babies and BravoCon—not necessarily in that order.”
Bravo is the premier lifestyle and entertainment brand that drives cultural conversation around its high-quality, interactive original content across all platforms. The network features a diverse slate of original programming, including Emmy Award-winning Top Chef and Project Runway, fan-favorites Vanderpump Rules, Below Deck, Southern Charm and the highly popular Million Dollar Listing and The Real Housewives franchises. Bravo also boasts the only live late-night talk show on television with the critically acclaimed Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, which has become a nightly destination for A-list celebrities. Bravo is part of the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming portfolio, which includes NBCU’s broadcast, cable and streaming platforms: NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids, USA Network and Peacock.
The women attempt to balance their ever-evolving friendships with the demands of family life and growing business ventures, but a string of shocking events proves that living this large is more than meets the eye. In true Beverly Hills fashion, however, nothing can keep these ladies away from a good time. There is no shortage of laughs and libations, as they jet-set their way to luxury in Aspen and Punta Mita, Mexico. After intruders break into Dorit Kemsley‘s home in a traumatic and life-changing attack, she begins working through the healing process with help from her friends. All but one, that is, whose lack of sympathy leaves ripple effects amongst the group. Sutton Stracke is finally settled into her dream home and ready to play hostess extraordinaire. While she hopes that swiping right will lead to the perfect man, conflicts with the group make her want to swipe left on some of the ladies. Erika Jayne is looking for a fresh start, despite ongoing legal pressures and rumors aplenty in the press following her divorce. When her friends grow concerned that she has gone too far in her quest to move forward, tensions boil over. Lisa Rinna‘s world is rocked as she loses a beloved member of her family. Attempting to cope with her new normal, she struggles to keep her emotions in check and her friends are on the receiving end.
Reaping the rewards of her hard work, Garcelle Beauvais buys a beach house to enjoy with family and friends. Still, she realizes that long hours dedicated to her talk show and writing her memoir are taking a toll on her relationship with her teenage boys.
Having found her footing with the group, Crystal Kung Minkoff takes a more honest approach to expressing her feelings to the ladies. Honesty might not always be the policy, however, and she quickly realizes that the secrets she has held onto may cost her some hard-earned friendships.
Much like her friend Crystal, Diana Jenkins is a formidable match for anyone who attempts to cross her. A Bosnian war refugee who married into an astonishing banking fortune, she is no stranger to Beverly Hills’ most elite circles. Following a traumatic miscarriage, Diana is focused on having another baby to complete her family.
Kyle Richards is thrilled at the promise of grandchildren when her oldest daughter finally gets engaged. Just as everything seems to be falling into place, lingering family drama intrudes on her happiness.
On cloud nine following her daughter’s lavish wedding, Kathy Hilton reconnects with the ladies. This elation is short-lived, however, when simmering resentments with her sister surface.
One of Garcelle’s best girlfriends and ex-wife to a prominent Hollywood actor, Sheree Zampino knows the inner workings of this larger-than-life town. Never the wallflower and unafraid to speak her mind, she quickly forms strong opinions about her new friends.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is produced by Evolution Media for Bravo with Douglas Ross, Alex Baskin, John Carr, Charlie Newton and Christian Barcellos serving as executive producers. Andy Cohen also serves as an executive producer.
All-American: Homecoming, spinoff series to The CW’s hit sports drama All American, recently aired the first episodes. Up-and-coming actress Netta Walker plays a large role in the series. She talked with 360 about the role, her life, and her career as an actress. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter, and you can find her biography HERE.
1. What was your upbringing like?
I grew up on Westside in Jacksonville, Florida with 3 older brothers (all 10 years plus older than me). We were military kids—my dad was in the Navy, he met my mom in Manila when they were basically teenagers. My mother moved to the states when she married my dad and brought all of her Cebuan/Tacloban culture with her to Jax. Culture, family, and tradition were wildly important in our house. Our Christmas meals consisted of crab boils, squid adobo, greens, lumpia, baked beans, sometimes chicken feet if we could afford it. We didn’t have much money, so on weekends my mom would set up a booth at the Romona Flea Market and we’d sell whatever she could make. At one point she was hand-making dresses for child pageants and had me walking around Wal-Marts with her while she handed out her business cards. It’s wild because my parents really taught us how to hustle and made sure we knew that culture, practical life skills, and intellect were the only things that couldn’t be taken from us. I attended two historically black schools in the area for both middle and high school. My middle school, James Weldon Johnson, was on an HBCU campus (Edward Waters University) at the time. Every morning we sang Lift Every Voice and Sing, and during PE we watched the University have marching band and majorette practice on the field next to us. My high school, Stanton College Preparatory, was the first school made for black students in Florida. Both were highly competitive academic magnet schools in all-black neighborhoods with black women principles—I got WILDLY lucky. My parents were very serious about my education, and my dad made sure I knew the importance of academics in southern black culture. He was one of the first black students sent to an all-white school in Jacksonville when white folk threw bricks at him for simply pursuing an education. He prepped me for a world that wasn’t guaranteed to be kind to me, he taught me that I’d have to work 3 times as hard to get where I wanted to and that I could never slip up. My mom was on the road to being an Olympic swimmer for the Philippines and was a model in Japan, but when she got pregnant pretty young she took to the life of raising us and making sure we would want for nothing. She taught me that love is what keeps us all connected, and that so long as I lead with love I won’t regret my life. I was raised by fighters.
2. What is your relationship with Chicago, the city you worked and lived in?
Chicago is the city that made me the artist I am today. I can’t praise it enough. I always saw Chicago as the place artists go to get better at their craft, because lord knows we don’t go there to make money or get famous. The love people carry for their craft there is outstanding. I’d tell any young person aspiring to be an actor to go to Chicago and study. Go to Steppenwolf or The Gift and see the greats do the work up close and personal, and then decide if this is the field for you. I’d never felt so compelled to be an artist until I moved there and got to see the work the artists there create. It’s hands down one of my favorite cities in the world and I plan to rep it as mine for the rest of my life.
3. Who are your biggest influences?
My family. My parents showed me that the world wasn’t always going to be kind to me, but in spite of whatever it threw at me that I could still do anything I put my mind to. My dad encouraged me to remember how smart I actually am and to never back down from what’s right. He was the biggest influence in my life hands down. I live every day for him, in hopes of making him proud. My mom taught me how to live in love and solely move in love, she is truly my heart, I’d do anything for her. My brothers are the coolest men I’ve ever met, for real. My brother Eric is 10 years and 2 days older than me, so I’ve been trying to be him since I was 4. I dress like him to this day and watch only the anime he tells me to. My brother Anthony has inspired me by standing in his truth his whole life, I never would’ve learned how to trust and love myself without him. My oldest brother AJ showed me that we can make life whatever we dream of making it. My family has shaped every facet of who I am today and I love them all so deeply for it, as much as they get on my nerves.
4. Why did you decide to become an actress?
I had an incredible high school theater teacher, Shirley Sacks Kirby, who saw potential in me and was the first person to seriously encourage me to pursue a career in acting. She made me feel like I was actually good at something, and I never felt that way before. I was content in fading into the background and leaving my emotions to the side in my everyday life, but in theater, I was allowed to express all my pent-up emotions. She told my mom to put me in dance classes and voice lessons and monologue coachings, she helped me write and submit all of my college theater applications and put together all of my auditions. She shouted words of affirmations at me when I felt insecure and told me that I was special and talented when I felt like I wasn’t ever going to be good enough. She was my theater mom, and I owe my career to her.
5. You’ve been an actor for several years. What has been your favorite role?
My favorite role is always the next role, honestly. I love the challenges of diving into a new person, figuring them out, and falling in love with them—and exploring new characters feels like falling in love. But strictly speaking, Ophelia in Hamlet (at The Gift Theater directed by Monty Cole) may have been the most cathartic and challenging. My father had just passed that summer and playing a woman who loses herself in the grief of her father was really visceral and scary, but that excited me. Monty is also one of my favorite directors to exist, The Gift is my artistic home, and Shakespeare was how I started acting—so that role meant an indescribable amount to me.
6. What is your favorite part about being in All-American: Homecoming?
It feels like I’m participating in history. These stories, it’s an honor. The characters and their relationships feel monumental to me simply because we’re at an HBCU and representing culture.
7. Tell us a little bit about your character on the show?
Keisha is trouble, there’s no doubt about it. She’s a very strong and intelligent woman who isn’t afraid to stand on all ten toes and say “This is who I am, this is what I believe, and I’ll fight you if you have a problem”. She’s a pre-med major with an intense passion for dancing and a deep love for those she allows into her life. She’s the type to give you the shirt off her back—but also tell you how you can get your own shirt so we don’t have to do this again. She hits very close to home. I adore her.
8. On your Instagram, it’s clear you’re a big fan of Japanese anime. What are your favorite shows/movies?
Ah man, there are so many good ones. In terms of classics, Trigun hands down, it gives me hope and serves the retro style and storyline I adore. Inuyasha was my first anime crush, so Yashahime has also been nostalgic and sweet. My big brother Eric introduced me to Demon Slayer because he thought Nezuko reminded him of me so that show holds a lot of sentiment (my brother honestly is the reason I watch anime at all). Of course Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online, they both make me terribly anxious but I can’t stop watching them. The Boondocks isn’t Japanese but it makes me laugh like nothing else, it feels like an intersection of culture for me. Guilty pleasure watch is fully Ouran High Host Club, don’t judge me on that, I’m a romantic!
9. What’s your dream role?
I think my dream role is whatever thing is next. Getting to act is already such a dream, but I’m always dreaming about what story I get to tell next. There isn’t a definitive narrative to the dreams, but I do love playing characters who would never be in the same room together.
10. What’s next for Netta Walker?
We’re gonna see! Hopefully, I can scam my way into some exciting movies or into some provoking plays in New York. I’ve dreamed of being on Broadway for as long as I’ve wanted to an actor, so fingers crossed that happens! I never know what’s next honestly, my career has lowkey felt like a fever dream. But I’m so excited to see what the future holds.
Rupaul’s Drag Race, the hit competition series on VH1 revolving around drag queens, recently entered its fourteenth season. Fourteen new queens have set foot in the workroom over the span of two episodes, each from very different backgrounds and upbringings. Some are pageant queens (participants in drag pageants, similar to beauty pageants) and some are club queens (queens known for performing in clubs). Either way, they want to snatch the crown. Here is everything you need to know about this season’s competitors.
Alyssa is this season’s only Puerto Rican queen, though many queens from the island have been successful in the show, including Yara Sofia, Alexis Mateo, and Cynthia Lee Fontaine. Hunter competed in, and won, all four of Puerto Rico’s biggest pageants, and became known for her sense of fashion.
Angeria Paris VanMichaels
VanMichaels hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and is a pageant queen. Described as a “Southern Belle serving fierce fashion and face with a country charm,” Angeria already appears to be a frontrunner in the competition with a mini- and maxi-challenge win under her belt (and all in one episode).
Bosco, from Seattle, has a lot to live up to given she’s from the same city as Drag Race royalty Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme. Bosco identifies as the “demon queen” and “skanky alternative girl” from Seattle. Her drag character is seductive and elusive, and she takes a lot of inspiration from movie villains. She considers herself a “millennial Elvira.”
Daya Betty, the drag daughter of season 12 runner-up Crystal Methyd, is notable for her punk rock aesthetics. Betty has already produced several intriguing looks, including a stone bust look for her Entertainment Weekly interview.
DeJa Skye is a camp queen from Fresno, California. She has a passion for, “food, makeup, and everything fabulous.” She works as a dance and cheer instructor during the day, so you’ll know she’ll produce some sickening dance moves on the main stage.
Kennedie is this season’s only New York representation. In interviews with her competitors, the other queens noted her to be the season’s most dramatic queen, so it’ll be interesting to see how she’ll do.
Jorgeous, from season 14, is both the youngest competitor (21) and the shortest. She’s a fashion queen from Tennessee, popular as a club queen as well as being a noted dancer.
One of the many Los Angeles-based queens to come out of this season, June Jambalaya is originally from Jacksonville, Florida, and is influenced by the South and The Real Housewives franchise, the latter being where she crafted her drag persona.
Colby, self-described as an “otherworldly ‘alien’ goddess from the ‘7th dimension,’” is notable as a pageant queen and the drag daughter of Sasha Colby, a famous drag queen and winner of Miss Continental 2012. She’s also a member of the Haus of Colby, a popular drag family. Known for her beautiful visage, she is a clear contender for the crown.
Kornbread “The Snack” Jete
Kornbread is a camp queen popular in the LA club circuit. She first gained internet notoriety acting in the videos of popular sketch comedian Brandon Rodgers playing various characters. Beloved amongst other LA queens for her energy and fun personality, it’ll be intriguing to see where this season takes her.
San Francisco’s Lady Camden, originally from Camden town in England, is a British queen known for being ladylike in her fashion and choreography, but bawdy in her humor. A ballet dancer, she once performed in Smuin ballet. She is also the third ever queen from San Francisco (the other two being Rock M. Sakura and Honey Mahofany) and is the show’s oldest contestant at 31.
Morphosis, from Arkansas, is by far the most controversial queen of the season, and one of the most controversial contestants of all time in the series, for being the first cisgender straight man to enter the competition. Many fans of the show have spoken against her for this reason, given Drag Race is known as a safe haven for members of the LGBT community. She currently has a partner, who is also a drag queen, and worked at Target before entering the competition.
Michigan camp queen Orion Story describes her drag style as “chaotic,” and “what you get when you put Barbarella on a runway on Sesame Street.” She also won Miss Michigan Drag Queen of the Year, and is the first Michigan queen to grace the runway.
Willow Pill is a comedy and camp queen from Denver, known for her offbeat sense of humor and surreal performances, such as in “Digital Drag Show,” a trippy, weird video on her Youtube channel. She is also the drag daughter of season 11 winner Yvie Oddly.
TV icon Betty White has passed away due to natural causes in her home in Brentwood, California. She was 99 years old, 17 days from becoming a centenarian.
White is widely considered to be a “national treasure.” Her presence was a fixture in the television and movie industry with a career spanning seven decades. Her first time working in entertainment was a recording at a radio station in 1930 when she was eight years old. Originally hoping to become a park ranger, she found her love of performance and was a radio talent in the mid-1940s. Soon after, she transitioned to television with a daily live variety series: Hollywood on Television with Al Jarvis, which aired for five and a half hours, six days a week for four years, cementing White as a daily presence for Americans.
She later became widely known for series’ such as Life With Elisabeth, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and various others. She had four incarnations of The Betty White Show, a talk show hosted by herself, each being short-lived. She’s arguably best known for Golden Girls, a series following older single women in Miami, which lasted from 1985-1992. White received critical acclaim for her role as sweet, naïve Rose Nylund. She was also in Hot in Cleveland, which lasted from 2010-2015. She was 93 by the time the show ended.
A producer on Life With Elisabeth, she was the first woman to have a major voice in the television industry. Among her many accolades, White won five Primetime Emmy Awards, two Daytime Emmy Awards, a Grammy award, three American Comedy Awards, and many more. White is the only woman to have received an Emmy in all performing comedic categories and holds the record for longest span between Emmy nominations for performances – her first was in 1951 and her last was in 2014 – a span of over 60 years.
White was a popular contestant and host for several game shows. She was on programs such as Match Game, Password and To Tell the Truth. She became the first woman to garner a Daytime Emmy when she hosted Just Men! In 1983.
White was an adamant supporter of LGBT rights and POC rights. Many Southern television stations boycotted the second incarnation of The Betty White Show due to the inclusion of a Black cast member, Arthur Duncan. Not only did she keep the character in the show, she raised his screen time and made a public statement telling naysayers: “Live with it.” An avid friend of closeted homosexual Liberace, she once said directed at homophobes: “Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.” Additionally, White dedicated significant philanthropic energy to animal rights causes.
Many people spoke out on her death, including President Joe Biden, who called her a “lovely lady” and a “cultural icon.” Many other celebrities commented on her passing, including Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, Conan O’Brien, and country musicians Bill Anderson and Naomi Judd. Anderson stated, “I had the privilege of working alongside Betty White on many occasions back in my game show days of the late ’70s and early ’80s. We appeared together on Match Game, Tattletales, and Password Plus, and she always went out of her way to make me feel welcome. She kept us all laughing with her incredible sense of humor, while at the same time always performing as the consummate professional. I feel so honored to have known her.” Judd stated, “Betty and I worked together at American Humane Association. We shared our passion rescuing abused animals. She may have looked like she’d just come from a bridge party, but then she’d crack a joke with a sexual innuendo. She was one of my role models. I also knew her late husband, Alan Luden when I was a contestant on Password.”
White had no children of her own, but is a stepmom to three children: David, Martha, and Sarah. Much beloved as an American pop culture icon, Betty White will certainly be missed.
The 2021 “People’s Choice Awards” were held on December 7, 2021, where the best in movies, television, music and pop culture were awarded exclusively by the votes of fans. The “People’s Choice Awards” were hosted by actor and comedian Kenan Thompson, and the award show broadcasted live from Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA on both NBC and E! at 9PM ET/PT.
Honorees of the night included the Academy Award-winning actress, director and producer Halle Berry, who was named “The People’s Icon.” The one and only Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was honored with “The People’s Champion” award, and icon Kim Kardashian West received “The Fashion Icon” award. For the first time, the “Music Icon” award was given out and honored to Aguilera.
The 2021 “People’s Choice Awards” winners are as follows:
At a major crossroads in her life, the usually ambitious and determined Lindsay Hubbard is hesitant on what her next steps are. After being friend-zoned by Austen in Vermont, Lindsay continued to date Jason in the city until she experienced the biggest personal drama in her life yet. Unsure if she wants to continue things with Jason or date around this summer, Lindsay is confronted by some of her housemates that her “Hot Hubbs Summer” behavior might be getting a little too hot.
Paige DeSorbo is living her best life. Soon after leaving Vermont, her long-term crush Craig Conover became single and she doesn’t lose the opportunity to explore a potential relationship with him. However, upon entering the summer, Paige learns that her past-fling Andrea will also be joining the house and she is eager to see if their chemistry is still as hot as before. She is definitely smitten with both of these men… but after learning Craig might be hooking up with a well-known celebrity, she has no issues showing him that she has plenty of options of her own.
Last summer, Kyle Cooke and fiancé Amanda were doing better than ever, but living and working together for the past year has clearly taken its toll and the two hit their lowest point yet. Being that this is the last summer before he ties the knot, Kyle is determined to go big or go home. With many of the housemates already doubting their wedding will even happen, Kyle is forced to get his priorities in check or he could end up going home…alone.
Keeping busy by working and raising a litter of puppies, Amanda Batula has been doing everything and anything but wedding planning. With only a few weeks until the big day, her pre-wedding glow is dulled by her and Kyle’s continuous fighting and drama. Amanda is soon faced with the toughest decision of her life… either walk down the aisle or call off the engagement for good.
Carl Radke has become the best version of himself after a difficult summer last year. His career is thriving and he is focusing on his physical and mental health by working out and meditating daily. Excited to explore a whole new world of sober dating with hopes of settling down, Carl has multiple potential romantic connections throughout the summer. Will he fall in love or fall apart?
Feeling like she was working too much and not having much control over her life, Danielle Olivera quit her corporate job to take a big risk, not only financially but personally. Although she and boyfriend Robert are still going strong, they have been finding it hard to put their relationship first and this summer could be what makes or breaks them.
After living in Georgia her entire life, Ciara Miller has applied for her New York nursing license and found an apartment in the city, but soon finds herself homesick. She has been dating a few different guys in New York, but is faced with a difficult decision when a love interest from her past visits the house.
Finally moved on from Ciara, LukeGulbransonwants to have a summer filled with fun…and romance. No stranger to love-triangles, Luke finds himself getting pulled into different directions throughout the Summer and once again has his fair share of drama.
New to the Hamptons, but no stranger to this group of friends, Andrea Denver is excited to spend the summer with Paige. Soon after entering the house, he learns that she might have something romantically going on with someone he considered to be a close friend. And although his first instinct has always been to play the field, Andrea is determined more than ever to find the right girl to bring home to Italy.
Mya Allen, a restaurant consultant who runs a cookie business on the side, likes to keep things sweet. After breaking up with her long-term fiancé during quarantine, Mya joins her friend Paige for a summer she’ll never forget. She is taking her time to find her next man and wants to have fun and let loose…And what better place than in the Hamptons?
Born in Hong Kong, Alex Wach relocated to the United States as a child, and has lived in New York since he was 12. As a fitness instructor, Alex’s priorities include eating healthy, working out and looking good. Will he be able to keep up with this party crew?
“Summer House” is produced by Truly Original, with Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh, Lauren Eskelin, Jamie Jakimo, Trish Gold and Maggie Langtry serving as Executive Producers, and by Left Hook Media, with Matt Odgers and Scott Teti as Executive Producers. Sean Clifford also serves as Executive Producer.
About Bravo Media:
Bravo is the premier lifestyle and entertainment brand that drives cultural conversation around its high-quality, interactive original content across all platforms. The network features a diverse slate of original programming, including Emmy Award-winning “Top Chef” and “Project Runway,” along with fan favorites “Vanderpump Rules,” “Below Deck,” “Southern Charm,” and the highly popular “Million Dollar Listing” and “The Real Housewives” franchises. Bravo also boasts the only live late-night talk show on television with the critically acclaimed “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” which has become a nightly destination for A-list celebrities. Bravo is part of the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming portfolio, which includes NBCU’s broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms: NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids, USA Network, and Peacock.
Laverne is set to interview, celebrate and generate a remarkable experience with all of the honorees and celebrities in attendance. The show is set to commemorate and honor all forms of entertainment, exclusively chosen by the public. “Live from E!: 2021 People’s Choice Awards” will provide an extensive amount of content from the show, on digital and across mobile and social.
Vote for the People’s Choice Awards HERE or on Twitter.
About Laverne Cox
Laverne is a four-time Emmy-nominated actress and Emmy winning producer. Known for her landmark role of Sophia Burset in Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black,” Laverne has had a groundbreaking career. The role of Sophia Burset helped Laverne become the first openly transgender woman of color to have a lead role on a mainstream scripted television series. She can also be seen in the Oscar-winning film “Promising Young Woman,” hosting “The Laverne Cox Show” podcast and as an Executive Producer of the documentary Disclosure.
TELEVISION ACADEMY FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Netflix Vice President of Overall Deals, Series Nne Ebong and Freeform Executive Vice President of Programming and Development Jamila Hunter Join Board of Television Academy Foundation
The Television Academy Foundation today named two new members to its board of directors: Nne Ebong, vice president, overall deals, series at Netflix, and Jamila Hunter, executive vice president of programming and development at Freeform, Disney General Entertainment’s young-adult network. Ebong and Hunter have been elected to three-year terms, effective immediately.
“We are thrilled to welcome Nne Ebong and Jamila Hunter to our board,” said Cris Abrego, chair of the Television Academy Foundation. “We look forward to implementing their collective expertise and strategic guidance in the Foundation’s future plans for educational programming and community outreach to help build a more inclusive and diverse television industry.”
As vice president of overall deals, series at Netflix, Ebong is responsible for leading the development of series under creative partnerships with Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland and President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, among others.
Prior to joining Netflix, Ebong was creative lead at Wiip, a global film and television studio. During her time there she played an integral role in the studio’s efforts to identify, develop and produce projects for the cable, streaming, and international marketplace, including HBO’s The White House Plumbers starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux and Amazon’s The Summer I, Turned Pretty created by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Han.
Ebong has been honored by the “I Have A Dream” Foundation, Los Angeles. She serves as a Big Sister through The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. She is also a mentor for Who’s in the Room, a program launched by Time’s Up to help diversify the executive and producer ranks throughout the industry.
As executive vice president of programming and development at Freeform, Jamila Hunter oversees all scripted and unscripted development and current originals for Disney General Entertainment’s young-adult network. She returned to Disney in 2020 after acting as president of Khalabo Ink Society, Kenya Barris’ production company. Prior to this, Hunter was senior vice president of ABC Comedy where she oversaw the development of all network sitcoms. Under her leadership, ABC launched the highly rated reboot of Roseanne and The Conners. Before stepping into this role, Jamila was vice president of ABC Comedy where she worked on projects ranging from Emmy-nominated black-ish to Last Man Standing. Prior to joining ABC, she worked her way up the executive ranks through various roles in comedy, alternative, and digital programming at NBC, Bravo, OWN, and 20th Century Fox Television.
Hunter is also on the board of the Ghetto Film School and HBCU in Los Angeles, two organizations that share the Foundation’s focus on innovating ways to diversify the talent pipeline. In addition, she works with Women in Film and Arts for LA and serves as a peer group advisor for the Television Academy’s Executive Peer Group.
New York City’s Comic Con is a key annual fan event dedicated to Western comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, movies, television and more. First held in 2006, this classic event was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, devastating fans who look forward to this mainstay of popular culture. Yet this year, Comic Con made its triumphant return, though it looked a little different in the attendance of both its exhibitors and fans. 360 MAGAZINE got the full scoop from well-versed fan Rodney Ramlochan on how this event has changed. He offers comments on the good, the bad, the Covid, and the in between for 360 readers. Read Ramlochan’s full testimony below:
To say that I love New York Comic Con is an understatement. For over a decade, as a pop-culture geek, I’ve enjoyed the fantastic guests, panels, original art, unique exhibitors, industry merchants, and one-of-kind exclusives. It has always been one of my favorite events to cover, and as a die-hard fan, I was deeply disappointed that the pandemic caused last year’s convention to go virtual. However, I was thrilled to hear that the event was coming back in person this year. Since much had changed over the past eighteen months, I thought it would be cool to experience the event as a fan rather than cover it as press. I also wanted to test-drive ReedPop’s Metaverse membership for ordering in-person tickets and focus on the overall fan experience, including Covid safety precautions and notable differences between this year and cons from yesteryear. Here are my post-Comic Con impressions.
I purchased tickets a few months ago in July using the MetaVerse presale process. Of course, this was before the uptick caused by the Delta variant strain. I didn’t expect any issues with purchasing online as I’ve never really had a problem buying 4-day or single-day passes in the past. Still, I was interested in trying out the new Metaverse Membership that gives you first access to NYCC badges, photo ops & autographing tickets. My mission this year was to get both an autograph and photograph with William Shatner, epic space captain of the Starship Enterprise and now a real-life astronaut. In addition to getting first dibs on NYCC in-person tickets, the Superfan membership allows you to buy MCM Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, and C2E2 tickets. You can also get paid digital experiences, exclusive access to video content and celebrity panels, access to exclusive NYCC merchandise online.
The Superfan Membership process was relatively seamless. I signed up at the end of June using the Metaverse Membership email and bought tickets using a dedicated link on my profile page within a few days. I purchased single day passes for each day of the convention, and I was contacted for the opportunity to purchase photo ops and autographs in addition at the end of September. Overall, I’d say the membership was worth it. It’s perfect for the fan who would rather have a more significant window of time to purchase tickets. Outside of remembering to click on the notification reminder emails and follow the presale, photo ops, and autographs links, ordering is straightforward. There are no worries about getting tickets for the exact days you want to attend. If you are good with the allotted time frame afforded by the standard ordering process, then paying for the Superfan membership may not be beneficial at this time. However, I do wonder what the future holds for purchasing tickets in the future. Suppose the Superfan method of buying in-person tickets becomes more popular. Will it impact the standard order process and make it more challenging to obtain single-day passes post-pandemic? Only time will tell.
As far as Covid safety protocols, enforcement, and logistics, the ReedPop and the Javitz Center team did a great job managing this. Before attending, I was uncertain why New York Comic Con needed a partnership with CLEAR Health Pass. Especially since vaccination proof was a requirement for attending and could be validated using vaccine cards and existing apps like the NY Excelsior Pass. In hindsight, standardizing the application that everyone uses for admission was a smart move. At the very least, it streamlined the process and expedited entry for most. I picked up my green ReedPop vaccine wristband at the Javitz Crystal Palace a few nights before opening. It took me less than 5 minutes to show the CLEAR app and retrieve the band, and in many ways, this process foreshadowed the overall feel and attendance for the convention. NYC began requiring proof of vaccinations in early September, and the event was following suit. The mandate may have impacted attendance, as I read many social media comments from individuals that stated they wanted to return or sell their tickets because they didn’t know the vaccine would be mandated before purchasing. But, as a whole, most people in attendance complied with the requirements. I was there all four days and only encountered two individuals not wearing masks on the main floor. I didn’t notice security enforcing the mask mandate, but I did hear that a vendor and few individuals had been removed from the showroom floor for not following the rules. At my William Shatner autograph and photo ops sessions, plexiglass partitions protected Shatner and the fans. Partitions were used at all reserved signings and photo op sessions. According to ReedPop, 150,000 paid in-person attendees were at the event this past weekend compared to 250,000 in previous years. Even with 100,00 fewer people, this was the largest indoor in-person event held in New York since 2019, showing a great evolution from where things were at the start of the pandemic. It was good to see that all of the proper safety protocols were in place.
One of the most significant differences between this year’s Comic Con and past shows was the notable absence of large exhibitors like Disney, Marvel, DC, Image, Sony, Amazon, SYFY, and distributors like Funko and Midtown Comics. Of course, it didn’t come as a surprise, as we had been receiving no-show notices practically every week leading up to the event. I’m sure it deterred some folks from attending, but I think it helped provide a unique experience for those who did. It minimized the crowd and offered other smaller exhibitors an opportunity to showcase their properties and spend more time with fans. As a result, I spent a lot more time than I would typically have at smaller booths. For example, I met the great folks at Plunderlings, a boutique toy line presenting a fresh take on fantasy universes from a Caribbean perspective. Although some of the major players weren’t present, there was an excellent turnout for anime fans from Toei Animation, Funimation, VIZ Media, and Tamashii Nations. Without having to compete for floor space, it seemed as if their exhibits doubled in size. If you were a fan of these companies, it was probably the first time in years that you could casually stroll through their exhibits without waiting in line. Although it was less crowded, the show floor did not feel empty. As expected, Saturday and Sunday saw an increase in volume of attendees, but nothing compared to the previous years.
One of the most extraordinary changes this year was the unveiling of the new Javits Center expansion project. It took a few minutes to figure out exactly where floors 4 and 5 were, but once you found them in the building adjacent to the old center, you were treated to the fantastic skyline and river views on the way up to the panel rooms and the new Empire Stage. There were a few blockbuster live panels, including Ghostbuster and The Boys; however, many panels like Sandman Act II and Wheel of Time were pre-recorded videos. I did sit in on the Sandman panel, but post-viewing, I felt a bit underwhelmed – watching a video of writer Neil Gaiman, audiobook director Dirk Maggs, actor James McCoy (who voices the title character), and actor/filmmaker Kevin Smith (who voices Merv Pumpkinhead) was not the same as seeing them in person. In addition, ReedPop introduced a new reservation system for the larger panels instead of the “badge tap-in” process used in the past. I have mixed feelings about this, as it didn’t appear that anyone’s reservations for the panels were being checked. It may have been because there was excess capacity remaining at the events I attended. However, I will note that the folks at the Tamashii Nations booth to purchase their exclusive Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Son Goku figure did check for reservations.
Overall, expanding the panels to the new venue resulted in two significant outcomes. First, it allowed more space to return to smaller fan-focused panels, which featured creators interacting with their fandom instead of pitching major studio events. Second, moving the panels out of the main building allowed for Artist Alley to take back a prominent role I felt it had lost over the past few years. This year, the Alley was front and center, featuring principal mainstays like Fabian Nicieza, Chris Claremont, Rob Leifeld, and Scott Synder amongst many others. I especially enjoyed chatting with Ben Bishop, one of the key artists on TMNT’s The Last Ronin.
Undoubtedly, many of this year’s Comic Con changes resulted from how best to host an event during a pandemic, but many of the changes also focused on improving the fan experience. As a result, NYCC 2021 felt more like the NYCC of 2011, but with a few notable improvements. Creators were able to connect more with their fandoms, fans were able to stop and appreciate exhibitors and artists more, and ReedPop unveiled a few new processes to streamline crowd control and help fans maximize their time at the event. It wasn’t perfect, but as a fan, it exceeded my expectations, and I’m even more looking forward to a pandemic-free NYCC next year.
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