Producer, host, actor, and Chicago-native Troy Pryor led a roundtable discussion featuring BET Networks President of Media Sales Louis Carr, founder and principal of management venture capital firm XD Technology Xavier Hernandez, and physician, best-selling author, and television host Ian Smith, M.D. In partnership with Yellowbrick Impact.
Actress, playwright, educator, arts advocate, and Chair of the Board of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) Nikkole Salter led a virtual conversation featuring dancer, choreographer, and teacher Dianne McIntyre, award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, and recording artist Carl Hancock Rux, playwright and director Octavio Solis, and playwright and stage director Chay Yew.
Meet the Speakers
Troy Osborne Pryor is an American producer, host, and actor. His collaborations have led to award-winning projects and content with ABC, Warner Brothers, TruTV, HGTV, DIY Network, TV One, and Aspire TV.A Chicago native, Troy is an advocate for connecting local, undiscovered diverse talent to mainstream content and media platforms through his production network, Creative Cypher and the various brands under his chief company, Pryor Holdings. Troy was the youngest person ever to be elected to SAG-AFTRA Chicago’s Board of Directors and was a mentor for President Barack Obama’s White House project, A Call to ArtsHis with SAG-AFTRA.
As a former collegiate athlete, Troy was a record-breaking powerlifter and linebacker for the University of Illinois. As a Chicago Scholars 35 Under 35, Ariel Investments/WVON 40 Game Changer, Black Enterprise TCX Fellow, and ADColor nominated Innovator of the Year, Pryor has a tenacity for innovation and big-picture, strategic thinking.Still very much grounded in the values of his church family, he continues to spend his time ministering, mentoring, and coaching as he strives daily to reach his full potential.
Dr. Ian Smith is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling books, SHRED: THE REVOLUTIONARY DIET, SUPER SHRED: The Big Results Diet,BLAST THE SUGAR OUT, The Clean 20, THE ANCIENT NINE, CLEAN & LEAN, and eleven, other books with millions of copies in print. His newest book—THE UNSPOKEN, the first installment of his Ashe Cayne mystery series,will be released on October 1st, 2020. He is currently the solo host of the nationally-syndicated, Emmy award-winning television show, The Doctors, and a longtime medical contributor to Emmy award-winning The Rachael Ray Show.
Dr. Smith’s work has been honored by several organizations, including the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his coverage on the momentous events of September 11th, 2001. He is also very active in charitable causes. Dr. Smith has also served on the boards of the American Council on Exercise, the New York Mission Society, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, The New York Council for the Humanities, and The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.
Louis Carr has been with BET Networks for 35 years, serving as the President of Media Sales for the last 19 years. During his tenure with the company, Carr has transformed the multicultural space for some of the world’s biggest brands. Through strategic partnerships with corporations like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, McDonald’s, General Motors, Facebook, Apple, and many more, he has been a guide and a consultant on opportunities that exist within black and brown communities. Through his deep understanding of linear TV and digital and social platforms, he has made BET Networks the number one brand and choice for Black consumers. Carr’s mantra, “Be led by data and insights,” has driven BET to have the largest repository of information on Black consumers than any other media company worldwide. His understanding of this data has inspired him to create content and messages that help marketers sell products and services and help them become good corporate citizens.
Xavier Hernandez, Principal / Owner of management venture capital firm XD Technology, oversee the day-to-day growth and expansion of 4 companies. Bringing 25 years of business experience in managing fortune 500 companies, creating and overseeing training projects, talent acquisition, grant writing, sales growth and expansion.
As an active workforce fiduciary for fortune 500 companies and private investment firms, Xavier works with businesses of all sizes that want to grow or expand operations in the age of digital disruption. He puts the welfare and best interests of the operation and its shareholders above his own personal or other business interests.
Meet the Speakers – Shape Shifters: Join Leaders Who Are Remixing History
Author of over 20 plays, Octavio Solis is considered by many to be one of the most prominent Latino playwrights in America. W
ith works that both draw on and transcend the Mexican-American experience, he is a writer and director whose style defies formula, examining the darkness, magic and humor of humanity with brutal honesty and characteristic intensity.
His imaginative and ever-evolving work continues to cross cultural and aesthetic boundaries, solidifying him as one of the great playwrights of our time. Octavio Solis is a playwright and director.
Carl Hancock Ruxis
Carl Hancock Ruxis an American poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, actor, director, singer-songwriter. He is the author of several books including the Village VoiceLiterary Prize-winning “Pagan Operetta,” the novel, Asphalt, and the Obie Award-winning play, Talk. Rux is also a singer/songwriter with four CDs to his credit, as well as a frequent collaborator in the fields of dance, theater, film, and contemporary art . Notable collaborators include Nona Hendryx, Toshi Reagon, Bill T. Jones, Ronald K. Brown, Nick Cave, Anne Bogart, Robert Wilson, Kenny Leon, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Jonathan Demme, Stanley Nelson Jr., Carrie Mae Weems, Glenn Ligonand others. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Doris DukeAward for New Works, the Doris Duke Charitable Fund, the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Prize, the Bessie Awardand the Alpert Awardin the Arts, and a 2019 Global Change Maker award by WeMakeChange.Org.His archives are housed at the Billy RoseTheater Division of the New York Public Library, the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institutionas well as the Film and Video/Theater and Dance Library of the California Institute of the Arts. Mr. Rux is also co-Artistic Director of Mabou Mines.
As playwright, his work has been produced at the Royal Court (London), Public Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Manhattan Theatre Club, Long Wharf, La Jolla Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Portland Center Stage, East West Players, Dallas Theatre Center, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Fattore K (Naples), La Mama (Melbourne), Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center (Shanghai), Four Arts (Kuala Lumpur), TheatreWorks, Singapore Repertory Theatre, Toy Factory, Checkpoint Theatre, (Singapore), amongst others. For his plays, he received the London Fringe Award for Best Play, George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting Award, GLAAD Media Award, and Robert Chesley Award. His plays are published by Grove/Atlantic. As a director, his New York credits include the Public Theater, Playwrights Horizon, New York Theatre Workshop, Signature Theatre, Playwrights Realm, Rattlestick, Ensemble Studio Theatre, National Asian American Theatre, and Ma Yi. Regionally, he directed for the Humana Festival, Goodman Theatre, AmericanConservatory Theatre, Berkeley Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Huntington Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Rep, Woolly Mammoth, Long Wharf, Denver Theatre Center, Tanglewood, amongst others. He is a recipient of the OBIE Award for Direction. An alumnus of NewDramatists, he edited an anthology of Asian American plays, Version 3.0, for TCG Publications. From 2011 to 2020, he was the Artistic Director of Victory Gardens in Chicago. For his leadership, he was awarded the Iris Award for Outstanding Commitment to Connecting Chicago Communities and the Arts, and the Impact Award for Bold and Inclusive Artistic Leadership.
Dancer choreographer, director, historical researcher established her dance/music company Sounds in Motion in 1972 –touring internationally and operating a studio in Harlem which was a hub for artists of all disciplines to gather. She choreographs for concert dance, theatre, opera and film. Her idiosyncratic movement style rises from dance training, collaborations with prominent “jazz” musicians and growing up in Cleveland where everyone in the community danced.Besides her own companiesshe has set works on Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dancing Wheels, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and numerous university ensembles. Signature dance works include: Take-Off from a Forced Landing, Life’s Force, Deep South Suite, Their Eyes Were Watching God.Theatre choreography: Broadway, London’s West End, New YorkPublic Theater, New Federal Theatre, Karamu House, Crossroads Theatre Company and over40 regional theatres.Her screen choreography includes Belovedand Miss Evers’ Boys, receiving an Emmy Award nomination. Other awards include a Doris Duke Artist Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Doris Duke United States Artists Fellowship, and honorary degrees from SUNY Purchase and Cleveland State University.McIntyre creates dance-driven dramas developed through her interviews: I Could Stop on a Dime and Get Ten Cents Change (stories from her father) and Open the Door, Virginia!(1950s Virginia civil rights). Celebrated artist in music, theatre and film she has worked with include Olu Dara, Lester Bowie, Amina Claudine Myers, Cecil Taylor, Regina Taylor, August Wilson, Ntozake Shange, Bartlett Sher, Marion McClinton, Douglas Turner Ward, Des McAnuff, Oz Scott, Irene Lewis and Jonathan Demme.Her recent film choreography is Hal Kingand recent opera,Intimate ApparelbyLynn Nottage and Ricky Gordon for Lincoln Center Theater.
Hailed by Variety as “thoroughly convincing”, Los Angeles-born, OBIE Award-winning actress and writer Nikkole Salter arrived onto the professional scene with her co-authorship and co-performance (with Danai Gurira) of the Pulitzer Prize nominated play, IN THE CONTINUUM (ITC). For its Off-Broadway run at Primary Stages and the Perry Street Theatre and for its US State Department and Bloomberg sponsored inter-national tour, Ms. Salter received an OBIE Award, and the NY Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Award for Best New American Play, the Seldes-Kanin fellowship from the Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Global ToleranceAward from the Friends of the United Nations to name a few. Ms. Salter also received Helen Hayes and Black Theatre Alliance nominations for Best Actress for her performance. ITC, published by Samuel French, was pronounced by New York Times, Newsday and New York Magazine as one of the best plays of 2005 and was featured in numerous esteemed media outlets including Essence Magazine, American Theatre Magazine, theLos Angeles Times and NPR’s Leonard Lopate Show. ITC has received over 20 productions across the worldto date.