All of the most anticipated events of the year have gone virtual, including Variety’s ‘Power of Women’ luncheon. This year, the publication reimagined the event as the ‘Power of Women Conversations Presented by Lifetime’ summit, in an effort to honor women “executives, producers, and talent who create content that inspire and promote social good.”
The two-day summit has already spawned incredible moments amongst some of the most influential women of our time. During the ‘Black Female Creators Roundtable,’ Grown-ish actress Yara Shahidi discussed white privilege and how being denied basic freedoms have impeded on Black folks’ inventiveness.
“One of the ills of white supremacy is it takes away our ability to be genuinely imaginative,” she said. “You still manage to be, but if you think about how often our potential is cut short — not because we don’t have the ability, but because it takes so much to get through a day, to maneuver just the ability of what it means to be on set, what it means to fight for equity — you don’t have the same time and space to just go reflect on ‘What’s the randomest dream you want to see fulfilled?’ And I think that’s something that we’re constantly fighting for in these images of Black women. It’s the idea of… let us live in the most random versions of ourselves.”
In a separate chat, titled the ‘Women in Music Roundtable,’ Ethiopia Habtemariam (president of Motown and EVP of Capitol Music Group) insisted the compassion of women is especially necessary during these difficult times, while Ty Stiklorius (John Legend‘s manager) talked biases still existing in the music industry.
“There is something about the level of empathy that we have as women, right? An emotional intelligence to really be there for our teams during this time, and the need for that,” Habtemariam said. “People look to the places that they work more now than ever, to have that level of understanding and a place to lean on in the midst of everything that’s happening in their world or at home.”
“We’re seeing clear bias from whoever’s coming up with the playlist,” Stiklorius asserted on behalf of women artists. “Having managed Alanis Morissette at one point, I remember looking at Spotify and seeing the rock in the ’90s playlist. I counted out of 160 songs on the rock in the ’90s playlist, only six of them were women and Alanis Morissette was not even on it. And she has the biggest selling rock album of all time for women.”
“We’re going to keep seeing bias in these spaces unless we constantly hold ourselves accountable to the data and understand where we are,” she continued.
Get into that conversation via the clip above and stay tuned for more from Variety.