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February 14, 2024   •   4 min read
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Employee Stories

Celebrate Black History Month: Why the Work We Do Matters

The Walt Disney Company is committed to celebrating and inspiring a more inclusive world through the creation of authentic stories, experiences and products that capture the imagination of all people.

Disney is celebrating Black heritage throughout February and beyond by shining a light on Black stories and voices across the company, and honoring the creativity and resilience of Black creators, storytellers, and magic makers.

Meet Jan, Nzinga and James who are bringing audiences some of the most captivating stories in sports and culture across Disney Entertainment and ESPN. Learn more about how they are celebrating Black History Month through their careers and why the work they do matters.

Meet The Panelists

Jan | VP, Marketing Partnerships, Promotions & Multicultural | Disney Entertainment and ESPN

Nzinga | Executive Producer - Race & Culture | ABC Owned Television Stations

James | Coordinating Producer II | ESPN

What are you most looking forward to this Black History Month?

Jan: I love being the power and spirit of “Community.” Getting to know people that I work with every day or just happen to pass by on a daily basis. I also look forward to celebrating this month with my “Sister” circle of friends and our contributions as Black Women to this company. There are numerous black creatives and marketers who have not yet had a chance to shine or been given a platform to showcase their gifts and skills. I am using this month to remind them of their worth and value. We also have an amazing series called “Iwájú” releasing on Disney+. It is a love letter to Lagos, Nigeria, and I am so excited for people to watch it when it releases on Disney+ on February 28.

Nzinga: What I am most looking forward to this Black History Month is being in the community with our fellow cast members during various events and activations throughout the month. It has been so rewarding to foster connections over the years as we have worked to further amplify Black voices and explore ways to better connect with Black consumers. This is a time to reflect on our heritage, resilience, culture, powerful stories, and societal contributions. I feel as though we all believe in the importance of celebrating our community not just for a month but throughout the entire year.

James: I'm really looking forward to spotlighting some of the lesser-known athletes, stories and contributions made by Black athletes, coaches and leagues in sports.

Why does the work you do matter?

Jan: The work that I do matters because I matter. Young girls and boys need to see leaders who look like them so they know that anything is attainable, especially in the entertainment industry. Disney is a brand that is centered around storytelling and magical experiences for consumers around the world. Those stories and experiences need to consistently represent the diaspora of cultures around the world.

Nzinga: The work that I do matters so much because you see the impact it makes in the lives of our audience and the communities we serve. Being able to tell stories of historically underrepresented, and now we are saying underestimated voices matter because it allows communities to own their narratives. I have learned a lot myself from being able to executive produce some of our ABC Owned Television Stations Our America specials and our ABC On the Red-Carpet Storytellers Spotlight, which has been an absolute honor.

James: I think the work I do matters because telling stories and informing viewers about compelling stories is important and also fun.

What advice would you share with the next generation of storytellers and innovators?

Jan: To the next generation I say, don't ever give away your confidence... That is too much power for someone to have over your life. Know your worth and your value!

Nzinga: My message for the next generation of Black leaders, storytellers, and creators is: Understand your worth. It's so important to believe that you are worthy of greatness. That mindset can change the trajectory of your life. Seeing a lack of positive representation while growing up can shape how you perceive yourself. Therefore, we must empower the younger generation by emphasizing their value in family, home, community, and society.

James: I would advise the next generation to use these opportunities and platforms to inform and educate viewers about individuals and experiences that have helped shape our journey as Black people in sports, business, and the world at large.

Join Disney in celebrating Black History Month in a variety of ways.

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