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KingstOON Animation and Film Festival Focusing on Diversity in Animation

Programs organized around the event’s theme include panels ‘Diversity in The Media Industry,’ ‘Black Women in the World of Animation,’ and ‘The Creation of ‘Hair Love’ – From Script to Screen;’ Free online programs kick off on April 21.

The 2021 edition of the KingstOOn Animation and Film Festival will be held online April 21-25. This year’s theme focuses on diversity in animation. Already a hub for Afrocentric content, the event will extend its reach in 2021 and explore other areas of diversity such as gender and inclusivity. Three sessions have been organized around the themes of diversity and cultural inclusion within the media:

Diversity in The Media Industry:

Saturday, April 24 at 12 noon EST

“The media influences us all from a very early age, the music we listen to, the books we read, the films we watch and the video-games we play – these become our frames of reference and so it is crucial that the characters and messages in media reflect as much as possible the diversity that exists in the world,” noted KingstOOn’ s animation specialist, Robert Reid

Panelists will discuss the subject of inclusion and minimizing disparity in content creation.

Panelists include:

  • Jay Francis - Disney VP of Current Series, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Camille Eden - Nickelodeon VP of Recruiting and Talent Development at Nickelodeon


  • Mounia Aram - Founder and president of The Mounia Aram Company, a production and distribution house that markets African animation stories, movies and series to international audiences.

Black Women in the World of Animation:

Sunday, April 25, at 12 noon EST

In a field dominated by white males this panel shines a light on the personal experiences of four notable and prominent black women in the world of animation and their commitment to increasing opportunities for women and minorities.

Panelists include:

  • Melanie Goolsby – Netflix
  • Sonya Carey - Founder of The Animation Lounge
  • Kimberly Wright - Sesame Street Workshop
  • Pilar Newton - Pilar Toons


  • Taylor K. Shaw - Founder and CEO of Black Women Animate, a visionary creator, writer, and activist who lobbies for representation across the media landscape.

The Creation of Hair Love – From Script to Screen:

Wednesday, April 21, at 11:15 am EST

A conversation with the production team at Lion Forge about the 2020 Oscar winning story of a father’s struggle with his daughter’s hair in the film Hair Love.

Panelists include:

  • Carl Reed and David Steward II - founders of Lion Forge Animation
  • Everett Downing Jr., Matthew Cherry and Bruce W. Smith – co-directors of Hair Love
  • Pearl Low - story artist and illustrator of Hair Love


  • Kenia Mattis - co-founder & CEO ListenMi Caribbean

Registration for KingstOOn is free and can be accessed at here.

Source: KingstOON Animation and Film Festival