Aspiring Creatives Hear from Black Professionals Who Bring Music to TV and Film

  • Panelists DeMarco White, Taura Stinson, KAVOS, and Keith Wilson

    Panelists DeMarco White, Taura Stinson, KAVOS, and Keith Wilson meet for Harmony of Diversity panel to speak about diversity in the music and film industries. (Sonia Gurrola / CSUN)

  • Panel speakers discuss their experiences in their jobs with CSUN students after the panel.

    Panelists KAVOS and Keith Wilson talk with CSUN students about the film and music industries. (Sonia Gurrola / CSUN)

On Feb. 15, a panel of Black creative professionals who work at the intersection of music and film and television shared their experiences and passion for the industry with the CSUN students working to become the next generation of creative voices. 

The panelists, who have won awards for their work as they collaborated with some of the biggest names in entertainment, also discussed why it’s important to include a diverse group of voices. 

“It makes projects better, it makes art better, because diverse people and voices naturally enhances whatever story you are telling, because at the end of the day, we as humans, we all have fear, hopes and dreams,” said KAVOS, who has worked with Taylor Swift and TV creator Seth MacFarlane.

The panel, called “Harmony in Diversity: Celebrating Black Voices in Film and Television Scores,” featured accomplished musicians such as Keith Wilson, Taura Stinson and panel moderator DeMarco White. Cinema and Television Arts department (CTVA) majors from a wide range of interests — including producers, directors and composers — came to the Armer Theater to learn about possible career paths from an accomplished group of industry professionals.

Each of the panelists discussed their experiences entering the film and music industries as well as the obstacles they faced when starting their careers.

Keith Wilson, director of music creative production at Netflix, stated how his passion for music drove him to success in the industry regardless of the challenges he faced along the way. “I enjoy music, I enjoy being in the studio,” he said. 

Taura Stinson, who wrote songs for television shows and movies such as “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” and “Carmen,” discussed how her passion continued to inspire her to pursue her dream of having a music career and talked about her passion for making music for movies and television. 

“Score speaks to me like a story, the feeling it gives you, that’s part of the story. Having your story drives you as a creator,” she said.

The panelists also discussed diversity in their industries and the importance of adding different perspectives and experiences into stories. 

“We can’t truly be united in the world if we aren’t sharing our stories through different perspectives,” said White, client services manager for the Recording Academy, an academy for musicians, producers and other musical professionals, most known for the Grammys,   “There are different perspectives of each story. So not one person or one group should have the jurisdiction to tell a story in a certain way.”

Nate Thomas, the CTVA professor and head of the film production option, said it is important to highlight the need for diversity in the music and film industry.  

“For the last hundred years, this industry has not matched the diversity of this country,” Thomas said. “In all aspects of the job market, the workplace and of society, you have to respect the people, and we are a diverse nation.”

Jaylin Young, a freshman CTVA student pursuing a career in production, expressed his desire to tell stories and his appreciation for diversity in the music and film industry. 

“It helps us to see other types of stories, between different households and cultures,” he said.

The event was organized by California State University Entertainment Alliance and CSUN’s CTVA department, and was sponsored by Starz.


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