Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance Hosts Entertainment Leaders at Skirball Cultural Center

Tavis Smiley kicked off the event with impassioned remarks about Black and Jewish history and the current moment

Los Angeles – The Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance (BJEA) hosted an event at the Skirball Cultural Center to revisit the Civil Rights era and recommit to the historical bonds that have shaped the two communities’ relationship. To celebrate Black History Month, the event featured 150+ artists, producers, managers, and executives from the Black and Jewish communities.

Following a welcome ceremony, the group toured “The Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement.” The exhibit features 150 photos taken by Civil Rights insiders showcasing the vital work of a broad coalition of organizers and everyday people whose collective action changed America. Included in the exhibition are intimate photos of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and Rabbi Abraham Heschel.

Before the tour, Tavis Smiley, Talk Show Host and Author; Autumn Rowe, Grammy-award Winning Songwriter and Activist, and Cory Litwin, Music Manager and BJEA Director shared remarks.

Tavis Smiley said, “I believe that Martin Luther King, Jr. is the greatest American that this country has ever produced.” He added, “Dr. King’s close relationship with Rabbi Abraham Heschel stands as the quintessential example of what is possible when Black folk and Jewish folk work together.” And that, “the fact you have to go back 6 decades to come up with an example of us working together is a damning indictment on the ways we’ve fallen short”. Smiley closed with “if our conscience doesn’t tell us that this type of alliance isn’t the right thing to do, in this moment, then I shudder for our future.”

Autumn Rowe said, “as someone who is Black and Jewish, growing up in the South Bronx, I didn’t feel like I had a community.” And that, “I’m so grateful to the BJEA because I now feel like I’ve found a welcoming community who looks like me.”

Cory Litwin, BJEA Manager said: “this alliance came about as industry leaders realized that our two communities are stronger when we stand together. This event is an especially important one for Black History Month to highlight our two communities’ long history, shared values, and common interests.”

Photos available here

Photo credit: Daniel J. Sliwa


 The Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance (BJEA) is the first initiative by Black and Jewish entertainment industry leaders dedicated to building bridges between their respective communities and countering institutional racism and antisemitism. To learn more, please visit: