In this new video series, host Cherry Davis will speak with mentees and mentors from WOCUnite and #StartWith8Hollywood, about their writing journeys, how they got involved with the mentorship program and so much more!
Women of Color Unite (WOCU) is a social action organization focusing on fair access, fair treatment and fair pay for women of color in all aspects of the entertainment and media industries.
In an industry that hides behind the myth of “meritocracy” but in reality functions on personal connections, the #Startwith8™ initiative connects well-established industry mentors to eight Women of Color working in the entertainment industry each. Together, they formulate a plan of action based on what each mentee desires and what is achievable by the mentor to create tangible progress in the mentee’s career. The end goal: no more excuses. By fostering organic diversity, the indefensible precept “I don’t know any Women of Color who I can hire,” will never be heard again.
"Djaka is a natural storyteller and I've been honored to get to know her through the amazing Startwith8Hollywood program. I'm not sure how she manages to successfully wear so many hats with such composure and positive energy, but I'm learning through her example. Djaka has a lot of great projects under her belt and I know she will continue to create inspiring and important projects as her career continues to grow." - Jessica Hargrave, Producer
It’s hard to break into Hollywood especially when you’re a woman of color from another country. Djaka Souaré knows that first hand as an immigrant from France who is a woman of West African & French descent. She grew up loving movies especially classic Film Noir because of her father’s vast collection of VHS tapes with classics like ‘Casablanca’ and ‘The Godfather’. Djaka childhood had her surrounded by her creative parents who loved Jazz, art and allowed her the freedom to dream big. Those dreams had her writing from an early age and culminated in her play being produced and touring. As she grew older she pursued being in front of the camera where she’s acted in drama and comedies but her desire to create content that’s diverse and representative has her directing, writing and producing. Her passion has had her crisscrossing the globe where the multi-lingual talent speaks her native tongue of French, English, Spanish, and conversational Mandarin. As a nomad she’s worked around the world but the siren call of Hollywood has her settling in the city that never sleeps.
Since moving to Los Angeles from NYC right before the Covid-19 pandemic has put some of her projects on hold but before that, she was auditioning and booking roles. She recently starred in HULU's Black Stories Present: Imagine a Moon Colony directed by Phillip Youmans (TriBeCa 2019 Award winner) and she wrote/directed Jazz in Wakanda a short film that premiered at Urban World, Nitehawk shorts & New Filmmakers LA. She met Cheryl Bedford who told her about the JTC List and WOC Unite co-founded with Thuc Nguyen and the StartWith8Hollywood Mentorship Program. Djaka was selected for the 1st round cycle where she’s made a strong connection with her mentors Jessica Hargrave (Producer) and Davida Chanel Smith who is now managing her.