It’s always powerfully refreshing and super-inspiring to see Black women in leadership roles, especially when they call the shots at a legendary corporation (once valued at $2.7 billion) at the forefront of Black entertainment and culture. And while we have a long way to go in terms of equity, especially in CEO roles, it’s important to give the flowers due to those who are setting the tone today, breaking boundaries and paving the way.
With decades of combined experience under their belts, these women in leadership at BET Media Group, the parent company of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and VH1, to name a few, wear their crowns smartly, proudly and boldly. Talk about taking up space!
We caught up with three of them to get the gist on the day-to-day of their roles, the morning routines that lay the foundation for a winning day, and why they truly love what they do:
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Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
BET Media Group
Kimberly Paige develops marketing strategies across BET Media Group to drive brand support, consumption, and advocacy. From BET Digital and 360 Marketing to brand creative, she’s tasked with making sure business objectives are met, communities are engaged, and the brand is able to deliver on the goal to “advance Black Love, Black Joy, Black Pride and Black Power.
”Every day, I look forward to doing meaningful work that matters and partnering with teams across BET and Paramount, as well as external partners to help take our relationship with our audience and consumers to the next level. We have the luxury of really serving our community and being unapologetic and intentional about that."
On impact: “I hope to leave a legacy that I delivered strategic and bold marketing that left our brands stronger than when I found them. I hope to be remembered as a fair and visionary leader that advanced my team’s capabilities and made them feel like anything is possible, and most of all, that we had fun while making an impact along the way.”
Morning traditions: “I try to work out to clear my mind and get ready for the day. However, every day that I wake up, I drink tons of water and turn on my music to set the tone for what will be an amazing day ahead!”
“I value the advice that I received on the fact that great leaders operate with high emotional intelligence and are visionary, fair, and decisive.”
On sustaining success: “It is pivotal to learn and study the business in which you are striving to thrive. Don’t become too focused on the 'shiny' things, but rather learn your craft and use your authentic voice early and often. Most of all, I encourage aspiring marketers to be open to sponsors who can advocate on your behalf when you’re not in the room.
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General Manager and Executive Vice President
BET Studios & BET Media Group
As general manager and EVP of BET Studios, Aisha Summers-Burke works collaboratively with BET Media Group’s president and CEO, Scott Mills, to create opportunities for rising content creators to create TV series and films for large internal buyers and other third-party platforms. She also works with the team to come up with plans to provide equity ownership to Black creators, oversees the contemporary creative content across multiple platforms, and helms the expansion of its production and impact by finding strategic synergies with the studio’s creative external and internal partners.
“My ultimate goal is to produce inspiration and relevant conversations for Black audiences through entertainment and empowerment."
On the one top thing she loves about her job: "By working with an amazing pool of talented Black content creators across TV and film, I get the opportunity to nurture someone’s personal story and life experiences into beautifully original content that is both captivating and creative. As the demand for premium content from Black creators increases, it is a joy to share these stories from people of all walks of life and differing points of view from an often-underrepresented perspective. My job is humbling, empowering, and challenging, as our teams and partners are constantly mining to find that next experience we can all resonate with personally."
On building impact: "My career and personal legacy goals are tightly entwined. I hope to be an example of what is possible without limitations. As a parent of young twins, I particularly want my daughter, and all young girls of color like her to see me and say, “I can do that!” If they see a strong, confident, successful Black woman who is achieving her dream through hard work and dedication, I hope they will grow up knowing that the only limits they will face are those they set for themselves."
Her morning at-work must-have: "I always enter my office with a large cup of coffee and my twins’ schedule pulled up on my phone. … It is critical for me to prioritize my day before it officially begins to protect my peace of mind and to attempt at a manageable life/work balance."
"Find your tribe. This business is still a challenge for people of color. It is essential to find a small support system built on trust whose feedback you value, who can help you survive your successes and failures, and who challenges you to simply never give up."
Her advice to up-and-comers: "As an older millennial (ahem), I believe networking with your peers is more relevant and beneficial than constantly trying to network 'up.' As I mentioned, creating a tribe is extremely important and, in many cases, it is the people within your peer group that have shared experiences and become part of your support system, if you are lucky enough to have years in this business ahead of you."
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CONSTANCE ‘Connie’ ORLANDO
Executive Vice President of Specials
Music Programming, Music Strategy & News
BET Media Group
Constance Orlando’s role involves developing BET Media Group's music strategy that reflects the opportunities for music and music talent across the full array of BET Media Group’s businesses and initiatives. “I love being immersed in every aspect of Black culture. BET sits at the unique intersection of content, community, and culture, whereas we are able to celebrate, honor, educate, and in some cases create cultural moments that live forever.
"I love being surrounded by so many brilliantly creative people and joining forces to create groundbreaking moments that only BET can create. Not only do we get to celebrate culture, but we also get to create it!"
On legacy: “I would love to be seen as someone who was always true to celebrating and broadening the way people view, understand, and appreciate Black culture globally."
The morning essentials: “I always start the day with God and gratitude. I pray and give thanks for another day to evolve, create, and leave an impact on this world. It is important not to get lost in what I do and how much I can do, as it’s more important to feed who I am becoming."
Best advice from a mentor: “Be myself. I’ve learned that it is important to avoid trying to emulate or lead like anyone else. We all have a unique superpower that only we can bring to a space, and it is in the layers of this authenticity that innovation and success is birthed."
Advice for women aspiring to work in corporate entertainment: “Bring your best, as work ethic is always rewarded and pays off in the long run. I also encourage you to explore new ways to do things and be curious forever.”
Featured image by Cecilie_Arcurs/Getty Images
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood