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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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