BET Media Group Emmy FYC House with Deon Cole, Diarra Kilpatrick, Ms. Pat, CEO Scott Mills and more!

BET Media Group Emmy FYC House with Deon Cole, Diarra Kilpatrick, Ms. Pat, CEO Scott Mills and more!

An evening with the creatives and talent behind BET Media Group’s hit television series and live variety special including “America in Black,” “Average Joe,” “BET Awards 2023,” “Celebrity Squares,” “Diarra From Detroit,” “Kingdom Business,” and “The Ms. Pat Show.”  Attendees had the opportunity to experience pieces of their favorite shows including the thrilling murder-mystery puzzle in “Diarra from Detroit,” to the chase for millions in “Average Joe,” and the raw and real comedy in “The Ms. Pat Show.” 

At the evening reception, 20-time Grammy winner Kirk Franklin, joined by Serayah, surprised the audience with a special performance of their Emmy eligible song, “That Way” from Kingdom Business.

Special Appearances By: 

Scott Mills, CEO of BET Media Group

Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams, Lead Actress “The Ms. Pat Show”

Mary Lou Belli, Director, “The Ms. Pat Show”
Diarra Kilpatrick, EP, Creator, Writer, and Lead Actress, “Diarra from Detroit”

Robi Reed, Casting Director, “Average Joe, Diarra from Detroit, The Ms. Pat Show” 
Cynthia McWilliams, Supporting Actress, “Average Joe”

Deon Cole, Lead Actor, “Average Joe”
Kirk Franklin, Composer, “Kingdom Business” 
Jordan E. Cooper, Director, “The Ms. Pat Show”

D.C. Young Fly, Host, “Celebrity Squares” 

Oz Scott, Director “Kingdom Business”  

Miles Orion Feldscott, Executive Producer, “Diarra from Detroit”
Bryan Terrell Clark, Supporting Actor, “Diarra from Detroit”

Chioke Nassor, Director, “Diarra from Detroit”

Nathan Mathew David, Composer, “Diarra from Detroit”

Kenya Barris, Executive Producer, “Diarra from Detroit”

Panel 1 - “Women of BET”

The evening’s first panel started with a brief opening from CEO Scott Mills, who highlighted the amount of Emmy-eligible content from the year and the amazing work on display. Next up was moderator Aisha Summers-Burke, who introduced the rest of the panel.

Diving straight in, Robi Reed started by talking about her love for the casting process. For her, it’s such a great experience, as she loves actors, reading with them, and helping them find their way to the parts that are right for them. Robi also talked about the things that make it a better experience across the board, namely working with Directors and Producers who also love and understand the casting process.

Director Mary Lou Belli was up next, talking about the authenticity and trust she hopes to bring into a new season. For season 4, the show was tackling a bit more about the family, exploring the dynamics and Ms. Pat’s role as matriarch. Speaking to the differences between her work on this show and Kingdom Business, Mary Lou explained how things have to be staged differently for comedy.

Diarra Kilpatrick talked about her breadth of roles on Diarra From Detroit, emphasizing her intention to make something life-affirming. She also mentioned the origin of the story, wanting to make a story centering around a black, female, Private Investigator. Another part of this was the true story of a boy who disappeared in Detroit.

Ms. Pat shared a bit about the tonal balance required for the show, talking about how it reflected her real life. Additionally, she expressed appreciation for BET, as they allowed the show to explore some dark and real subject matter. Speaking further to her appreciation for the network, Ms. Pat noted that she loved that BET and BET+ let her be her full authentic self.

Cynthia McWilliams talked about her acting process on the show. For her, it always starts with the script, as it provides the road map, even when she decides to take fun detours. From there, she gets inspired, thinking through all the little details and working with insanely creative people to make them happen. Cynthia also talked about how much each person on the panel inspired her.

With that, the warm and funny panel came to an end.

Panelists:

Diarra Kilpatrick – Creator, Executive Producer, Writer Star (Diarra From Detroit)

Cynthia McWilliams – Supporting Actress – “Cathy Montgomery” (Average Joe)

Mary Lou Belli – Director (The Ms. Pat Show)

Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams – Creator, Executive Producer, Star (The Ms. Pat Show)

Robi Reed – SVP, Talent and Casting (BET Networks)

Panel 2 - “How We Made It” Creatives Panel

DC Young Fly kicked the panel off, sharing a bit about his past work doing live programming, something that really prepared him for the pre-recorded work on Celebrity Squares. This helped him to focus more on bringing his personality to the show. He also talked about the different journeys everyone on stage had taken, and the importance of not giving up.

Kirk Franklin, with his storied work in music, talked about his gratitude for BET and being able to try new things. Kirk loved the experience of crafting an original song for the program, tying it to the story of the show. Kirk also talked about the evolution of BET, appreciating being able to see the evolution into what it is today, with its broadness of ideas and commitment to great talent and storytelling.

Director Oz Scott talked about his directing history, including his background in improv and theater.  He brought these past experiences to Kingdom Business, using music as a road map for the show. Oz also talked about the importance of coming from the heart with your work and his love for learning and teaching.

Jordan E. Cooper reflected a bit on his journey, jumping straight from a college student to the Co-Creator and Director on The Ms. Pat Show. He also talked about his experiences with other networks, who weren’t able to connect with or even understand the cultural roots of the show. Finally, Jordan talked about the importance of comedy, how it serves as a kind of trojan horse, pushing us forward while making us laugh.

Actor Deon Cole talked about his work on Average Joe, and how it differed from his other, more comedic projects. As a comic, Deon is always on, so it was a real challenge to stay in the miserable world his character occupied. Deon also expressed gratitude for BET+, reflecting on his experience in white-run shows, with everything all the way to hair and makeup oriented only towards white talent. At BET, things were different.

After a lot of fun and informative conversation, the panel came to an end.

Panelists:

DC Young Fly – Host (Celebrity Squares)

Kirk Franklin – Executive Producer & Original Music (Kingdom Business)

Oz Scott – Director (Kingdom Business)

Jordan E. Cooper – Co-Creator & Director (The Ms. Pat Show)

Deon Cole – Lead Actor (Average Joe)

Diarra From Detroit
Emmy Official Special Presentation

Kenya Barris started things off talking about Diarra herself, and how from their first meeting, he could see that they were meant to work together. For him, in just talking to Diarra, he could see her clear vision. Kenya also expressed gratitude for BET for allowing the team to create exactly what they wanted to, something a lot of other studios