It’s 2019 and the message of diversity, inclusion, and representation is still an ongoing battle that Zoe Saldana is taking head on through BeSe!
On Thursday, April 4 influencers, guests and celebrities came together for BeSe Conversations: Breaking Glass at The York Manor. The evening consisted of thought-provoking conversations with three amazing women pushing boundaries, moderated by Willow Smith.
BeSe is a new media platform, created by actress Zoe Saldana, that represents communities that have been left out of mainstream discourse for too long. The mission is to broaden and reshape popular narratives by celebrating the untold stories of today’s changing America. BeSe respects all identities and admires the people who have the courage to say, “this is who I am.” Breaking Glass is a series specifically geared towards celebrating Latino trailblazers that are breaking cultural boundaries. Model, Jillian Mercado, dancer, Samantha Barriento and DJ Riobambo are three women of Latina descent that refuse to be shaped by society’s standards. The series highlights their journey and ongoing mission to live outside of the box.
Upon entry to the trendy, beautifully architected York Manor, attendees were greeted by the sounds from DJ Jasmine Solano. Guests dined and mingled and were sure to grab the signature, interactive cocktail from Mezcal El Silencio. El Silencio revived the ancient art of mezcal, pioneering a unique approach and delivering the hand-crafted spirit to a new generation of creative drinkers and cultural innovators. I, of course, had to try this innovative cocktail which had a unique process. The mineral, smokey, intriguing spirit was poured into a ball of ice which was then broken down as cinnamon was lightly sprinkled over it. It was an exceptional drink, even in its purest form.
Later in the evening, Saldana introduced the series as guests were treated to the screening. We were able to get a peek into the lives of three strong-willed women, working to break barriers, essentially breaking the glass. Mercado mentioned the importance of taking back her narrative and not having her story told for her. As a physically disabled woman bound to a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, Mercado challenges beauty ideals in the fashion industry. She is eager to fight the lack of representation of people with disabilities in the fashion industry and their enduring stigma. Initially, her goal was to work behind the scenes with a focus on hiring talent that is typically underrepresented, however before she knew it, she was in front of the camera. Her modeling success captured the attention of IMG Models President Ivan Bart and landed her a modeling contract with IMG in August 2015.
When Smith asked the women what breaking glass means to them, DJ Riobamba responded, “ if you get a seat at the table it’s like, who can we bring with us and like, let’s not just have a seat at the table, let’s set it on fire!” That is precisely what BeSe intends to do!
Be sure to check out the live stream on BeSe’s Facebook account @Bese or check out posts on their Instagram @bese.