Photo courtesy of Newark Symphony Hall

 Newark Symphony Hall (NSH) announces today the exclusive fireside chat with Tina Knowles Lawson it hosted last fall is broadcasting on NWK-TV, as well as streaming on NSH’s Facebook and YouTube pages, on February 28 at 9 p.m. ET. Lawson, famed designer, philanthropist and co-founder of WACO Theater Center, talks with Mikki Taylor, Essence magazine’s editor-at-large, Newark native and author, about the challenges and opportunities for Black women in the arts.

“Both of my children, if it were not for the performing arts community centers that they went to as kids, they wouldn’t be the entertainers that they are today,” said Lawson to Taylor during the fireside chat and in an article for Essence.

The event was conceived by NSH President and CEO Taneshia Nash Laird, who is the sole Black woman leading a performing arts center in New Jersey.

“Being able to host this event at Newark Symphony Hall is a testament to not only the importance of Black history, but Black culture and storytelling in the arts,” said Laird. “Through the interview with Ms. Tina, we were able to emphasize the value of support and camaraderie in the Black community among women and encourage individuals to connect to their roots and express their stories as it pertains to their personal histories.”

Filmed at NSH’s expansive, legendary Terrace Ballroom in September 2021, “The Tea with Ms. Tina Knowles Lawson” was an invite-only, hour-long event with 100 attendees, where Knowles Lawson discussed the importance of Black art, Black culture, her newest projects, and more. Prudential Financial served as the event’s presenting sponsor, and United Airlines and H&M were supporting sponsors. J+D Legacy Consulting, LLC produced the show from footage that was filmed during the event.

“It was an honor to produce an event in partnership with Taneshia Nash Laird that focuses on Black women in arts, and transform footage originally from an intimate in-person event into a special broadcast presentation,” said Sonji Joyner, co-founder and principal of J+D Legacy Consulting, LLC.

In addition to this event, NSH is partnering with Lawson’s WACO Theater Center on a production titled “Black Terror”. Written by Newark-native Richard Wesley and originally produced by Joseph Papp for the Public Theater in 1971, this retelling is a play-on-film with a bi-coastal cast directed by Richard Lawson, a veteran actor of stage and screen who is also co-founder of WACO with his wife. “Black Terror” will premiere later this year.

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