STARZ #TakeTheLead Promotes Authentic API Representation w/ CAPE

Written by Mas Moriya, Edited by ChatGPT

In a landmark occurrence captivating the entertainment industry, STARZ, in collaboration with the Coalition of Asian Pacific in Entertainment (CAPE), orchestrated the much-anticipated #TakeTheLead Transparency Talk. This assembly of industry figureheads, policymakers, and advocates examined the critical importance of authentic representation for Asian and Pacific Islander narratives in media and entertainment’s realm. Taking place at the London Hotel, the event illuminated the progress being made and the future challenges.

STARZ’s Initiative

Jennifer Minezaki-Washington, EVP of Corporate and Brand Communications at STARZ, guides the #TakeTheLead initiative. This program stands as a change catalyst, kindling discussions about representation and inclusivity within the industry. Jennifer Minezaki-Washington underscored diversity programs’ significance in forming more balanced and inclusive narratives during the event, shining a spotlight on STARZ’s collaborations with organizations like CAPE, both entities showing unwavering commitment to promoting representation in entertainment.

Panel Discussion: Moderation and Participants

The CNBC reporter, Seema Mody, moderated the panel discussion, which featured a diverse lineup of voices. These individuals, ranging from established actors to influential executives, offered valuable insights into the industry’s evolving landscape and the need for authentic storytelling.

Zoe Chao, recognized for a role in the popular TV show “Party Down,” emphasized genuine on-screen representation’s necessity. Through an Instagram profile, Zoe Chao accentuated the opportunities and challenges Asian and Pacific Islander actors encounter, stressing the power of recognition and the internet and social media’s role in promoting quality work.

Jeremy Tran, the Executive Director and COO of Gold House, underscored industry diversification’s importance. Referencing films like “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” as examples of barrier-breaking projects with universal appeal, Jeremy Tran urged the allotment of budgets to diversity, equity, and inclusion, beyond mere fractions of marketing budgets. Jeremy Tran staunchly advocated that authentic stories’ success connects with audiences well beyond specific communities, pressing the industry to acknowledge the potential commercial and critical impact of underrepresented narratives.

Kristian Fanene Schmidt, the Executive Director of PEAK, delivered a unique perspective on the influence of religion and colonization on Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Kristian Fanene Schmidt underlined Hollywood’s reflection of wider societal issues like white supremacy, emphasizing the need for authentic narratives challenging the prevailing norm.

Charlene Joy Jimenez, the Director of Entertainment Partnerships & Advocacy at Define American, stressed the shared responsibility of allyship in creating a more inclusive industry. Charlene Joy Jimenez highlighted allyship as a collective effort involving continuous discussions and bridge-building among all stakeholders, emphasizing collective action’s importance in dismantling barriers and nurturing progress.

Sanjay Sharma, the Founder and CEO of Marginal Mediaworks, reminded attendees of deeply rooted stories’ impact in marginalized communities. Sanjay Sharma commended the rekindled interest in narratives reflecting Asian and Pacific Islander communities’ culture and diaspora worldwide, advocating for the industry to welcome audience diversity and challenge the perception of a predominantly white audience, acknowledging the considerable potential for commercially and critically successful storytelling.

Partnerships and Collaborations: The Way Forward

The STARZ #TakeTheLead Transparency Talk manifested the transformative power of partnerships and collaborations.

Organizations such as CAPE, Marginal Mediaworks, Gold House, and PEAK stood at the forefront of this event, demonstrating unwavering dedication to promoting diversity and authentic representation in the entertainment industry.

CAPE, led by Executive Director Michelle Sugihara, has championed Asian and Pacific Islander representation for years. Their collaboration with STARZ in the #TakeTheLead initiative demonstrates a shared vision for empowering underrepresented voices and dismantling systemic industry barriers.

Sanjay Sharma, the force behind Marginal Mediaworks, plays a pivotal role in the movement for diverse representation. With a nuanced understanding of the evolving media landscape, Marginal Mediaworks commits to providing a platform for narratives and creators traditionally overlooked or marginalized, actively seeking underrepresented voices to challenge industry norms.

Gold House, represented by Jeremy Tran, is a non-profit collective of diverse leaders dedicated to empowering Asians to succeed. Gold House’s initiatives enhance the societal impact of Asian and Pacific Islanders, aiming for authenticity, success, and community well-being. These efforts contribute to dismantling barriers and increasing representation in mainstream entertainment.

PEAK, under the leadership of Kristian Fanene Schmidt, focuses on advancing Pacific Arts and its artists, both in New Zealand and globally. PEAK amplifies Pacific voices and creates more spaces for Pacific Islander narratives within mainstream entertainment. Their dedication to inclusion and representation catalyzes industry change, fostering a more diverse and culturally rich media landscape.

The Impact and the Future

The STARZ #TakeTheLead Transparency Talk served as a catalyst for change, reinforcing the shared mission to construct a media industry that embraces and celebrates the true diversity and vibrancy of the global community. By fostering dialogue, education, and action, this event provided a platform for industry figureheads, policymakers, and advocates to address the challenges and opportunities of authentic representation.

As the entertainment industry evolves, the discussions ignited by events like the #TakeTheLead Transparency Talk resonate beyond a single occurrence. They inspire ongoing efforts to amplify underrepresented voices, challenge stereotypes, and craft more inclusive narratives. Acknowledging the power of storytelling and embracing the collaborative spirit of partnerships can move the industry towards a future where authentic representation is the norm, not the exception.


In conclusion, the STARZ #TakeTheLead Transparency Talk, in partnership with CAPE, set a new standard in the industry’s journey towards authentic representation. The shared vision of industry figureheads, the commitment of organizations like Marginal Mediaworks, Gold House, and PEAK, and the advocacy of the panelists underscored the transformative power of partnerships in driving diversity, inclusivity, and meaningful change. This collective effort paves the way for a more inclusive and vibrant entertainment industry, one that truly reflects the diverse stories and experiences of global audiences.

Thank you to Michelle Sugihara of CAPE for inviting Strong Asian Lead to this event. 

Keywords: STARZ #TakeTheLead, Transparency Talks, CAPE, diversity in entertainment, Asian and Pacific Islander narratives, authentic representation, industry diversification, inclusivity, Zoe Chao, Jeremy Tran, Kristian Fanene Schmidt, Charlene Joy Jimenez, Sanjay Sharma, Jen Minezaki-Washington, Seema Mody, Gold House, Marginal Mediaworks, PEAK, Define American.