Tarabu Betserai Kirkland

Tarabu is the last of Mamie Kirkland’s nine children and has been developing the “One Hundred Years From Mississippi” project for the last several years.

Tarabu hails from Buffalo, New York and resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Tarabu’s background as a Media Artist, Producer and Administrator includes twenty years in Public Radio having served as General Manager of radio station KPFK-FM in Los Angeles, Assistant Manager of KPFA in Berkeley where he co-founded the Third World Media Department and helped establish national radio training programs for producers of color, and General Manager of the Community Information Network.

He is also the author and composer of the musical “Jukebox” which stared Danny Glover, author and producer of the stage play “Ritual of a Bop Solo,” producer of the stage play “Jungle Bells,” and producer and musical co-director for the National Public Radio drama “Quiet Thunder,” and has been the writer and producer for numerous radio documentary projects and video industrials.

In addition, Tarabu has worked in the cultural and social service sector as the Director of Programs at A Place Called Home, Managing Director of Great Leap, Inc., and Managing Director of the Black Theatre Artists Workshop.

Gina Rugolo

Gina Rugolo Judd


Gina Rugolo Judd runs her own talent management and production company Rugolo Entertainment in Los Angeles. Previously, she was a partner at Rigberg Rugolo Entertainment and worked at Relevant Entertainment. Rugolo Judd began her management and producing career at More Medavoy Management.

Prior to becoming a talent manager, Rugolo Judd was a leading entertainment publicist at Geller and Associates. Rugolo Judd’s clients included Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madeleine Stowe, Dermot Mulroney and Marisa Tomei. She also worked on publicity campaigns for clients featured on iconic television series such as “Twin Peaks”, “Melrose Place”, “thirtysomething”, “LA Law”, and “Friends.” Rugolo Judd’s current management clients include Laura San Giacomo, Lara Flynn Boyle, Amy Irving, Barry Shabaka Henley, Lin Shaye, Vincent Spano and exciting young actors including April Hernandez-Castillo (Dexter), Toni Trucks (Seal Team ) and Jon Beavers (The Long Road Home).

Rugolo Judd has also been a successful producer for many years. She served as a co-executive producer on the hit comedy series “Just Shoot Me” on NBC. She was an executive producer on the series “Getting Personal” with Jon Cryer and Duane Martin. In features, she produced “Ringmaster” for Artisan Films and co-produced the critically acclaimed independent feature “Twist” which premiered at the Toronto and Venice Film Festivals. Rugolo Judd is an executive producer on the recently released film “Dreamkatcher” starring Lin Shaye, Henry Thomas and Radha Mitchel and she is also a producer of the upcoming horror feature ‘The Call.”

Barry Shabaka Henley

Barry Shabaka Henley

Barry Shabaka HenleyVeteran actor Barry Shabaka Henley draws from a rich history of acting in many high profile films, television shows and theatre productions. He most recently appeared in the hit Oscar-nominated film “A Star is Born” with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. He is currently starring in the new CBS Chuck Lorre comedy “Bob ♥ Abishola,” and ABC’s Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Shabaka can also be seen appearing with Eddie Murphy in the upcoming biographical comedy “Dolemite is His Name”, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, to rave reviews.  Perhaps the biggest testament to Henley’s talent is his professional collaboration with director-producer Michael Mann, who has cast him in multiple projects including his films, “Ali,” “Collateral,” and “Miami Vice” as well as the HBO’s series “Luck” starring Dustin Hoffman. Henley’s other film work includes starring in the big budget hits “The Terminal”, “Rush Hour”, “Patch Adams”, “How Stella Got her Groove Back”, “Bulworth” and the “Carrie” with Chloe Moretz. Born in New Orleans, Henley currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

Cassandra Chowdhury

Cassandra Chowdhury


Cassandra is an editor, producer and the co-founder of Mindfruit Studios. Though her career started in commercials and music videos, Cassandra has refocused on documentary and educational content and seeks with each of her projects to make people think more compassionately about the world around them. Cassandra has worked with such clients as National Geographic and the Endangered Species Coalition.  In 2018 Cassandra was selected as a fellow at the International Wildlife Film Festival due to her deep commitment to educational media.


Derek Nakamoto

Derek Nakamoto has been a Producer in the Music Industry for more than 30 years. He recorded and performed with Hiroshima of Epic Records. With June Kuramoto, he co-wrote one of the band’s signature songs “Thousand Cranes.”

Throughout his career, Derek has worked with industry legends including: Herb Alpert, Whitney Houston, The Jacksons, Michael Bolton, and New Order. He produced Teddy Pendergrass’s Truly Blessed and The O’Jays’s For The Love. Both records received Grammy nominations.

Derek’s most notable collaboration is with Contemporary Jazz Pianist Keiko Matsui. Their collaboration spans 23 albums. Notably, Doll, Sapphire, and Dreamwalk solidified Keiko as a force in the Contemporary Jazz genre.

Internationally, his works can be heard in Waldemar Bastos’s Classics of My Soul which features the London Symphony Orchestra and Yoko Fukimoto’s (of Kodo) debut album Morissa Komorissa. With Yoko, Derek was commissioned to arrange “Horanero Nennero” which was performed with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also recorded with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Tokyo Symphonic Orchestra with Japanese recording artist MARTH.

Derek recently completed an original score for the PBS documentary Norman Mineta and His Legacy. He is currently arranging orchestral music for MARTH to be recorded and filmed in Prague at Smetana Hall.


James Seligman

James Seligman



When James met Mamie in 1986 he fell in love with her and became passionate about telling her life story. He made a lifelong commitment to capturing events, documenting history, interviewing people from all walks of life, and telling stories that enrich our lives, reflect our diverse cultures and provide understanding and inspiration. From the inception of this film, until he took his final breath on December 21st, 2017, James contributed his enormous talent and creativity to this project. His irreplaceable vision will forever guide us.

Andres Alegria

Andres Alegria


Andres is a major pillar in the Latino media community; a multi-talented editor, producer, and community activist.

Andres Alegria began his career as a producer of news, documentary and cultural radio programming. He produced and hosted programming for 10 years for public radio focusing on Chicano and Latin American affairs. Since then he has been a television editor and producer for over 30 years with credits that include national and local news, documentaries and nationally syndicated programs for all the major networks both commercial and public. In addition to producing independent films and videos, he is currently V.P. of Post and Operations for Hoff Productions, a major producer of factual television programming for U.S. and international markets. Andres and Tarabu were two of the original founders of the Third World News Bureau in the early 1970’s, one of the first media outlets operated by people of color in the U.S.


Lynda Obst

Lynda Obst

Lynda Obst

Lynda Obst is one of Hollywood’s best known and most successful producers. She has made over 20 movies and TV shows at almost every studio over the course of her long and prestigious career.

Her credits include the Christopher Nolan directed Interstellar, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Contact, Hope Floats, One Fine Day, Sleepless in Seattle, The Siege, The Fisher King, Adventures in Babysitting, and Flashdance amongst others. In television, Lynda was Executive Producer on the hit Nat Geo limited series based on Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone, Amazon’s Good Girls Revolt, TVLand’s Hot In Cleveland, SyFy’s Helix, and NBC’s Emmy Nominated miniseries The 60’s. She is a recipient of the Women in Film Crystal award, as well as the We Empower Women’s Pioneer Award, and the 1st Polly Platt Award.

As an author, Lynda wrote the best-selling book Hello He Lied: And Other Truths from the Hollywood Trenches, which debuted at #1 on the LA Times Best Seller list, where it stayed for 10 weeks and turned into an industry classic. It was later adapted into a documentary for AMC. Her second book about the entertainment industry, Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business, another LA Times bestseller, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2013. She has written for NY Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, Slate, Huffington Post, and The New Yorker.

Originally from the suburbs of New York, Lynda studied philosophy at Pomona College and then attended Columbia for a graduate degree in philosophy which she left to create the Rolling Stone Mag History of the 60’s and then to become an editor for the New York Times Magazine.

Lynda is currently producing both film and television projects out of her office at Sony.

Karen Ishizuka

Karen L. Ishizuka M.S.W, PH.D

Karen Ishizuka

Karen is an award-winning documentary film producer/writer and museum curator. Karen is a writer specializing in Japanese American and Asian Pacific Island history and culture. In addition to her documentary film work she has authored three books and many articles. Her most recent publication is Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties (Verso 2016). Ishizuka also helped establish the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. A third-generation American of Japanese ancestry, Ishizuka lives in Culver City with her husband Robert A. Nakamura and has two children and three grandchildren.

Robert Nakamura

Robert A. Nakamura, M.F.A.

Robert Nakamura

Robert is a pioneering filmmaker and influential educator known to many as the godfather of Asian American media.

Robert has been a major force in independent film since 1970 when he was the founding director of Visual Communications, the oldest continuing Asian Pacific American media organization in the country. An award-winning documentary filmmaker, Nakamura also founded the UCLA Center for Ethno Communications based in the Asian American Studies Center and the Watase Media Arts Center of the Japanese American National Museum.