Freeform Announces Panels for the First Ever ‘Freeform Summit’

Freeform announced the initial panel lineup for the network’s first-ever “Freeform Summit,” which will take place at Neuhouse Hollywood Studio A in Los Angeles on Thursday, January 18. This event is a network-wide event that will feature a series of panel discussions addressing activism, social change, representation in television and various other important cultural issues defining modern youth culture today.

Panelists and speakers will include talent, executives, showrunners and directors across multiple Freeform series, with emphasis on the brand new 2018 programming lineup including, but not limited to, grown-ish, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, Siren and Alone Together. However, there will also be representatives from fan-favorite shows including The Bold Type, The Fosters and more. The Freeform Summit will also feature key influencers, tastemakers and pop culture titans who are embracing and effecting cultural change through storytelling, mentorship and engagement.

According to the press release for the event, the summit is “guided by Freeform’s identity, which continues to set itself apart from other content platforms by delivering stories that celebrate the power, possibility and inclusivity of youth culture – stories that are bold, sophisticated, inspirational, culturally significant and most importantly, on the pulse of young adult life.”

Below is a list of the panels, including the descriptions and panel participants.

Every day, millennials are blamed for the end of times. They’ve been accused of singlehandedly killing entire industries with their bare hands. First, they came after music. Then, they ruined dating. Then, they did away with face-to- face interaction and now they’re coming after our TVs. “Experts” have called them everything from self-centered and lazy to spoiled and entitled – but the truth is, they’re saving the world. Today’s young adult is leveraging technology to disrupt fundraising, demanding transparency from our government, challenging gender stereotypes, modernizing the retail segment and breaking down traditional organizational norms. Join the “everyday changemakers” of today for a discussion about effecting change and making a difference through storytelling, social connection and creativity.

Moderated by Ariana Romero, Entertainment Writer @ Refinery29
Panel participants will include:
Kenya Barris (Executive Producer, Freeform’s grown-ish)
Yara Shahidi (Actress and Activist; Star of Freeform’s grown-ish)
Karlie Kloss (Model, Coder and Entrepreneur; Star of Freeform’s Movie Night with Karlie Kloss)
Katie Stevens (Star of Freeform’s The Bold Type)
Karey Burke (Executive Vice President, Programming & Development, Freeform)
Elaine Welteroth (Editor in Chief, teenVOGUE)
Katherine Power (Co-Founder and CEO of Clique)
Luvvie Ajayi (Author of New York Times Best Seller I’m Judging You, Speaker and Digital
Rhonesha Byng (Award-winning Journalist and Founder of Her Agenda)

Thirty years ago, Murphy Brown disrupted the social and political norms, giving voice to a baby boomer generation of women who saw themselves in her character – as pioneers in their fields, but still having to conform to domestic responsibilities. A decade later, Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte didn’t just date, sip cosmos and talk about men… They were examples of the powerful women in the workforce who were no longer settling on marriage and no longer being boxed into the “sad fate” of single, female characters on television. Here we are in 2018 where everything is instantaneous – we can get a cab, groceries, take out, a date and even sex by the swipe of our fingertips. But love isn’t instant. It’s not a simple “like” or “tap” and doesn’t always look perfect. How do our current and future television heroes and heroines provide a real-life portrayal of what it’s like to grow in life and love in today’s hyper-connected world? How do you correctly create and showcase the complexity of merging career, love and sex without sacrificing one over the other? And how can our male counterparts contribute to the rise of the empowered female?

Moderated by Kirbie Johnson, Host and Producer @ POPSUGAR
Panel participants will include:
Joanna Coles (Chief Content Officer, Hearst; Author of Love Rules; Executive Producer,
Freeform’s The Bold Type)
Melora Hardin (Star of Freeform’s The Bold Type)
Esther Povitsky (Actor and Comedian; Co-Creator and Star, Freeform’s Alone Together)
Benji Aflalo (Actor and Comedian; Co-Creator and Star of Freeform’s Alone Together)
Marlene King (Executive Producer, Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars, Famous in Love, The
Joanna Johnson (Executive Producer, Freeform’s The Fosters)
Meghann Fahy (Star of Freeform’s The Bold Type)
Trevor Jackson (Musician and Star of Freeform’s grown-ish)
Sophia Rivka Rossi (Co-Founder of HelloGiggles)

In the last few years, television and film have aimed to include members across the LGBTQ alphabet. From first kiss to first marriage, from reality to scripted, narratives of gay, lesbian, bi, trans and non-binary gender are popping up in some very unexpected places. From Asia Kate Dillon’s non-binary character on “Billions” to Elliot Fletcher’s ground breaking trans sex scene on “The Fosters,” television is continuing to push the boundaries and open a dialogue with their audience. Not only are actors portraying an often overlooked community, but viewers are seeing them in situations never seen on television before. But to what point are we exploiting a narrative for buzz? How do you create a holistic depiction of a character’s path for the average viewer to understand without discounting the authentic journey of the individual? Does the rise of online platforms where members of all communities are able to create powerful voices for themselves and others help hold the entertainment industry accountable?

Moderated by Phillip Picardi, Chief Content Officer @ them. and Digital Editorial Director @
Panel participants will include:
Amanda Lasher (Executive Producer, Freeform’s The Bold Type)
Peter Paige (Co-Creator and Executive Producer, Freeform’s The Fosters)
Bradley Bredeweg (Co-Creator and Executive Producer, Freeform’s The Fosters)
Aisha Dee (Star of Freeform’s The Bold Type)
Nikohl Boosheri (Star of Freeform’s The Bold Type)
Eline Powell (Star of Freeform’s upcoming drama, Siren)
Shan Boodram (Sexologist and Author)
Patrick Starrr (Beauty Business Expert & Global Beauty Influencer)

*An additional “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” panel will be announced later.

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