At SXSW 2019, actor Zoe Saldana discussed the importance of positive messaging and role models on social platforms for Millennial and Gen Z audiences. Interviewed by on-air personality and What’s Trending CEO Shira Lazar, the Featured Session explores Saldana’s new media company, BESE, and how it is addressing this issue and the imbalance that exists today in mainstream media. The pair were also joined by Daniel Batista, Co-Founder & President of BESE.
“I don’t have the power to change the world. I can’t go against a huge establishment but my singular voice has the ability to inspire people in my community.” – Zoe Saldana
BESE aims to reshape the cultural narrative by shining light on the untold stories that reflect today’s America. The platform provides a voice to Latinx youth through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as YouTube videos and podcasts. BESE fills a niche for young Latinx audiences craving positive portrayals of the modern American experience.
Representation is at the forefront of this Featured Session. Saldana and Batista want to make it perfectly clear that the Latinx community is so much more than the stereotypes they often played on the screen.
“Given how large the Latinx community is – nearly 60 million people and two-thirds of them now are born here – there is so much more to tell . . . It takes someone like Zoe to really take that initiative to create her own media company and push those stories forward.” – Daniel Batista
Saldana went on to mention the success of Alita: Battle Angel, directed by Austin’s own Robert Rodriguez. “It never pointed out Alita’s race. She is clearly not blonde, blue eyes … she is our hero, she is our AI hero. That is how we bring change.”
Diving further into BESE, Saldana stated her goal to have a journalistic presence with the company, particularly when it comes to the 2020 election. Saldana spoke of her mission “to expand the media aspect with amazing journalists that need a platform, that can amplify their conversations.”
To explore more about BESE and their mission, watch the full Featured Session and more videos on our YouTube channel.
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Changing the Narrative with Zoe Saldana – Photo by Sean Mathis/Getty Images for SXSW