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Isisara Bey

Corporate entertainment executive and event producer Isisara Bey was born on July 18, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York to Shirley and Eustace Jones of Guyana. She graduated from the Academy of St. Joseph in Brentwood, New York with honors in 1970. Bey earned her B.A. degree in theater in 1976 and her M.A. degree in media communications in 1980, both from Antioch University.

Bey’s career began as an on-air personality for WEAA.FM at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. She then worked as an award-winning news writer and producer for WJZ-TV. In 1988, Bey began working at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Los Angeles, California as a management associate. She was promoted to director of corporate affairs in 1992, later becoming the senior director. She then transferred to Sony Music Entertainment in New York City as vice president, corporate affairs. She retired from the position in 2007, and became the vice president of programs for the non-profit organization, Count Me in For Women’s Economic Independence. She also founded her own consulting company, Journey Agent Productions, serving as a keynote speaker, live events producer and workshop facilitator. Her U.S. and international clients included the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the Apollo Theater, New York Public Radio, American Society of Transplantation, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Odyssey Media Business Women’s Retreat, Association of Southeast Asian Nations Women of the World (WOW) Festival, Vital Voices and Pathways to Prosperity. She served as the artistic director of the March on Washington Film Festival in Washington, D.C. since 2014.

Bey served on the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation board, and organized the first Congressional Tri-Caucus retreats of Black, Hispanic, and Asian & Pacific Islander members of Congress. Bey also served on the boards of the National Book Foundation, Tony Bennett’s Exploring the Arts Foundation, Rhythm & Blues Foundation and the e-Women Network Advisory Council.

As a news producer for WJZ-TV, Bey received the National Unity Award for reporting on social issues and Maryland’s Associated Press award for best investigative/documentary. She was also awarded the Outstanding Radio, Producer, Short Form award from Associated Press.

Bey has one daughter named Makara Bey.

Isisara Bey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 29, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.013

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/29/2016

Last Name

Bey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Schools

St. Peter Claver Elementary

St. Pascal Baylon School

Academy of St. Joseph

University of Connecticut

Antioch College

First Name

Isisara

Birth City, State, Country

Brooklyn

HM ID

BEY03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Someplace New

Favorite Quote

The Rest Of My Life Is The Best Of My Life.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/18/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Curry

Short Description

Corporate entertainment executive and event producer Isisara Bey (1953 - ) worked as the director of corporate affairs of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the V.P. of corporate affairs at Sony Music Entertainment. She also founded the business consulting agency Journey Agent Productions.

Employment

WEAA.FM

WJZ-TV

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sony Music Entertainment

Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence

Journey Agent Productions

March on Washington Film Festival

Favorite Color

Orange and Amber

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Isisara Bey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Isisara Bey lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Isisara Bey describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Isisara Bey talks about the history of Guyana

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Isisara Bey talks about her mother's education and immigration

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Isisara Bey describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Isisara Bey talks about her extended family in Guyana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Isisara Bey describes her upbringing in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Isisara Bey talks about the establishment of the St. Peter Claver School in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Isisara Bey remembers the Academy of St. Joseph in Brentwood, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Isisara Bey remembers her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Isisara Bey recalls her experiences of discrimination at the Academy of St. Joseph

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Isisara Bey remembers developing an interest in radio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Isisara Bey talks about her college scholarship

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Isisara Bey recalls her start at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Isisara Bey remembers the social movements of the late 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Isisara Bey describes her parents' perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Isisara Bey remembers her decision to leave the University of Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Isisara Bey recalls how she came to attend Antioch College in Columbia, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Isisara Bey recalls joining the Theatre Project in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Isisara Bey recalls her introduction to the Moorish Science Temple of America

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Isisara Bey describes the history of the Moorish Science Temple of America

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Isisara Bey recalls her activism with the Moorish Science Temple of America

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Isisara Bey talks about the reparations movement

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Isisara Bey talks about the influence of the Moorish Science Temple of America

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Isisara Bey describes her current affiliation with the Moorish Science Temple of America

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Isisara Bey remembers her influences at Antioch College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Isisara Bey talks about Take Our Daughters to Work Day

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Isisara Bey remembers her employment during graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Isisara Bey recalls hosting the morning show on WEAA Radio in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Isisara Bey remembers the programming on WEAA Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Isisara Bey recalls teaching at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Isisara Bey remembers her internship at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Isisara Bey talks about the growth of black radio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Isisara Bey recalls receiving an award for her news coverage

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Isisara Bey talks about the death of her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Isisara Bey remembers the management training program at Columbia Pictures

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Isisara Bey describes her position in corporate affairs at Columbia Pictures

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Isisara Bey talks about Sidney Poitier's impact on the film industry

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Isisara Bey recalls her mentors at Columbia Pictures

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Isisara Bey recalls creating a diversity symposium for film executives, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Isisara Bey recalls creating a diversity symposium for film executives, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Isisara Bey reflects upon the legacy of H. LeBaron Taylor

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Isisara Bey remembers the speakers at her diversity symposium

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Isisara Bey recalls the response to her diversity symposium

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Isisara Bey recalls her exhibition of portraits from the Columbia Records archives

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Isisara Bey recalls her promotion to head of corporate affairs at Sony Music Entertainment

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Isisara Bey recalls hosting a retreat for the Congressional Tri-Caucus

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Isisara Bey remembers her decision to adopt a child

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Isisara Bey remembers traveling to Cambodia to adopt her daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Isisara Bey describes how adopting her daughter changed her life

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Isisara Bey remembers adjusting to single parenthood

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Isisara Bey recalls her challenges at the Sony Music Diversity Council

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Isisara Bey recalls her role in the founding of the Congressional Tri-Caucus

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Isisara Bey describes her work at Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Isisara Bey remembers her TEDx talk

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Isisara Bey recalls founding Journey Agent Productions

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Isisara Bey talks about the March on Washington Film Festival, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Isisara Bey talks about the March on Washington Film Festival, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Isisara Bey remembers the Women of the World Festival

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Isisara Bey reflects upon her career, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Isisara Bey reflects upon her career, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Isisara Bey describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Isisara Bey reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Isisara Bey talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Isisara Bey describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Isisara Bey narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
Isisara Bey remembers developing an interest in radio
Isisara Bey recalls hosting a retreat for the Congressional Tri-Caucus
Transcript
Now in light of what your career is about, in terms of media--$$Yes.$$--and so, what was your exposure to media growing up? I know--$$Oh, this was (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) I know there was a lot of education, and--but did you go to the movie, did you watch television, listen to the radio?$$It was Guyana. When I was growing up, Guyana didn't get television until the mid-'80s [1980s] and so there were two radio stations and those radio stations provided everything in the country. And when I was younger, my mother [Shirley Jones], one of her batch mates [from Queen's College, Georgetown, Guyana], was a writer for one of the daily papers and he had a program on the air. You know, Guyana is such a small country that whenever people came to visit, someone would put them on a program and have them on the air. So I remember Uncle Basil, Basil Hinds was his name. He led, he was the head of the American library there and he wrote for one of the papers [The Guyana Annual] and he had a jazz show ['Just Jazz']. And I came to Guyana once with my 45s [45 rpm record]. And I brought several 45s on the air. So I had the--I had The Jackson 5, 'I Want You Back.' And he'd play his song--music and I'd play one of mine and we would talk about them. So I played that song and he said, "Well you know they sound good, but I don't think they're gonna last very long." So what was fun was years later coming back, even a few years later and him saying, "I guess I was wrong about that." But I remember once being asked to be on one of the morning shows and the engineer was a young woman. And this is when everybody did their own records and they would play--the radio stations in Guyana provided all the entertainment because that was all there was. So there were--the radio plays from England, these were in seven year cycles. They were like soap operas on the air. And then they had classroom on the air so people could learn things who were in the rural parts of the country. They had the farm report and one other program that stuck out to me was the death announcements. So this funereal music would come on--an organ playing. And a gentleman would then recite the names of any Guyanese who had died anywhere in the world, except in Guyana. So who died in England, who died in New York [New York], who died in Canada. Back then those were the only places Guyanese went to. New York, Toronto [Canada] and London [England]. And so radio on the air was on all day long because it was something different, radio plays, Guyanese plays after independence, a lot of programming that Guyanese made themselves, popular music, it was the lifeline. I remember one time we took a trip into the interior which is what it was called going from the country down into the remote parts. And on a big ferry boat that was on the Essequibo River and then people would come on to the boat. It would start and then it wouldn't stop, it would slow down. So folks would take a launch from the bush and they would transfer their produce to go to the market and the boat would slow down so they could jump on. And I could hear the radio from stop to stop out in the interior. Once cousin Gertie [ph.] and I were walking from our house to go play bingo and we were concerned because we would miss 'Dr. Paul' who was on in the evening. But everybody was listening, and because it was always warm weather there were no windows with glass, it was all shutters. People were outside and we heard the whole program walking to bingo. So I realized--it fired my imagination how important radio was and how much people could visualize and learn, and be connected through radio. So that's what sparked my interest in working in radio.$So when he asked to do that, the idea I came up with was to do a retreat for those three minority groups [Congressional Tri-Caucus]. And so that we would fund. The first one was held outside of Washington [D.C.] in Virginia at a hotel. It was over a weekend. We--I hired someone to do--to facilitate some of their work together, and also had entertainment. So I went to [HistoryMaker] Russell Simmons. At the time they had the 'Def Poetry Jam' and we created a 'Def Poetry Jam' evening during their retreat and had some of the poets that later were on 'Def Poetry' on Broadway to come and perform. A multicultural group of poets. We had Sarah Jones come who is the actress who does, she won a Tony [Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre] for her one woman performance where she represents a number of different cultures. Her first piece was called 'Surface Transit.' She has this uncanny ability to replicate any accent under the sun and she tells the story of different immigrants coming to New York [New York] in America, and their--their influence with each other. So she performed. She had a piece called 'This Revolution will not be Televised' [sic. 'Your Revolution']. It was kind of based on the one that Gil Scott-Heron song ['The Revolution Will Not Be Televised'] that he did that had been banned from the air, and so she was able to perform it in front of members of [U.S.] Congress who was going, "Why was this banned?" And we're able to work with helping her reverse that. The other moment in that retreat that stands out for me was the facilitator had had them--we had a timeline on there and she asked them to go up and to indicate when they got involved in public service. And one of them on the Hispanic caucus [Congressional Hispanic Caucus], one of the congressmen, talked about his political career started as a border guard. He was a border police. And in Sarah's monologue, she replicated a young man whose family had been arrested by the border police and used a term that they use to describe the border police [La Migra], a Spanish language term. So later when the congressman is talking about it, he talked about how he had heard this term and it was derogatory in a sense, and moved him to tears. You know, he got emotional about it and in that came this whole conversation of everyone talking about what brought them into public service. So we had those who were the children of migrant workers with the grandchildren of sharecroppers with the--the descendants of immigrants with the same universal approach to public service and now in the Congress and that was started because they were in the same room together talking about it and because they heard a theater piece that urged them to--that was the catapult to that. That was the culmination to me of everything that I think is important in the work that I do.$$Okay, and this retreat was in what year?$$Oh you're asking me years, I remember when I was thinking about--$$About 2001, 2000--$$--preparing this. It was after LeBaron [H. LeBaron Taylor] died, so it might've been around 2002 or three [2003].$$Okay.$$So we did three actually with them. That first one and then a year later or so we did one that was in Puerto Rico, and then the third one was in Texas right around the time of Hurricane Rita. So it was not as--we had to switch the focus of it more into a town hall in Houston [Texas] because of the devastation and the need.$$Okay, okay. Now you were the founder of Sony's [Sony Music Entertainment] diversity--?$$Yes, they did not have affinity groups then, and so I helped form a black, Hispanic and Asian affinity groups; and then that was the year I was one of the founding members of the diversity council for the company [Sony Music Diversity Council].