The Tea with Ms. Tina Knowles Lawson

Special broadcast features Tina Knowles Lawson and Essence Editor-at-Large Mikki Taylor discussing opportunities for Black women in the arts.

Tina Knowles Lawson talking with Mikki Taylor. Photo: R.O.C. Photography
Tina Knowles Lawson (right) talking with Mikki Taylor. Photo: R.O.C. Photography

Fireside Chat, Filmed at Newark Symphony Hall, to Premiere on Monday, February 28, 2022.

The exclusive fireside chat with Tina Knowles Lawson Newark Symphony Hall (NSH) hosted last fall is streaming on NSH’s Facebook and YouTube pages on Monday, February 28, 2022 at 9 p.m. Lawson, famed designer, philanthropist and co-founder of WACO Theater Center, talks with Mikki Taylor, Essence magazine’s editor-at-large, about the challenges and opportunities for Black women in the arts.

“Both of my children, if it were not for the performing arts community centers that they went to as kids, they wouldn’t be the entertainers that they are today,” said Lawson to Taylor during the fireside chat and in an article for Essence.

The event was conceived by NSH President and CEO Taneshia Nash Laird, who is the sole Black woman leading a performing arts center in New Jersey.

“Being able to host this event at Newark Symphony Hall is a testament to not only the importance of Black history, but Black culture and storytelling in the arts,” said Laird. “Through the interview with Ms. Tina, we were able to emphasize the value of support and camaraderie in the Black community among women and encourage individuals to connect to their roots and express their stories as it pertains to their personal histories.”

Filmed at NSH’s expansive, legendary Terrace Ballroom in September 2021, “The Tea with Ms. Tina Knowles Lawson” was an invite-only, hour-long event with 100 attendees, where Knowles Lawson discussed the importance of Black art, Black culture, her newest projects, and more. Prudential Financial served as the event’s presenting sponsor, and United Airlines and H&M were supporting sponsors. J+D Legacy Consulting, LLC produced the show from footage that was filmed during the event.

“It was an honor to produce an event in partnership with Taneshia Nash Laird that focuses on Black women in arts, and transform footage originally from an intimate in-person event into a special broadcast presentation,” said Sonji Joyner, co-founder and principal of J+D Legacy Consulting, LLC.

In addition to this event, NSH is partnering with Lawson’s WACO Theater Center on a production titled “Black Terror.” Written by Newark-native Richard Wesley and originally produced by Joseph Papp for the Public Theater in 1971, this retelling is a play-on-film with a bi-coastal cast directed by Richard Lawson, a veteran actor of stage and screen who is also co-founder of WACO with his wife. “Black Terror” will premiere later this year.

About Newark Symphony Hall

Born in 1925, Newark Symphony Hall (NSH) has been home to nearly a century of arts and culture in what is one of New Jersey’s oldest and largest arts and entertainment venues. NSH remains as committed as ever to providing an artistically rich experience for art lovers of all ages, while creating career pathways for people of color from around the world and bettering both its community and Greater Newark. For more information, visit

About WACO Theater Center

Founded in 2016, WACO opened its doors to the public in 2017. WACO Theater Center is a performing and visual arts organization dedicated to the empowerment of Los Angeles artists and stories of the African diaspora. Located in the heart of North Hollywood’s Arts District, the state-of-the-art complex includes a 99-seat theater, an art gallery space and is the home of Richard Lawson Studios. Over its five-year history, WACO has invested in more than 700 artists and 1,000 young people in Los Angeles and beyond. WACO is committed to providing a creative center where art can occur and give artists and youth a place to grow their talent and celebrate their artistry. Visit