Salon Events for Our Members

Salon – Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made

Attended by Leading Entertainment Industry and Corporate Influencers

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018
72 and Sunny

12101 W. Bluff Creek Dr., Playa Vista, CA 90094

6:30 p.m. Reception
7:30 p.m. Program

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In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the novel, Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made, by New York Times best-selling authors, Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media will host an all-star performance of the beloved novel at 72 and Sunny in Los Angeles on Tuesday February 13, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. The performance will feature award-winning actors, Mr. Obba Babatunde (Bold & Beautiful, Dreamgirls), Ms. Cheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha, Dreamgirls), and Ms. Fredericka Meek (General Hospital) along with a panel discussion on the state of women and girls of color in Hollywood and media led Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made was published in 1997 by St. Martin’s Press and was the largest selling work of African American hard cover fiction for that year. The novel spent 15 consecutive months on the Essence Bestseller List, 8 months as #1 and maintains a 5-star rating on Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made has received numerous awards including-Honor Award Fiction, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, 1997 Book of the Year-Fiction by the African American Booksellers Conference of the American Booksellers Association, and the Best New Author 1997 Go On Girl. The novel sold over 600,000 copies with worldwide sales of over $7.0 million and still sells to this day.

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Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant


With seven novels to their credit, Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, best friends for over 25 years, have turned a friendship into the most successful and enduring writing collaboration in African American fiction.

Before becoming novelists, Donna was dared by co-workers at the New York Daily News to attend a model agency open call, which led to more than a decade as a plus size model, represented by the 12+ division of Ford Models. During that career, Donna was featured in catalogs and national ads, on the pages of such magazines as Essence, McCalls, Family Circle and Woman’s Day, and made appearances on “Today,” “Good Morning America,” and “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.”

Virginia, a former high school English teacher from Buffalo, NY moved to New York City, after almost 10 years in the classroom, at the urging of a friend in the fashion business and started a successful career as a plus size model. She was frequently featured in catalogs, advertising, magazines and appeared on several television programs including “The Today Show.” She retired from modeling after two years and became Vice President of BB/LW, an agency for plus size and petite models, as well as a spokeswoman for Hanes hosiery.

The duo’s modeling careers led to the opportunity to launch Maxima, a fashion and lifestyle magazine for plus size women, where Virginia was editor-in-chief and Donna the managing editor.

When publication of Maxima ceased, Virginia and Donna decided to try writing a book together. Their efforts eventually led to Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made (1997), which was a critical success, an Essence magazine bestseller, and won the Merit Award for Fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, as well as the 1998 Book of the Year Award from the Blackboard Bestseller List/African American Booksellers Conference-Book Expo America. More than that, Tryin’ hit an emotional nerve with readers from all over the world who continue to write to Donna and Virginia more than a decade later. Far From the Tree (2000) became a New York Times bestseller, and Better Than I Know Myself (2004) received two Open Book Awards, and was included on the Best African American Fiction of 2004 lists of both Borders and WaldenBooks.

Donna attended Barnard College and is a graduate of New York University. A Brooklyn native, she currently lives in the borough with her husband.

Virginia attended Fisk University and is a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo. Virginia now lives in New Jersey.

Gotta Keep on Tryin’ (January 2008) was the long awaited sequel to their first novel, Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made. In January 2009, Touchstone Hardcover Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, published DeBerry and Grant’s novel, What Doesn’t Kill You. In 2011, Touchstone published their last novel, Uptown.

Please visit Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant at

Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren, PhD, MBA

Business Executive, Artist, Entrepreneur and Emerging Academic Marketing Scholar

Tyrha M. Lindsey, PhD, MBA, is a business executive, artist, entrepreneur and emerging academic marketing scholar who has over 15 years of experience working in marketing, public relations and integrated marketing communications.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree, with a concentration in Marketing, from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California.


Dr. Lindsey-Warren also received her PhD in Marketing at Rutgers Business School, with her consumer behavior research streams rooted in empowered storytelling, “health edu-tainment,” emotional contagion and motion pictures as well as embodied cognition and consumer health. She is a published author and researcher as well as works as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

As the Managing Director of L.A.I. Communications, which has offices in New York, Ohio, Texas and California, Dr. Lindsey-Warren has experience working in marketing and public relations in Corporate America, Advertising, Entertainment, the Performing Arts, Sports and more. Specifically in Hollywood, she worked for Quincy Jones*David Salzman Entertainment, Creative Artists Agency and Edmonds Entertainment, all in the development of television and film ideas and properties. She is currently a part of the producing team for Bishop T.D. Jakes’ International Faith and Family Film Festival at MegaFest.

In her spare time, she volunteers as a Board Member for Iris House in Harlem, New York, which is an agency dedicated to helping women of color with HIV/AIDS; Greater Hudson Valley and the Central Texas Chapters of the LINKS, Inc. and Jazz Forum Arts, which presents nationally renowned and emerging jazz artists in the Greater New York City area.  Dr. Lindsey-Warren is also an accomplished jazz vocalist who has performed all around the world, from the
Blue Note Jazz Clubs in Japan to The Sugar Bar in New York City.  She has opened for the likes of Jonathan Butler, Roy Haines, Pieces of a Dream and Kirk Whalum, to name a few. Dr. Lindsey-Warren is newly married to Sidney L. Warren, a successful franchise restaurant entrepreneur.

Courtney Parker


Courtney Parker is a television and publishing veteran, who wrote and worked for seven years with TV’s #1 franchise, Law & Order. While at Wolf Films, Parker also wrote the novella series for Wolf Film’s newest Chicago based franchise, Chicago Fire. For the last fifteen years, Parker has printed over a dozen plus titles in the self-help, inspirational, children’s and quality fiction categories. As a celebrity ghostwriter, novelist, and children’s book author, she has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning producer Teddy Riley, Basketball Wives reality star Evelyn Lozada, Track and Field Olympic gold medalist Maurice Greene, as well as Essence and New York Times bestselling authors Victoria Christopher Murray, E. Lynn Harris and Nancey Flowers. In addition to successfully working with writers, Parker has worked in partnership with a number of athletes, including NFL stars Geoff and Mitch Schwartz (Eat My Schwartz), Terrell Owens and Ray Lewis, among many others. Parker’s most recent work includes Executive/Co-Executive producing for Oxygen’s True Crime series, Three Days To Live, TV One’s hit show, Hollywood Divas in conjunction with Carlos King of Kingdom Reign Entertainment, VH1’s top-rated franchise Love & Hip Hop, with Mona Scott-Young and OWN’s new show, It’s Not You, It’s Men, with Rev Run & Tyrese. Parker is an active member of the Writer’s Guild of America West and formerly served under the direction of Carl Gilliard, as the Director of the Writer’s Collective Group, for the esteemed Repertory Ministry at Faithful Central Bible Church, in Inglewood, CA. Courtney Parker also serves as, Chief Executive Editor and Co-Founder of newly launched publishing imprint Monami Books, a division of the Atria/Simon and Schuster Publishing Company.


Obba Babatundé


Obba Babatundé’s performing ethics reach back into the storied days of entertainment when performers’ careers were dependent on their ability to deliver anything the audience wanted to see and hear! Obba is often referred to as one of the busiest actors in Hollywood.

Recently, Obba won the Daytime Emmy Award for his outstanding performance in the Daytime Drama Series The Bold and The Beautiful as well as the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the PVIFF and the coveted NAACP “Trailblazer Award.” Obba just completed filming four primetime series: NETFLIX’S acclaimed series Dear White People, SHOWTIME’S powerful series, I’m Dying Up Here, Detroiters on Comedy Central and CBS’ Madam Secretary. Scheduled for a November release is the highly-anticipated feature film, Labyrinth, where Obba co-stars alongside Johnny Depp and Forrest Whitaker.

Obba’s beguiling portrayal of Bishop Bruce Congdon in the Amazon drama, Hand of God and his steely, unflappable detective on Kingdom adds to his list of stellar credits which spans over four and a half decades. His Emmy-nominated performance in the HBO movie Miss Evers’ Boys, his NAACP Image Award-nominated performance in the HBO movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, his Ovation Award nomination and NAACP Image Award win as “Best Actor” for his role as “Sarge” in A Soldiers Play and his Tony Award nomination for his role as “C.C. White” in the original Broadway cast of Dreamgirls have fulfilled our appetite for provocative, thought-provoking, heartwarming and all-around-entertainment desires. Some of Obba’s audience favorites are: Berry Gordy in The Temptations, Dean Cain in How High, John Q, The Notebook, The Manchurian Candidate, That Thing You Do, Philadelphia, Half & Half, Y&R, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Cold Case, and Friends to name a few. Some of his other noted credits include his ground-breaking performance of “Billy Flynn” in the Broadway musical Chicago, originating the title role in the world premiere of Jelly’s Last Jam, his co-starring role with Liza Minnelli in the world tour “Liza in Concert” and no one will forget his astounding performance as Sammy Davis, Jr. in the musical Sammy, for which he won “Best Actor.”

Joni Bovill


Growing up as the youngest of ten children, the Mississippi native never let the sting of prejudice or poverty define her. Joni would become the first in her family to graduate from college as the proud daughter of a sharecropping father and a mother that was “the help”.

After a long and successful career in marketing and human resources in the Silicon Valley, Joni stepped out on faith to pursue the entertainment industry and she now has several film, TV, voiceover and commercial credits. Currently recurring on Amazon’s hit series Bosch, upcoming projects include the Netflix film Come Sunday and TV shows Shameless and 9-1-1.

A sought-after motivational speaker, she’s currently working on her first book on empowering young women who suffer from low self-esteem. The often-published writer recently contributed stories to SNAPSHOTS Volumes 2 and 3 which is a compilation focused on chronicling African American history and culture.

On the music front, she has released two critically acclaimed Gospel CDs with hubby Kirk under their indie label, Elmo Records. Happily married for almost 22 years, the Bovills call Los Angeles home.

Fredericka Meek


Fredericka Meek can bench press 4 pounds blindfolded and is fully prepped for the zombie apocalypse. A true multi-hyphenate, Fredericka recently performed in the pre-Broadway workshop of Car Wash the Musical: The Norman Whitfield Story where she played Bunny, Norman’s niece and a hopeless romantic. She toured the USA and Canada as one of two “Coquettes” performing with Conan O’Brien in his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour. Fredericka also starred as “Destiny” in the critically acclaimed musical Love in All The Wrong Faces, produced by Laval Belle and directed by Taja V. Simpson. She recently was a featured vocalist in an HIV/AIDS Awareness benefit near to her heart – The Silence Is Broken, produced and directed by Patrick Gandy and starring Loretta Devine and T.C. Carson. Performing in such exotic locales as India, Chile, Hawaii and Japan, Fredericka has shared the stage vocally with such music legends as Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, Cheryl Lynn, Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, European pop star Bosson, Ollie Woodson (former Temptation), rock/metal sensation Marilyn Manson and R&B great Dave Hollister. TV & Film: Kid n Plays’ Funny Business, Dak Tandy, Willing and Able (pilots), Conan O’Brien’s Can’t Stop, F/X’s Anger Management, ABC’s Work It, TBS’s CONAN, TNT’s Franklin & Bash, NBC’s Tonight Show, Fox TV’s Head Cases, ABC’s General Hospital. Theatre: The Starmaker, Little Shop of Horrors, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Body Language: The Musical, Sheba and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She is a founding member of the all female sketch comedy group Illuminaughty By Nature, currently making a name in the LA comedy scene with their unique flavor of sketch comedy and musical parodies. Fredericka has also performed standup comedy: The Comedy Store, Flappers Comedy Club, Haha Comedy Cafe and select L.A. street corners.

Sheryl Lee Ralph


Original Dreamgirl, Sheryl Lee Ralph is a multifaceted jewel of a woman who sparkles in every area of her life. An acclaimed show business “pro”, her award-winning body of work in film, television and the Broadway stage includes originating and creating the role of Deena Jones on Broadway in the landmark musical Dreamgirls, which earned her a Tony Award Nomination and a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Actress. After Dreamgirls, Ms. Ralph turned her attention to music, television, and film. On television, Sheryl Lee has starred on the Nickelodeon series Instant Mom, Showtime’s Ray Donovan, NBC’s Smash and Amazon’s series One Mississippi. She is most known for her portrayal of the loving step mom “Dee” on the hit sitcom Moesha for which she received numerous NAACP Image Award nominations. Her extensive film credits include The Mighty Quinn with Denzel Washington, Sister Act II with Whoopi Goldberg, Mistress with Robert De Niro, and Eddie Murphy’s Distinguished Gentleman. Sheryl Lee’s performance with Danny Glover in To Sleep with Anger won her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2016, she joined the cast of Wicked on Broadway as Madame Morrible, becoming the first African American to play this role on Broadway. She recently appeared in the 2017 film Just Getting Started with Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones.

Author, Sheryl Lee Ralph’s first book Redefining DIVA (Simon&Schuster) debuted to rave reviews. Actress Ralph embraces the label Diva (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Alive). A popular national speaker, Sheryl Lee consistently creates a contagious positive energy with her spontaneous humor and quick wit, which has made her a much sought-after speaker, guest, guest-host and celebrity expert. She has appeared on: HLN, ShowBiz Tonight, Joan Velez Mitchell, Dr. Drew, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, The Daily Show, FOX & Friends, Good Day LA, Good Day NY, CBS Morning News, CNBC Africa, The Martha Stewart Show, The Wendy Williams Show, The Michael Baisden Show, Tom Joyner Show. Sheryl has been featured in: People Magazine, JET, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Ebony, ESSENCE, Bazaar, Vogue, GQ, Glamour, Time Magazine, Black Enterprise, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer and hundreds more publications. Sheryl Lee Ralph captivates and motivates audiences around the world. A passionate health advocate and honored AIDS activist, Ms. Ralph is the founding director of the DIVA Foundation which she created in memory of the many friends she had lost to HIV/AIDS. She also created the critically acclaimed Divas Simply Singing!, an evening of song and entertainment that after 27 years is the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the country.

Kinnik Sky


Kinnik is a veteran of stage, television and film. The Columbia, SC native now resides in Los Angeles by way of Atlanta GA where she spent 13 years. Kinnik’s time in Atlanta was spent working professionally in musical theatre and she later went on to finish as a Top 13 Finalist on the mega hit show American Idol. Soon after, Kinnik relocated to Los Angeles and won the Dreamgirls competition sponsored by the Ahmanson Theatre and and toured Italy. She’s done countless stage plays over the last 20 years. Her major theatre credits include: Dreamgirls, For Colored Girls and Madea’s Class Reunion. Award-winning directors and producers Tyler Perry, Robert Townsend, and Kenny Leon have each cast Kinnik in their respective projects, tapping into her vocal range and innate acting ability. In 2010, Kinnik launched her production company, Dazzal Mi (Dazzle Me) Entertainment, creating and hosting its first digital project, Straight From The Sky, a witty celebrity and entertainment news web-series.

Her proudest accomplishment to date is writing, producing and starring in the stage production, Sunday Mourning (under her Dazzal Mi Entertainment production company), which won three NAACP Theater Awards. The play received a total of seven NAACP Theatre Award nominations, including her nomination for “Best Playwright.” The show then traveled nationally to Atlanta to a sold out theatre. In 2014 Sunday Mourning not only returned to Atlanta but was selected as the Official Opening Event of the 24th Annual NAACP THEATRE AWARDS, & was sponsored by Wells Fargo. THE 2014 NAACP THEATRE AWARDS yielded another win for Sky’s second effort, Pieces. After the win, Pieces reprised at the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse and garnered another nomination and win for Best Set Design totaling 9 NAACP Theatre Award nominations and 5 wins for Dazzal Mi Entertainment. Sky’s 3rd production, Power Couple Struggle debuted Valentine’s weekend 2015 in Los Angeles and in 2016 was released as a web series. Power Couple Struggle was nominated for OUTSTANDING WRITING & OUTSTANDING ENSMBLE by the LA WEB-FEST and is Dazzal Mi Entertainment’s first (scripted) web-series while Sunday Mourning is in pre-production to be the company’s first feature film.

In 2017 Kinnik Sky’s launched Dazzal Mi Entertainment’s 501c3, Athletes and Entertainers For Change. The first program for AEFC is The Sky Academy. The Sky Academy is a program designed to expose the underserved youth of LA to jobs in film making as well as arts and culture. Kinnik is honored to be a part of this reading of Tryin to sleep in the Bed You Made.