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The mission of the Black Entertainment Museum Foundation (BEMU) is to chronicle, memorialize, celebrate, and pay tribute to the lives and works of Black creative talent in ALL ASPECTS of the entertainment industry.

This historic museum is dedicated to telling the stories of individual artists whose contributions, both in front of and behind the camera, have made significant contributions to the entertainment landscape as well as society around the world.


OUR vision

BEMU is being established to act upon the importance of documenting the impact of Black creatives in the entertainment industry and PERPETUATE THEIR LEGACY AND THE POWER OF EMBRACING diversity.

Preserving Black culture is not only essential, BUT IT IS ALSO imperative to educate Black youth about their history and remind society at large of the value and contributions of various areas of BLACK talent.

Through exhibitions and archives, BEMU’s objectives are to provide a distinctive interactive environment in which patrons of all ages, abilities, and experiences can feel free to imagine, adore, create, and welcome the knowledge into their lives. BEMU commemorates the illustrious careers and life struggles of Black artists, and shares their accomplishments through historical exhibits, of original works, costumes, props, pictures, photos, videos, copies of performances, movies, and television appearances.



Our purpose is to provide a place online and in Hollywood, California, where people can come to witness and learn about the important contributions of Black people in film and television both creatively behind the scenes and in front of the camera, on stage and artistically behind the curtain, and musically, in performance, or writing and producing. The entire span of the entertainment industry will be showcased throughout the years.

This will be done through interactive and innovative technologies that will give the visitor true insight into the lives of Black entertainers and at the same time embrace the spectacle that is Hollywood through elaborate exhibits.

Some Entertainers received fame and fortune some industry pioneers struggled to overcome racism and the limitation put on them as they worked in their respective crafts that never really let them realize their greatness at the time.

We believe that it is crucial to preserve the incredible stories and the profound history of those that have paved the way for the stars of today.  We will rejoice in the accomplishments and fortitude of those in the past and applaud the success of today’s Black celebrities in all their glamour and truths.

BEMU will share these accomplishments through an archive of original works, costumes, props, pictures, photos, videos, and copies of performances, movies, and television appearances.  BEMU will be a safe place to house the precious materials and treasures of the Black entertainment community.

This museum will be like no other in existence as we will specialize primarily on all facets of the entertainment business in an interactive technology driven style, and we hope our work will encourage the entertainment Industry to increase the presence of diversity and help build this with us as we build this tribute to our Black treasures, we welcome any information on the location of artifacts that may be of interest and donations of artifacts by contacting: Natalie Speech.

If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to this historical museum, please don’t hesitate to click here. We accept any amount, debit, credit card, Venmo, PayPal, and CashApp.

Image by Mitchell Luo

The Co-Founders of The Black Entertainment Museum Foundation (BEMU), Cynthia Avon Lee and Natalie Speech are proud to announce that Coming Soon will be the Website followed by the Physical Building Location that will be the home to the definitive story of all things in Black Entertainment!

Natalie Speech


With twenty years’ experience in the entertainment industry as a producer, award-winning theater director, development executive, talent manager, agent, entrepreneur, and activist, Natalie Speech brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Black Entertainment Museum Foundation. Having been entrenched in several aspects of the industry, she has mastered the art of behind-the-scenes creativity, a skill that has served her extremely well in her various endeavors. Her vision and innate ability to successfully, and seemingly effortlessly, put together big and small ventures [from concept to fruition] has also earned her the reputation as the “go to” person for getting things done in Hollywood. Natalie’s beginnings in the entertainment industry stretch back to her childhood days in Kansas City, where she trained in acting, tap, ballet, and acrobatics. Her extraordinary gifts were put on center stage when she played multiple roles in one single production of ‘The Prince and the Pauper,’ at the Southside Community Center in San Jose, California. Bitten by the performance bug, Natalie would later establish herself as an lead actress in stage productions throughout the Bay Area. However, it was while pursuing her education as a theater arts major on the campus of San Jose State University that she also developed a love for producing, and her drive for multilevel success was born. Natalie founded the performing arts group “Artist in Minority,” and went on to produce several theatrical events on campus such as ‘In the Wine Time’ by Ed Bullins, West Coast Night at the Apollo, South Bay Comedy Jam, and the original stage play “The Aftermath”, a critically-acclaimed production she also directed, and which garnered her the Toddy Award for Best Student Director from the acclaimed San Jose State Theatre Department. Upon graduation from San Jose State, and moving to Los Angeles, Natalie accepted the position of House Manager at the prestigious Burbage Theater in Westwood, California. There she was able to apply her skills as the lighting director/operator, costumer, sound crew and the stage manager. During this time, legendary international jazz and blues singer Barbara Morrison also engaged Natalie to co-manage productions at her Southland Cultural Center theater in Inglewood, California. Armed with a resolve to not be pigeon-holed, and clear vision fueled by an indomitable entrepreneurial spirit, Natalie decided to move on to expand her horizons and learn all facets of the entertainment business. She founded Ne’j Productions and started casting and producing theatrical shows. Under her direction, the company successfully produced Can I Sing for you Brother? The Shaggy Wolfman Tales, The Tempest, the Entertaining Educational Weekend Extravaganza. Based on the success of Ne’j Productions, Natalie expanded the business to incorporate talent management, and Ne’j Management was born. Natalie soon became Hollywood’s go-to manager for high-profile media placements of minority youth, in various projects, including the Academy-Award winning film American Beauty, blockbuster American Pie, and The Woods. During this time, Natalie, a lifelong community activist, founded a free acting school for neighborhood youth, hosted by Ne’j Management at Screenland Studios in North Hollywood. Securing the services of various professional teachers in voice, acting and dance, the school’s goal was to turn theatrically gifted under-served kids into triple threats (in film, theater, and music) - and she did! To complement her other endeavors, Natalie started 2 Guys Casting and became a reliable source for supplying talented minority actors for film and television and developed a reputation for delivering on “last- minute” or “rush” casting calls. This led to work with casting directors such as Monica Cooper, Bill Dance, Central Casting via Academy Kids aka Kidz Background and Christopher Gray casting -- some of whom still turn to her to fulfill their casting needs for studio projects. Natalie also collaborated with various other casting directors and producers on projects for Universal Music, Columbia, and Epic Records. One of the highlights of Natalie’s casting career was providing numerous kids for the I know I can music video by Nas and Girlfriend by B2K. Overall, 2 Guys Casting cast various film and television projects, including BLBTV, Life of the Party, Echo Mod Squad with Sir Keith Holman, and The Club for the late Tommy Ford and handled the extra casting on the project The Broken Gear by Haile Lee. Natalie’s unique gift of effectively matching talent with projects ultimately caught the attention of Cavaleri & Associates Talent Literary Agency. The company quickly asked her to join their theatrical and commercial departments, and after making her an offer she couldn’t refuse, Natalie was lured away from casting and talent management to pursue the role of talent agent. This, she felt, gave her additional insight into how the industry worked and from a different perspective. Negotiating contracts for print, commercial and theatrical talent allowed her to become well-versed in contract and labor negotiations. Even as she has segued from agenting and management to launch the Black Entertainment Museum Foundation, Natalie continues to develop properties to produce for film and television. Having studied documentary filmmaking at UCLA, she is currently working on two documentary features -- “Not by Design: When Illness alters everything,” which she is also directing, and “Branches of a Family Tree.” Her portfolio of projects also includes the fun family travel show, “Life of the Party” and a electrifying reality competition show, “Are You Rap Royalty?” With her “Blue Lights in the Basement” monthly podcast, which is currently in development, Natalie will get to indulge her longstanding love affair with the entertainment industry, as she shares cutting-edge perspectives on various types of careers within the entertainment world and how they relate to current events in the business. Highly respected by her peers, Natalie is a well-rounded professional, who brings a powerful combination of creative production experience, entertainment business expertise, determination, integrity, and a treasure trove of connections, all of which equip her to successfully run BEMU. Through BEMU and its quest to chronicle, memorialize, celebrate, and pay tribute to the lives and works of Black creatives in this amazing venture, Natalie is determined to continue to make a significant impact in Hollywood. In her spare time, Natalie loves to travel, train for marathons and, whenever she gets the opportunity, indulges in her first love of acting. She also participates in international speech contests, where she has earned the title of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). She currently holds the position of President of Imagination at NBCUniversal Toastmasters, a global public-speaking, communication, and leadership enrichment program, via Toastmasters International.

Cynthia Avon Lee


Cynthia serves as an Executive Television Consultant. She has served as a television executive for the NBC, CBS, and ABC Television Affiliates. She was also an executive for The BET Networks. As station manager of programming and news for the ABC affiliate WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio, Ms. Lee made history by becoming the first African-American female television executive in commercial television. While at WYTV she created the local equivalent to Good Morning America and was instrumental in developing the news division. While innovating creative programming at this ABC affiliate, she caught the eye of the CBS Flagship station WBBM in Chicago, Illinois and was recruited to become a member of that prestigious team as the Programming Executive. At the time, she was the highest ranking African-American in the CBS-owned television station group. There, Ms. Lee led the programming division into its most productive, award-winning, three years. Under her tutelage, her team garnered the coveted Iris Awards for several documentaries and won several Emmys for Bill Kurtis’s Specials, the highly successful documentary series, “Two on Two.” She pioneered their first all- black production team at CBS for a Black History month special focusing on the leadership of Black America. This program won a San Francisco State Award and a CEBA Award for Television Excellence. ​Upon leaving CBS, she had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to executive produce a One Time Only (OTO) special at the Kennedy Center in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. This star-studded, groundbreaking program was the first television special to use multiple hosts. The two-hour gala was hosted by Lou Gossett, Jr., Cecily Tyson, Robert Guillume and Patrick Duffy. The production was the first African-American produced, nationally syndicated special that reached over 110 markets in prime time. After this production, Ms. Lee decided she needed more experience in syndication and successfully landed a position with Group W Productions as Director of their Midwest Division. She was responsible for distribution in over thirty (30) markets across the country. While at Group W, Ms. Lee was part of the largest children's television distribution arm in the country, and was responsible for distributing two nationally stripped (airs five days a week) one-hour talk shows and two one-hour animation shows. Upon leaving Group W Productions, Ms. Lee was asked by Bob Johnson to become the executive over all programming at BET. She single-handedly was responsible for developing all entertainment programming on BET including the thirteen (13)-year highest rated show on the Network, “Comic View” which helped launch the careers of DL. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and many others. ​Ms. Lee created the BET “Walk of Fame” which heralded successes of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Diana Ross. She created the format for the current BET Awards. She was instrumental in the launches of BET Movies a co-venture with Encore (now called Black Starz), the BET restaurant chain, and the special events that were held and televised live from the Walt Disney World Club opening in Florida. She gave Destiny’s Child their first television debut featuring Beyonce. She again brought prestige to BET when she created their syndication division and garnered their first and only prime time Emmy Nomination for the nationally syndicated program “A Tribute to Black Music Legends.” In addition, her creation of the long-standing youth program, “Teen Summit,” earned BET its first ever NAACP Image Award and several Image Awards followed. She was Executive Producer for BET of the event known as “Black Oscars” and “Black Emmys” for six years. ​Ms. Lee was a creative powerhouse and brought new business to the network. She was responsible for “Screen Scene” The Black Entertainment Tonight Show; with the creation and marketing of that program she brought the movie commercial business from zero to millions in revenue for BET. With over thirty (30) years of experience she has become known as the expert in “startups.” She has started entire divisions and independent operations as well as created individual programs. She started up the BET Los Angeles offices and the co-venture with Microsoft, MSBET. She has managed budgets from Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200K) per project to Sixty Million Dollars ($60M) for an entire programming division. She has managed a staff of two hundred (200) and has shown the fiscal responsibility in delivering her departments under budget year.

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