RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021
Laquana Lightfoot started writing at six years old to manifest the life of her dreams. She’d write about overcoming the obstacles that a girl just at 7 years old went through in school from being bullied. When she wasn’t writing, she spent most of her time watching television, movies, and reading books that she begged her mom to purchase from the school catalog every year. During her high school years, she encountered numerous obstacles that led into traumas. At the age of 17, she was diagnosed with severe depression and post traumatic stress disorder. The students and friends around her couldn’t relate nor was mental health even discussed within her family or friendship groups. After graduating high school, she wasn’t so sure what it was she wanted to do with her life, but she knew that it would involve writing. So, she enrolled into LaGuardia Community College and graduated with a degree in Communications.
She spends most of her current days working on scripts and opportunities that could lead her into having a successful filmmaking career which to her means – telling the stories that need to be told that people are afraid to hear and helping those, just like her, who need the help whether that’s in film or anyone who knows what it’s like to live with depression and anxiety, or any mental health issue. She’s worked as a production assistant at a few companies and even created her own short film, Say Her Name, where she wrote and produced it during a national pandemic.
Laquana’s main idols include Lena Waithe and Ava DuVernay. She manifests everyday one day working with them and of course, Taraji P. Henson playing the lead role in one of her films.
Laquana is a go-getter, someone who doesn’t quit and will do whatever it takes to make sure she achieves her goals and dreams. It may just be because of where she comes from, but when she knows a blessing is heading her way, she has her arms open to receive it.
After an extensive search and interview process, 30 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s Summer 2021 Lab for Entertainment Professionals. This 8-week, 24-session virtual summer Lab series for people interested in – and with experience in – development, production and post-production, including careers as writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, animators and other production roles, will take place June 22 – August 12, 2021. Participants include diverse people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health and other disabilities. This Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award. Learn more: www.respectability.org/respectability-la-lab.
This program, which continues building the talent pipeline of young professionals with disabilities looking to work behind the scenes, is made possible with support by:
- Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation, The Harnisch Foundation, Pop Culture Collaborative, Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company
- Gold Sponsors: A&E and Final Draft
- Silver Sponsors: NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS