Betty K. Bynum
Betty K. Bynum, who “gives God all the praise and glory” is an actress, writer, singer and songwriter and entrepreneur. She has secured a commitment with TARGET CORPORATION for “THE I’M A GIRL COLLECTION” book-based brand to be presented in TARGET for in-store release for SPRING 2013 -- with additional series titles and a line of dolls manufactured by MADAME ALEXANDER/ ALEXANDER DOLL COMPANY.
“THE I’M A GIRL COLLECTION” is created out of her passion and love, and her intense tenacity. She began with the first idea, the “I’M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL!” picture book. Then, taking on a challenge from her child, Joshua, who challenged that she create books to reflect the world he lives in, a “global community” inclusive of all colors, she created a line of books, dolls and apparel for all girls. The focus of the brand lands particularly on girls of color who should been honored with love and caring. Thus, celebrating their beauty and desire for validation for their culture and for themselves “just as they are” without having to change or modify their own individuality.
As a versatile creative artist, Betty landed a film deal for her script THE BROWN ENVELOPE with FOX SEARCHLIGHT Studios and TODD BLACK, Producer (“The Great Debaters”, “The Pursuit of Happyness”, “Pelham 123”). Her play THE QUILTERS OF GEE’S BEND: A PATCHWORK PLAY IN STORIES AND SONGS is currently scheduled by CHRIS ASHLEY, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE to be presented in a staged reading premiere in summer/fall 2013. She is overjoyed to know the real Quilters, the women of Gee’s Bend personally, and to have been invited to write their stories for the stage and film. Her first screenplay, STONEY END was optioned by the producing team of Carl Rumbaugh (AMERICAN BEAUTY) and the brilliant SUSAN BATSON (prominent acting coach and film Producer). Along with the screenplay “STONEY END”, she has written a compatible series of 16 songs for the soundtrack score for the film. Betty has also written another set of nine songs and is in the process of recording her own CD of R&B and cool jazz material. She was a recipient of the 2005 USC / BILL & CAMILLE COSBY SCREENWRITING FELLOWSHIP and a finalist the Scriptapalooza screenwriting competition.
Her film and television credits as an actress, to name a few, include DEATH AT A FUNERAL (with CHRIS ROCK), ER, LAW & ORDER, CHARMED, WHAT ABOUT YOUR FRIENDS, UNTAMED LOVE and also stars in “TIME OUT” -- winner of the HBO SHORT FILM AWARD 2004 with John Singleton, Executive Producer. As a Feature Article writer she has contributed numerous articles to the national publication SAVOY MAGAZINE and the Los Angeles based DYSONNA MAGAZINE. Her acting talents have landed her in original theatre productions of “SPUNK” directed by George C. Wolfe, and “DREAMGIRLS” directed by Michael Bennett. She work-shopped a lead role in two early presentations of the new BERRY GORDY/ SUZANNE de PASSE “THE MOTOWN MUSICAL” production, headed for Broadway. She has worked extensively in Regional theatres such as Hartford Stage Co., Williamstown Theatre Festival, Denver Center Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum “New Works Festival”, Baltimore Center Stage, and the Negro Ensemble Company of New York. As a singer, she has headlined in major Jazz Clubs like Catalina Bar & Grill, opened for artists such as PATTI AUSTIN, written and recorded her own songs.
Betty was a student in the Cinema Program for Directing at LACC in Los Angeles and an active participant in The Writers Program at UCLA. She has completed her first novel, “COURAGE”, has written three screenplays, “STONEY END”, “ALL MY BEAUTIFUL SISTERS” and “IN LOVE AND TROUBLE”; and three plays, “OF GRITS AND NATURAL GRACE”, “A MAZE IN GRACE” and “PIGMENTATION BLUES” directed by Bill Duke for the Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles (Finalist in the KENNEDY CENTER FUND FOR NEW AMERICAN PLAYS, 2001 and Winner in the THEODORE WARD PRIZE FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN PLAYWRIGHTS) under the dramaturgical guidance of L. Kenneth Richardson and Jose Rivera, respectively. Ms. Bynum became a member of the Los Angeles based Playwrights Unit, headed by Jose Rivera (MOTORCYCLE DIARIES) in collaboration with Ensemble Studio Theatre West. Currently in development is her new play, “OF GRITS AND NATURAL GRACE”, and a musical “BLUES TO A WARTIME REVEILLE”. By commission, she has written the jazz musical based on bebop music and the life of ELLA FITZGERALD entitled “BEBOPERELLA” as well as commissioned to write a stage event with full orchestra, “OH, FREEDOM” (a history of African-Americans from slavery to rap music) both to star Patti Austin. She has singularly produced fundraising events sponsored by Bill Duke, John Singleton and Antwone Fisher to support PEACE4KIDS, the non-profit foster kids organization of South Central Los Angeles. Her entrepreneurship includes a delightful line of handbags bags premiered in Fred Segal, Santa Monica under the designer name of BETTIE BAGS (bettiebags.com)