Kendra A. Kabasele, Journalist, Producer & Photographer
Kendra Kabasele grew up in Montreal, in the heart of Canada's cultural crossroads. She developed her love of communication and the arts in this vibrant, cosmopolitan city that is rich with the linguistic and cultural influences of its international populace. It was in this creatively fertile environment that her writing talent and artistic vision was born.
Her love of ideas and communication led Kendra in a number of interesting directions. She got involved in Montreal's burgeoning Afro-Caribbean arts scene as a spoken word stage performer. She produced and hosted her own college radio show, which led to stints as a co-host on a number of Montreal's most popular urban music radio shows. She moved on to become an on-air urban music critic for a premier community-oriented television show in Montreal, while continuing to be a freelance contributing writer for national magazines and websites in Canada and the United States. More than just a talking head, Kendra put her creative ideas in motion as writer and producer of her television segments. Interviewing numerous local Montreal fixtures in the community and plenty of entertainment celebrities, including LL Cool J and Russell Simmons, Kendra prides herself on making her subjects react to her unique questions, especially when they ask her, “How did you know about that!?”
Kendra earned a BSc. in Psychology (Honors program) and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Concordia University (Montréal) and having founded her own public relations firm called New Bein' Media, she was eager to take on new challenges.
Kendra took a leap of faith and arrived in Los Angeles, California on New Year’s Eve of 2004. She quickly became acclimated and became very involved in the entertainment and media scene. From working in the marketing department of KCET Television (PBS) to assisting in production for one of the 2005 Los Angeles mayoral debates, the 2005 NAACP Image Awards gifting suite interviews, the 2011 Academy Awards (Oscars), and the 2013 and 2014 Essence Magazine Black Women in Hollywood event, Kendra has already worked in a range of areas in media and television in Los Angeles.
In 2008, she co-produced her first stage play, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange, which celebrated full houses each show. In 2009 she was 1st Assistant Director for Filmmaker Manny Merchan’s short film, “Fall”. She is currently working on her second project with Merchan as Executive Producer of an untitled Gen X documentary film. Look out for her participation as a subject in a separate social commentary documentary called “Diary of Successful Black Men”, out on DVD and available on Amazon.com. She also served on the Advisory Board for Inspired Girls, an organization geared towards inspiring young women and girls to better themselves, and is one of 25 powerful women featured in their first “Legacy Letters”(TM) book anthology, where she contributed a letter to her teenage self. Mentoring is also a special part of her life through the volunteer work she does with some of Los Angeles' high school youth with the Women Like Us Foundation.
Kendra worked at several photography licensing companies, including Icon International and Corbis, one of the top photo licensing agencies in the world, where she worked as a leading Senior Account Executive in Media, overseeing the placement, distribution and licensing of the agency’s photography (news, sports, travel, lifestyle, fashion, celebrity portraiture, etc.) and film footage. She was in charge of licensing to television and film studios, magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets. She also worked at Rex USA (BEImages, Rex USA and Vistalux) where she continued in the same niche, adding event photography to her list of industry knowledge, and London and New York City as part of her business travel experiences.
Currently, Kendra is working as a freelance media professional as an on-air host and reporter, writer and producer. One of her well-received projects includes a blog called ‘Celebrity Optimist’, where the focus is on the shift from the negative to positive things celebrities do with their platforms. Also featured are everyday people giving back as well as other inspiring anecdotes. Celebrity Optimist has expanded to include Celebrity Optimist TV.
Kendra was involved as one of the hosts on AfterBuzzTV, created by Maria Menounos and Keven Undergaro, as a platform for conversation about television shows, right after their latest episodes air. Her assignments? Fox Television’s ‘Terra Nova’, the brainchild of Steven Spielberg, E! Networks’ behind the scenes modeling show, ‘Scouted’, ABC’s ‘The River’, NBC’s new 'Smash' hit and the widely loved ‘The Newsroom’ on HBO!
One of her ongoing projects includes photography. Having worked in the photo world in one way or another for her entire career, she has been inspired to create a special project that’s extremely close to her heart. On Mother's Day 2014, Kendra launched, as a gift for, and in memory of, her mother, The Anita Claire Project. The photos and video interviews are accompanied by blog text and the mission is to capture and honor the special bond and relationship between mothers and daughters (including grandmothers, aunts, and other types of mother-daughter relationships). Kendra produces, shoots, edits, and publishes each story - and website - on her own. Subsequent to her passion project, Kendra launched her main photography site, Kendra A Kabasele Photography, which can be viewed here. Her clients include Essence Magazine, The Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation, California State University Northridge, ABC's The Bachelorette's Eric Bigger, The Gourmet Retailer Magazine, Pepperdine University, Sundance Institute, Ellen Degeneres and Steve Harvey's TV show Little Big Shots, and more.
Kendra most recently was a Digital Writer and Producer for Telepictures' Emmy Award-Winning entertainment news program, Extra. She is also writer and reporter for longstanding trade publication VARIETY and captures behind-the-scenes photos and video for Warner Horizon Television's Bachelor Insider web series, "Will You Accept This Ride?" In the summer of 2017, Kendra co-hosted the main stage at the 11th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair, where she led the day's activities with co-host Albert Lawrence, and conducted a sit-down interview with friend and book fair Ambassador, Entertainment Veteran and Author Kim Coles. Most recently, Kendra has been a copywriter at highly successful fashion brand Forever 21, working on their e-commerce content.
More than 15 years in, Kendra balances a busy schedule and as she continues to build her career, at the core of everything that she does will always be her passion for ideas and communication.