The importance of Black motherhood is an often-overlooked topic in American life, but Janay Coplon is determined to open the conversation.
To say that Coplon can do it all would be an understatement. She is currently the manager of innovation at Ellen Digital Ventures (EDV) and heads the production company June Entertainment. Her past credits include producing podcasts, scripted and unscripted series, and live events. Along with excelling behind the camera, this multihyphenate is also an actress and comedian.
It was her eclectic collection of work experiences that led to Coplon’s unexpected hiring at EDV. It also proved that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.
“When I made the move to Ellen Digital Ventures, it honestly came as a surprise,” Coplon said. “I was doing a lot of freelance work, created a show for Peloton, and produced a lot of on-air content. One day, I received a random email on LinkedIn from the head of the innovation team at EDV about my qualifications. He was impressed by my resume, and said I was the perfect candidate to bring Ellen and the Ellen brand to the next generation.”
“It was one of those serendipitous moments where everything that I’ve done, and the weird array of jobs that I worked made sense for someone,” she added.
After starting her new role, Coplon was able to curate several projects ranging from digital, long-form, NFTs, documentaries, and more. This dream job – along with the many blessings that she had received throughout her life and career – was the impetus for the creation of her nonprofit, Hey Sis.
Her membership in the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), led her to ask the question: “Why don’t more women my age have mentors in this industry?”
“WEEN – which was run by Valeisha Butterfield Jones – had a lot of amazing members and mentors,” the former producer of The Real said. “Prior to my involvement in WEEN, I didn’t have any women mentors, nor many women in my field that I could look up to, so becoming part of that program really inspired me to create something of my own for others.”
“I realized that more women my age needed mentors,” Coplon continued. “I wanted to give young women direction and advice, so they too could have the same opportunities that I was afforded early on in my career. I wanted to build that bridge to help the younger generation – and even my peers – so they could get their foot in the door. Helping people came so naturally to me, and that’s how Hey Sis was born.”
With this content creator being so experienced in production, launching the Girl Mom podcast was something that was a bit more daunting. A person’s vision behind the camera is vastly different from one’s point of view when you’re in front of a camera.
“It’s definitely a bit more difficult, especially for subjects like this [motherhood],” she said. “So much of it is personal; so much of it can be dark. So, being able to have a critical eye is important because it’s my story. But I still have to put that producer hat on and make it entertaining for everyone that’s willing to listen. It’s a task when you’re trying to separate the talent and producer aspects, and being able to distinguish between the two.”
Her new podcast is set to launch on Mother’s Day, and will explore the often difficult, complicated yet beautiful relationship of Black mothers and their daughters. Each episode will highlight a different family and theme. Coplon’s purpose of her new creative endeavor is to create the conversations of generational trauma, love, and motherhood in many different households.
“The conversations that I grew up with were so valuable and important, that it made me want to create something bigger, so I created this podcast. My hope is that as people listen to it, they will bring these conversations to their homes and families so the healing can start. Then people can cope and begin to move on from past trauma”
She also seeks to shift the unfair perception of Black mothers, especially their portrayal on social media. Throughout history, mothers have been the backbone for many of America’s households, and with Girl Mom, Coplon hopes to highlight their importance.
“Black mothers are so much more than what we see on the internet. They’re deep and complicated women. I think that a ‘girl mom’ has a rich story that is worth telling.”