ERA 2021 Virtual Gala Speaker: Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson is an artist, designer, and activist. She made her feature film debut at the age of 15 in the controversial KIDS followed by Spike Lee’s HE GOT GAME and THE 25TH HOUR. She’s since starred in a range of films including ALEXANDER, RENT, CLERKS II, TOP FIVE, TRANCE, UNSTOPPABLE and MEN IN BLACK II, as well as the SIN CITY franchise. She is the voice of “Barbara Gordon/Batgirl” in THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, “Wonder Woman” in several DC Animated films, “Rezzoch” in Netflix’s THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH and “Ms. Ramiro” for Nickelodeon’s IT’S PONY. For her performance in SEVEN POUNDS, Dawson won Best Actress in a Motion Picture Award at the 2009 NAACP Image Awards. On the small screen, Dawson starred as “Allegra Dill” in USA’s BRIARPATCH and as “Claire Temple” in the Netflix adaptation of the Marvel comic book series DAREDEVIL, LUKE CAGE, IRON FIST, JESSICA JONES, and THE DEFENDERS. She also loved joining JANE THE VIRGIN for two seasons as “Jane Ramos.” Her next to-be-released projects include David Oyelowo’s directed THE WATERMAN, which premiered at TIFF, followed by the Ava DuVernay directed pilot DMZ for HBO Max. It was recently announced that she will be starring in the Hulu miniseries DOPESICK and the highly anticipated MANDALORIAN spin-off series, AHSOKA TANO.
Aside from her acting credits, Rosario has produced several passion projects such as Talia Lugacy’s DESCENT, THIS IS NOT A WAR FILM, and THE NEED TO GROW, which highlights innovators healing our broken food systems and the need for soil regeneration to capture carbon and reverse climate change. Rosario was a co-host, editor, and producer of THE ASSEMBLY for Free Speech television on the subjects of hate, protest, and the future, featuring scholars, activists and artists in 2018. Recently, Rosario directed her first short film BOUNDLESS for the Power/On Series as part of the Straight Up Films anthology to encourage girls in S.T.E.A.M. in partnership with YouTube and Google.
In 2013, Rosario founded Studio One Eighty Nine (Studio 189) with Abrima Erwiah, a fashion and media lifestyle brand made in Africa that produces African and African-inspired content and clothing. Studio 189 was recently the recipient of the prestigious CFDA Lexus Sustainable Fashion Initiative prize and of other various awards including the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice award, the MOCADA Social Justice award, and most recently the 2020 Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian’s emerging designer award. Rosario notably wore Studio 189 designs in the Lebron James’ produced NBA 2K20 game that featured her likeness and voice via performance capture.
Dawson is extremely passionate about helping empower LatinX millennials to vote and lead, so in 2004, she co-founded Voto Latino. The organization has registered over one million people and was one of the co-founders of National Voter Registration Day. In honor of Fall Voting Season 2020, she fostered a partnership between Studio One Eighty Nine and Voto Latino, represented as Fashion Our Future 2020; a voter registration and GOTV initiative that Abrima and Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh, lead. Dawson is an active board member of V-Day, The Lower East Side Girls Club, Operation USA and the Environmental Media Association. In 2011, Rosario was honored by Barack Obama with the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her valuable contributions to the community.