Marsha Warfield and Terra Renee Speak Truth to Power

Kelly A Adkins
July 15, 2022

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Celebrate National Whistleblower Appreciation Month by attending the 10th Annual Whistleblower Summit and Film Festival (WSFX).

The week-long Summit and Fest will include thought-provoking panel discussions, creative lab, a correspondents dinner, comedy showcase in tribute to Dick Gregory and the film festival supporting whistleblower-filmmakers.


Marsha Warfield, “Night Court” actress and comedian, will be the host of the Whistleblower Correspondents Dinner, Jul 29, and the Comedy Showcase: A Tribute to Dick Gregory, Jul 30. 

Warfield is known for utilizing her platform and comedic skills to discuss and promote advocacy, according to her autobiographical website

“I have always been very aware of imagery and how much it matters, and representation matters,” Said Warfield.  “Having the privilege of being able to speak to lots of people comes with a responsibility to make sure you have something to say.”

Warfield paid homage to Dick Gregory–the late comedian, civil rights leader and activist whom the Comedy Showcase is in tribute to–saying that society had to reach a point where activists’ points of views were even listened to at all. 

“These people [Dick Gregory and other activists] made a big political difference in how we look at things, and it is my job to hold the mirror up to society and say ‘This is you!’” Said Warfield.

The 10th Annual Summit and Fest will also mark 50 years since the Watergate break-in, which inspired the 2022 theme: Does the truth still matter?

A previous Haydenfilms Talks interview with co-founders Michael McCray and Marcel Reid, Michael explained that this theme also poses the question: Does the history of whistleblowers still matter?

“I think that the truth still matters, but I don’t know if we know how to recognize the truth,” said Warfield, “we are a country that is not founded in the truth; that is founded in the lie of equality.” 

Warfield said that the last presidency resulted in the people being told everything was a lie, and that the only trust should be in now-former-President Trump’s words. 

“We have factions of information that all claim to be telling the truth, but some of it just doesn’t make sense and it is getting hard to tell the difference,” said Warfield. 

She aims to celebrate the bravery and courage of whistleblowers and correspondents who have had more repercussions than she has faced. 

“The most people are going to do is walk out or ignore me or boo, but these people have faced some very serious consequences and paid a price for speaking out and speaking up,” said Warfield.

“We have a very strange definition of courage; we think it involves fighting and guns and things, not standing up,” said Warfield. “There's a reason public speaking is the most scary thing most people can come up with; standing up and standing for what you believe is not easy.”

Warfield hopes the Correspondents Dinner and Comedy Showcase events will give someone the courage and reason to tell a truth that has been left unsaid. 

“Just because your voice shakes or you’re squeaky, it’s ok. Say it. Let it out. We need that. We need you. You are important.” She said. 


Terra Renee, founder and president of the African American Women in Cinema Association (AAWIC), will serve as the president of jurors for the film festival. 

The president of jurors role selects the jury members who will screen the submitted films and designate which films will receive awards. 

Renee said she was “bit” by the “entertainment bug” early on in life, and was called to audition as a tall, African American actress that was not a size zero for an under five role. When she got to the audition site and saw one thousand women who “fit the bill” she was in shock. 

“That’s when I realized the lack of opportunities [for African American women] and the advocacy just rose up in me,” said Renee. 

AAWIC was originally launched with the intention of a one-time event; when Renee saw how many women shared similar experiences to her first audition, she knew she had to do more. 

Her inspiration draws from the “talented storytellers” she has met on this journey. “Whose ideas were not fortunate to see the light of day until we created a space for them to make that happen.” 

Reid said that film is the fastest way to build popular sentiment in the previous Haydenfilms Talks Interview, and is the reason that the Fest was originally added to the Summit. 

Renee said that the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s included whistleblowers, and that media was used for the world to see that they were discussing. 

She agrees that the truth still matters today and that it has to do with present-day society.

“It is amazing what we are experiencing now in our nation where it feels like the truth has to fight against a lie,” said Renee. “Even if it is crushed to the ground it will rise up again. . . Truth is a powerful element that will never erode; it just brings freedom with it.”

She said that being a voice for the voiceless in these days and times is crucial, and that the WSFX platform needs support now more than ever.

Attend the Whistleblower Summit and Film Festival on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. from Jul 22 to Jul 31.

Purchase your tickets by accessing the “Shop” page on the WSFX website. 

Speak Truth to Power

You can help give more power and voice to whistleblowers by supporting the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival. You will be helping to highlight civil and human rights violations across the globe. Call us at (870) 543-0024 or email us at

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