Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association

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Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association
Abbreviation BESLA
Formation 1980[1]
Purpose "BESLA is an international organization of lawyers and other entertainment and sports industry executives that supports a more diversified, expert and informed group of entertainment and sports industry professionals."[1]
Headquarters Fort Washington, Maryland[1]
Membership >600[1]
Chairman of the Board Edward L. Woods, Esq.[1]

The Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, usually abbreviated as BESLA, is a professional organization of attorneys along with sports and entertainment executives of color to provide continuing education and other support services to its members.


BESLA's headquarters is in Fort Washington, Maryland. Edward L. Woods, serves as Chairman of the Board and Tamela R. Cash-Curry serves as President.[1]


In 1980, during the first annual Black Music Association Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a group of prominent African-American attorneys determined that there was a need for a support organization to help individuals survive in a competitive marketplace. This led to the development of the Black Entertainment Lawyers Association (BELA), later that year. One of the founding members was the late David McCoy Franklin, a pioneering African-American entertainment attorney who had represented such talents as Donny Hathaway, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Richard Pryor. He would serve as the first Chairman of the organization. As African-Americans began to make in-roads into sports representation, the name of the organization was changed to the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) in 1986.[1]

Today, the organization boasts over six hundred members, which include individuals who hold posts at major corporations and representatives of name talent.[1]

Each year, BESLA holds a major conference on entertainment and sports representation.[2]

Most recently, the 29th Annual BESLA Conference was held in Palm Beach, Aruba from October 21–25, 2009. Filmmaker Reginald Hudlin served as the closing speaker of the conference.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "BESLA's history and mission". United States: BESLA. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  2. ^ Stoute, Tasha (2009-08-26). "BESLA ANNOUNCES 29th ANNUAL CONFERENCE FOCUSING ON "DISRUPTERS' FOR CHANGE". Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  3. ^ "TJSL Attends BELSA {sic} in Aruba". San Diego, California: Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Retrieved 2009-12-12. [dead link]

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