Freeform Sets Second Annual Summit to Spotlight Programming, Inclusivity

The Disney-owned cable network will bring together its stars, showrunners and executives along with other tastemakers at the March event.
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Yara Shahidi (left) and Karlie Kloss at the 2018 Freeform Summit

Cable network Freeform will hold its second annual Freeform Summit in March, putting a spotlight both on its programming and its message of inclusivity.

The event, set for March 27 in Hollywood, follows the inaugural summit held in early 2018. That event included panels discussing LGBTQ representation onscreen and the dating habits of millennials — along with the announcement of a rebranding for Freeform.

This year's summit will be organized around an "UnPageant," which Freeform describes as a reimagined beauty pageant where there's "a stage for everyone" to share their stories.

"Today's generation of young adults are teaching us to see the world differently and strive for diverse representation in everything we do within storytelling, fashion, music and the entire entertainment landscape," Freeform president Tom Ascheim said Thursday in a statement. "So whether you're a pageant queen or a drag queen, at this year's Freeform Summit, the stage belongs to everyone and there are no judges allowed."

The summit will feature executives from the Disney-owned channel along with showrunners, actors and directors from the Freeform shows Good Trouble, Grown-ish, Cloak and Dagger, The Bold Type, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists and Siren, along with the upcoming series Besties. A group of influences and tastemakers dedicated to "creating culture and effecting change" also will be part of the event.

A list of panels and participants is below.

Young Adults Keep Ruining Everything. Moderated by Entertainment Tonight's Nischelle Turner, a panel about how young adults are using their platforms and savvy to reshape the status quo in television, sexuality, art and fashion despite popular stereotypes.

Why Won't You Date Me? Attraction vs. Implicit Bias, On and Off Screen. Moderated by Out magazine's Tre'vell Anderson, a discussion on the importance of diversifying love stories on screen and how that can affect the real world.

Be Whoever the FF You Want. Moderated by Jessica Radloff of Glamour, a group of "fearless forces" will discuss ways to find the confidence to fight for what people deserve, know their true worth and level the playing field.

A Stage for Everyone: What the "UnPageant" Means for the Future of Representation. Moderated by Nylon's Sesali Bowen, a panel featuring people working toward a more inclusive idea of beauty through fashion, storytelling and activism.

Participants in the summit include Kenya Barris, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Sasha Pieterse, Gigi Gorgeous, Eliot Laurence, I. Marlene King, Joanna Johnson, Peter Paige, Francia Raisa, Nyle DiMarco, Patrick Starrr, Maia Mitchell, Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, Diggy Simmons, Josh Thomas, Sherry Cola, Samantha Fishbein, Aubrey Joseph, Zuri Adele, Leyna Bloom, Hillary Kerr, Avie Acosta, Billie Lee, Geena Rocero, Lala Milan and Dexter Mayfield.

March 6, 1 p.m. Updated with panel announcements.