BESLA’s Board consists of legal professionals who work in and/or have an interest in sports, entertainment, and media.  The regionally diverse Board members are engaged in their local communities and work to develop partnerships between BESLA, industry, and the legal education community.  The Board conducts its work through committees including, but not limited to: Annual Conference, Programs, Scholarships, and Sponsorships/Fundraising.

Khadijah Sharif-Drinkard, Esq.

Khadijah Sharif-Drinkard serves as Senior Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs at Viacom where she
oversees deal making for BET Networks. She is a strong business partner with broad expertise in
practicing media and entertainment law. Khadijah leads a team that structures and negotiates a wide
variety of complex transactions in connection with the development, production, acquisition and
distribution of content across platforms. Her experience as a skilled business executive and deal maker
were paramount in her closing deals for a number of high-profile projects, including, The New Edition
mini-series (the highest rated show ever on BET), The Bobby Brown Story and in bringing the Black Girls
Rock! franchise to BET. Prior to working at BET Networks, Khadijah served as Vice President, Senior
Counsel at Nickelodeon where she helped to launch such hits as Dora the Explorer, Diego and The

Khadijah is a graduate of Class XXII of the Women in Cable Telecommunications’ (WICT) Betsy Magness
Leadership Institute, a premier leadership program for women in the media industry. She is also a 2012
graduate of the inaugural class of BET’s THR!VE Executive Development Program. In her spare time
Khadijah works in the field of philanthropy and human development, where she has traveled and served
on delegations to South Africa, Rome, Russia, China and the United Kingdom, and has worked with the
United Nations to help aspiring business women from Iraq.

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Khadijah holds a host of leadership positions. She
created a Viacom company-wide mentoring program entitled Get Connected (and worked in partnership
with Get Schooled in association with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) where Viacom employees
served as mentors to public school students in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Khadijah
helped to launch Viacom’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) for women entitled HERE: Women @
Viacom where she served as Co-Chair. In addition, she served as Board Chair for Horizons Newark, a
program aimed at closing the achievement and the opportunity gap for inner-city children. Currently,
Khadijah serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers
Association (BESLA) as well as President of the Board of Columbia College Women.

In 2019, Khadijah received the Ruth Whitehead Whaley Award from Fordham Law School’s Black Law
Students Association (BLSA) for being an outstanding alumna and the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers
Association (NJMLA) Medal of Honor for her exemplary leadership as a Muslim American attorney. In
2018, she was awarded the inaugural Corporate Counsel of the Year Award from the Muslim Bar
Association of New York (MuBANY). Khadijah is a recipient of the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity
in Communications (NAMIC) Luminary Award for her business acumen and her commitment to diversity
and inclusion and she also received a NAACP Image Award for her work on the children’s animated
movie “Kasha and the Zulu King”.

Khadijah frequently serves as a presenter for industry conferences and panels and has been featured on
numerous television programs and in a variety of publications, including The New York Times and on the
cover of Newsweek magazine. She gained prominence as a high school student and victorious lead
plaintiff in Sharif vs. New York State Department of Education where she challenged the SAT scholarship
distribution procedures. She contributed to a book entitled Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim
Women Speak (Beacon Press), where she writes about her journey as an activist and a Muslim American.
Khadijah earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Columbia University and her Juris Doctor
from Fordham University School of Law. Khadijah lives with her husband and two daughters in New

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