EGOT-winning actress Viola Davis and her husband and producing partner, Julius Tennon, along with Houston-based publisher Lavaille Lavette, are launching JVL Media, a new independent publisher focused on diversity and inclusion. On its website, the company lists New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and London as its primarily operating hubs.

JVL Media's debut list includes the memoir Had to Lose to Win: The Tiki Davis Story by actor and motivational speaker Tiki Davis and The Inclusion Leader Genius by Dr. Johné Battle, the senior v-p and chief diversity officer at Dollar General. The company's first fiction titles include the novel New Hope by actress Tanya Wright and Black States of America by D. E. Rogers, a sci-fi epic that reimagines the trajectory of Black lives in an alternate reality. The company plans to expand into publishing children's and young adult books next year.

"This endeavor embodies our collective aspiration—to champion and elevate voices that resonate with authenticity and are often overlooked," Davis said in a press release. "Our mission is to interlace a rich mosaic of both fiction and non-fiction that not only stirs the imagination but also venerates the enduring heritage of storytellers from diverse walks of life."

Lavette has worked as a publishing consultant and ghost writer in addition to running the publishing companies One Street Books and Every Child an Author, and will provide the professional insight necessary to run the company. She told PW that JVL Media will function both as a publisher and a packager.

Lavette has worked in publishing for more than 20 years and has published or packaged hundreds of titles—many of them “under the radar, but bestsellers,” she said. These include her own series of children’s books, Rooster Roux, published in partnership with Pelican Press and now under her own imprint at One Street Books, as well as books with numerous celebrities, including Davis's memoir Finding Me, published by HarperOne, and thrillers by actor Eriq La Salle, which are published by Sourcebooks.

“I find I work best when it is in service to others and it is a very productive way of publishing,” Lavette said.