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2021 Black History Month Features

Are you looking for an engaging documentary to watch with the family? Do you need a special report to share with you students? Or a digital platform that taps into your musical and/or intellectual interests? Well I have a few things that are airing this month in honor of Black History Month:

Television

  • Tuskegee Airmen: Legacy of Courage (History Channel)- Wednesday, February 10th at 8pm/ET…”In this one hour special, Robin Roberts explores the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary group of African American pilots including her father that served in WWII, revealing how these warriors for change helped end segregation in the military and pave the way for the civil rights movement.”
  • The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song (PBS)- February 16 & 17th at 9pm ET/8pm CT…An intimate four-hour series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song will explore the 400-year-old story of the black church in America, the changing nature of worship spaces, and the men and women who shepherded them from the pulpit, the choir loft, and church pews.
  • American Masters: How It Feels To Be Free (PBS)…“The inspiring story of how six iconic African American female entertainers – Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier – challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process.

YouTube, Website & Streaming Services

  • Your Attention Please (Hulu)-February 18th 8pm/ET…Your Attention Please is a TV series “that introduces audiences to Black innovators and creators who are working to leave the world better than they found it.”
  • Ailey Experience Atlanta-February 19th-21st…Ailey Experience Atlanta celebrates over forty years of a rich partnership with the city’s most prominent arts and civic organizations. This year, AEA teams up with AREA Atlanta to bring Ailey Experience online to the greater Atlanta area and across the country.
  • iHeartRadio’s Living Black! (iHeartRadio)-February 20th 6pm/ET…A first ever special event that features conversations that educate, inspire and celebrate the Black experience through a mix of custom tributes from artists and listeners across the nation. 
  • Black Renaissance (YouTube)- Friday, February 26th…A YouTube Originals special that will showcase the Black creators, artists, writers, storytellers, and history makers who have shaped our nation’s history; and the next generation of Black voices who are reimagining our future. The special will also feature dance, music, fashion, photography, literature, Afrofuturism, and art from Black Women and LGBTQ+ artists.
  • All Hands: Race Toward Inclusion (Cheddar.com)…”All Hands is a show about the minority stories that go untold. Each week, we peel back the layers of business stories that expose racial inequalities and are exacerbated by global phenomena like climate change and health crises. We also discuss the successes of minority businesses and communities, and examine how to talk about, and take action on, race-related topics. It’s an inclusive living room in which to have meaningful, difficult, and provocative discussions… *for* everyone.
  • A Most Beautiful Thing (Peacock)…Narrated by the Academy Award/Grammy-winning artist, Common; executive produced by NBA Stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade along with Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder; and directed by award-winning filmmaker (and Olympic rower) Mary Mazzio, the film chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in this country (made up of young men, many of whom were in rival gangs from the West Side of Chicago), all coming together to row in the same boat. Based on the memoir by Arshay Cooper.
  • Freedia Got a Gun (Peacock)…“Devastated after learning that her brother was murdered, New Orleans bounce legend Big Freedia raises awareness about gun violence, an epidemic that continues to disproportionally harm Black communities.”
  • The Sit-in: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show (Peacock)…“In 1968, entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte took over “The Tonight Show” for one historic week, introducing a fractured, changing country to itself alongside legendary guests like Aretha Franklin and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Get your popcorn ready!!

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Posted in On the Desk...

On the Desk…

Let’s Go #Back2Wakanda !!

Aerial view of Wakanda

Looks like fans we will be able to revisit the Kingdom of Wakanda!

Check out what crossed my desk…just got word that acclaimed director Ryan Coogler (Black Panther, Fruitvale Station, Creed) is set to create a new Wakanda series for Disney+!!

As reported by Marvel.com, Ryan Coogler is set to develop a new drama for Disney+ that is based on the fictional society of Wakanda. The upcoming series is set to be a part of The Walt Disney Company’s five-year exclusive television deal in collaboration with Coogler’s multi-media company Proximity*.

So not only do we get to see the work of Coogler in film through the Black Panther sequel, but we will also get to see his magic play out on our television screens!! According to Bob Iger, Executive Chairman-The Walt Disney Company,

“Ryan Coogler is a singular storyteller whose vision and range have made him one of the standout filmmakers of his generation…With Black Panther, Ryan brought a groundbreaking story and iconic characters to life in a real, meaningful and memorable way, creating a watershed cultural moment. We’re thrilled to strengthen our relationship and look forward to telling more great stories with Ryan and his team.”

This is very exciting news, as viewers will get a chance to see Wakanda’s story continue to unfold, and in many ways create another branch that picks up from where we stopped in the 2018 Black Panther film. As a huge fan of Coogler’s work (directing, producing, writing), I can only imagine what he along with his Proximity team have in store for us! Through this television series and other potential projects, audiences will get the opportunity to dive deeper into the fantastical world and people of Wakanda. In addition, the creation of this series will also provide another platform to elevate and amplify Black diasporic talent and voices in front and behind the camera and television screen.

“We look forward to learning, growing, and building a relationship with audiences all over the world through the Disney platforms. We are especially excited that we will be taking our first leap with Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and their partners at Marvel Studios where we will be working closely with them on select MCU shows for Disney+. We’re already in the mix on some projects that we can’t wait to share,” as stated by Coogler.

Nothing like watching the unveiling of Black Excellence!!

*Proximity is a multi-media company founded by Ryan Coogler, Zinzi Coogler, Sev Ohanian, Ludwig Göransson, Archie Davis and Peter Nicks with a mission to create event-driven feature films, television, soundtracks and podcasts that look to bring audiences closer together through stories involving often-overlooked subject matters. Proximity is committed to developing a wide variety of projects across all budget levels.

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On the Desk…

“Thank you Ms. Cicely Tyson!!”

With the recent passing of the legendary Cicely Tyson on January 28th, I remember the moment I got the news…my heart stopped and for several moments I lost all breath in my body. I did not want to believe that Earth had lost a legend, and the ancestors gained a new angel!

Television and film will never be the same without Ms. Tyson!! Her mark on Hollywood is unforgettable. She not only entertained but educated. Ms. Tyson’s resume is so vast and diverse, she could embody any role and nail it, all while achieving numerous accolades! I can vividly remember watching her in Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, Roots (1977), Own Network’s Cherish the Day, Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), The Proud Family, Idlewild (2006), Netflix series House of Cards and so so so much more! With each role she left an indelible imprint.

Considering she never had a dull moment, it warmed my heart to know that she received her flowers while she was still alive. So often the awards, honorary moments, medals and come after an icon passes, but in the case of Ms. Tyson she got to see it, live it and enjoy it!!

Coming from humble beginnings, Ms. Tyson blazed a trail and did not stop until her last breath (almost literally). At 96 years young, to me, Ms. Tyson was immortal!! Her beauty, her voice, those striking eyes, her style…she was simply flawless!!

As we continue to celebrate Ms. Tyson’s life and legacy, I look forward to learning more about her in her own words as I read her 2021 memoir, “Just As I Am”.

So yes Ms. Tyson “you’ve done your best” and some….and for that I say Thank You!!

~Dr. G

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One the Desk

To Be Young Gifted and Black: Finding Black Excellence in “The Hill We Climb”

Sweet Baby Jesus!! Today (and yesterday) we witnessed #BlackExcellence and #Herstory in multiple ways, from the swearing in of Madame Vice President Kamala V. Harris, to the inspiring benediction by Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman, to the full display of Black fashion (Pyer Moss, Christopher John Rogers, Sergio Hudson), to the powerful and poignant National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman !! My cup runneth over and I was filled with pure joy and happiness.

However, one moment in particular that stood out for me was witnessing 22-year old Amanda Gorman recite her poem The Hill We Climb on the Capitol steps this morning! Gorman’s poem was more than just words on a paper, but a call to the past, a moment to reflect, a call to action, and a space to inspire. Glowing and shining like the North Star, Gorman stunned audiences with her long yellow coat and crisp white shirt, with a ruby red headband atop her braids … listening to her reminded me of watching Maya Angelou share her poem On the Pulse of Morning at President Bill Clinton’s 1992 inauguration.

Now we assert: How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

Gorman’s words, poise, and presentation inspired me as a fellow Black woman and it is my hope and prayer that her action and representation inspires not only young girls, but women of all ages to make their voices heard!

National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman delivering her poem “The Hill We Climb”
during the Biden-Harris Inauguration on January 20th, 2021

Everything about this occasion reads dignified, graceful, and refreshing! She had such a natural flow…literally and physically! Gorman’s eloquent moment in so many ways channeled the legacies of Shirley Chisholm, Maya Angelou, Ella Baker, Toni Morrison, and Fannie Lou Hamer!! The foundations they established laid the groundwork for a young Black woman like Amanda Gorman. Ahhhh they would be so proud! The acknowledgement of this moment is essential and should not be forgotten, if anything we should continue to see more moments like this one!

Let me tell you the ancestors are truly smiling today!!

For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, If only we’re brave enough to be it.

To see the full video and transcript, please see here!

~Dr. G.

Posted in On the Desk...

On the Desk…

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ~Frederick Douglass

It is nothing like finding a good book, a cup of coffee (or your drink of choice), and curling up on your couch as you float in literary heaven. I am always thankful when I get the opportunity to flip through pages, listen on Audible, or digitally swipe through the Kindle pages.

Here in this space, I will offer my suggestions of good books to add to your reading list (whether personally and/or professionally). This will be an opportunity to share books with you and hopefully get some recommendations from you as well. As they say, “sharing is caring.”

So make sure you stay tuned, you never know what may cross my desk!!

Happy Reading!!

~Dr G

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com