Advancing Black Stories & Storytellers is What We Do
by Leslie Fields-Cruz
Last week, filmmaker/comedian CJ Hunt contacted us to ask if we would host a virtual conversation that upcoming Sunday between him and NYT best selling author Clint Smith. We were happy to oblige.
CJ’s latest film, The Neutral Ground, documents New Orleans’ fight over Confederate monuments and America’s troubled romance with the Lost Cause. Co-presented by BPM and the Center for Asian American Media, it premiered on POV last summer and is currently streaming online.
Clint’s latest book, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, is a deep dive into the plethora of historic documents verifying that slavery was indeed the central issue over which the civil war was fought, contrary to what generations of Americans have been taught in the 156 years since the war ended.
BPM was able to host the conversation between these two thought leaders because we now have a person on staff whose full-time responsibility is to manage engagement activities. Eboni Johnson, our new engagement manager, was quick to set up the program and promote it via our social media channels. She also served as host, introducing CJ and Clint, and ran the backend of the webcast.
Helping Black storytellers bring their work to the public is a central part of Black Public Media’s mission. For more than four decades we’ve worked to ensure these types of films are available to television viewers. And as the media landscape widens, we’re working hard to ensure the content our makers produce is available wherever it can find an audience.
We’re thankful to all who attended last weekend’s event and invite those who missed it to check it out on our social channels. We also encourage everyone, especially those of you who are members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, to screen CJ’s entire film. While you’re at it, watch Elena, another BPM-supported film that is eligible for Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category.
This has been an exciting year for BPM. CJ and Clint’s webcast is just one of many new opportunities we’ve explored. And we couldn’t have done it without you. Which is why I’m hoping you’ll join us next Tuesday (Dec. 21), for our year-end holiday party. Since Covid-19 continues to circulate, we’re holding the party virtually. But that just means we can accommodate everyone with access to the internet who’d like to attend. The festivities will kick off at 6 p.m.ET, and continue through 8 p.m., ET, on BPM’s Topia platform. To register, click here. The morning of the 21st you’ll receive a password granting you access to the evening event.
I hope you can make it!
— Fields-Cruz is the executive director of Black Public Media