Making Black American Highlights the Heart of the African American Experience
The latest documentary series by renowned scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Making Black America: Through The Grapevine, premieres on October 4. This new four-part series highlights the vibrant cultural and social spaces at the heart of the African American experience.
“For centuries, ‘the Grapevine’ has connected Black Americans in formal and informal networks not just as a way of communicating but of building and sustaining communities large and small,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the program’s host, writer, and executive producer, said in a press release. “From churches to fraternal and sororal organizations to Black Twitter, this is the story of the making of Black America and how, in the making, a people did more than survive the onslaught of enslavement and segregation. They redefined America and its cultural gifts to the world.”
Making Black America chronicles the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people beyond the reach of the “White gaze.” The documentary series recounts the establishment of the Prince Hall Masons in 1775 through the formation of all-Black towns and business districts, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, destinations for leisure and the social media phenomenon of Black Twitter. Gates sits with noted scholars, politicians, cultural leaders and old friends including Charles M. Blow (journalist and commentator), Angela Davis (political activist, scholar and author), André Holland (actor), Fab 5 Freddie (hip-hop pioneer and visual artist), Jason King (chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music), Killer Mike (rapper and activist) to discuss this world behind the color line and what it looks like today.
Over the course of four weekly episodes, Making Black America takes viewers into an extraordinary world that showcases Black people’s ability to collectively prosper, defy white supremacy, and define Blackness in ways that transformed America itself. Each of the four episodes showcase, chronologically, how Black Americans built a community to support and empower each other and to fight for equality.