YouTube Originals today announced “Black Renaissance,” a new special premiering Friday, February 26 on the YouTube Originals Channel. The celebration will feature President and Mrs. Obama, Jason Reynolds, Killer Mike, Desus Nice & The Kid Mero, Jemele Hill, artist Shantell Martin, and a performance by Tobe Nwigwe. More names to be announced soon.
Black art and culture have defined the American experience. “Black Renaissance” 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. This special will feature dance, music, fashion, photography, literature, Afrofuturism, and the art of Black Women and LGBTQ+ artists.
“People come to YouTube as a place to learn and connect. This Black History month we wanted to continue meeting this challenge which I believe has never been more important,” said Nadine Zylstra, Head of Learning, Impact, Kids & Families for YouTube Originals. “By choosing art as the lens to further explore Black history, we hope to inspire our audience to continue embracing Black culture in all its various forms.”
“Black Renaissance” was created in partnership with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Howard University Graduate Film Program, and NAL Media. Vignettes by young filmmakers Raafi Rivero (an alumni of Howard University’s Graduate Film Program) and Naomi Merlan (Howard University) will be featured in the show. The show is Executive Produced by Jason Reynolds, Leah Harper Lane, and Guy Carrington; Co-Executive Producers are Kristen Wong, Dave Schilling, and Clover Hope; Music Director is Pauli Lovejoy.
Additionally, in February, YouTube Originals will launch a new episode of “BookTube” (premiering February 25) with Alicia Garza, Principal at Black Futures Lab and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, discussing her book, “The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart.
“Black Renaissance” continues the mission of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund to invest with intention and present fresh narratives that emphasize the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity and joy of Black voices, as well as to educate audiences about racial justice. Programming from the Fund also includes “Bear Witness, Take Action 2,” which continued the movement on racial justice to evoke change and protect Black lives; a momentous livestream event “HBCU Homecoming 2020: Meet Me on the Yard, which brought us the traditional HBCU homecoming traditions virtually; “Resist,” a documentary series from Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors; “A Day in the Live: WizKid,” a live special following Nigeria’s fastest rising singer/songwriter; and forthcoming projects “Onyx Family Dinner,” a series gathering the multi-generational Onyx family for open conversations about life and what’s going on in the world over dinner, and “Barbershop Medicine” (working title), aiming to put the “public” back in Public Health and explore the impact race and socioeconomic status have on healthcare and longevity. Additional YouTube Originals centering on global Black experiences and addressing racial justice include: “Together We Rise” , “Trapped: Cash Bail in America”, “Glad You Asked” season two (premieres this year), “The Outsiders” (premieres this year), and the award-winning Kids & Family series Lockdown.
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