As racial tension reaches fever pitch nationally in the wake of the violent protests in Charlottesville, some hope emerges. The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), the nation’s only nonprofit dedicated solely to media content about the Black experience, has been awarded $750,000 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Journalism and Media program. NBPC is using the grant to help train and fund Black filmmakers and other content producers to produce broadcast and web series, transmedia projects and emerging media that inform and educate the electorate about important Black issues.
“Quite apart from any political and social activities aimed at addressing issues affecting the Black community in America, there is an urgent need in America for images that help dispel myths and broaden human understanding,” said NBPC Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz. “Support from the MacArthur Foundation for NBPC’s efforts to expand the opportunities for producers of color to work in emerging media is further confirmation that diverse perspectives must be part of today and tomorrow’s ever-evolving media landscape.”
The multiyear award will support NBPC’s 360 Incubator + Fund, which provides new and emerging producers and creatives with development funds for their innovative pilots of broadcast and web series, as well as for transmedia projects depicting stories on the African Diaspora. NBPC will also use the funding to launch its latest initiative, WOKE! Broadening Access to Black Public Media, which will connect storytellers of color working in nonfiction and emerging media to funding, training, resources, partners and distribution opportunities. As a part of WOKE!, the media arts organization will present the first-ever Black Media Summit, designed to ensure that media-making is strategic; the Summit will bring creatives together with funders, distributors and Black thought leaders from social justice, immigration and education to identify the most vital stories to be told at this point in history and construct a plan for how to best distribute them across new technologies and platforms, such as VR (virtual reality), gaming, digital and mobile media.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Journalism and Media program works to strengthen American democracy by informing, engaging, and activating Americans through deep investments in independent journalism and media. The award to NBPC is part of a total of $5.7 million in grants being given to seven organizations to help support professional nonfiction media makers from diverse backgrounds.
For more information on the organizations and projects recently awarded grants from the MacArthur Foundation, please visit www.macfound.org/journalism. For more information on the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), visit www.blackpublicmedia.org, or follow NBPC on Twitter @BLKPublicMedia or on Facebook.