Making Black in America: Through the Grapevine

Making Black in America: Through the Grapevine

Fri, 02/03/2023 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm

In this four-part series renowned scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the vibrant cultural and social spaces at the heart of the African American experience. 

Making Black in America: Through the Grapevine, airs Fridays, February 3 & 10 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV. The four-part series highlights the vibrant cultural and social spaces at the heart of the African American experience. 

Making Black in 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 in 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.

Episode One – February 3  at 9 p.m. As early as 1775, free Black people in the North and South built towns, established schools, and held conventions ─ creating robust networks to address the political, economic, and social needs of the entire Black community.

Episode Two – February 3 at 10 p.m.  With the hopes of a multi-racial community dashed, African Americans turn within, creating a community that not only sustains but empowers. From HBCUs to Black businesses to the Harlem Renaissance to political organizations, Black life flourished.

Episode Three – February 10 at 9 p.m. To survive a period of economic cataclysm and global war, African Americans relied on informal economies, grassroots organizations and cultural innovations behind the color line to sustain themselves and dismantle the oppressive realities of Jim Crow.

Episode Four – February 10 at 10 p.m. Despite the gains of legal desegregation, all Black political and cultural movements - from Black Power to Black Twitter - continued to provide a safe space for a community riven by class, sexuality and generational divisions to debate, organize and celebrate.