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HBO and Cox Communication Partners with Urban League of Hampton Roads
HBO and Cox Communications Hampton Roads, in partnership with the Urban League of Hampton Roads , will co-host the Virginia premiere of THE BLACK LIST: VOL.2 at an invitation-only screening event, on February 23 , at Chrysler Hall. Renowned photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and award-winning journalist, critic and radio host Elvis Mitchell will personally premiere the second installment of a new kind of living, talking, evolving coffee table book, featuring prominent African-Americans of various professions, disciplines and backgrounds, as they address the camera directly and offer their own stories and insights on the struggles, triumphs and joys of black life in this country and manage to re-define "blacklist" for a new century in the process.
"The HBO premiere of THE BLACK LIST: VOL.2 is an ideal forum for Cox Communications and the Urban League of Hampton Roads , Inc. to convene a local conversation about race, progress and opportunity," said Edith White, president and CEO of the Urban League of Hampton Roads . "With the documentary, Cox Communications and the Urban League launch a new local initiative showcasing pioneers in racial reconciliation and progress. This new initiative will create a lasting legacy for our community and create a forum for on-going communication and collaboration to address vital community needs," she added.
THE BLACK LIST: VOL.2, which debuts February 26 , exclusively on HBO, is a collaboration between celebrated portrait photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who directs, and award-winning journalist Elvis Mitchell, who interviews a host of influential people.
The documentary profiles some of today's most fascinating African-Americans. From the childhood inspirations that shaped their ambitions, to the evolving American landscape they helped define, to the importance of preserving a unique cultural identity for future generations, these prominent individuals offer a unique look into the zeitgeist of black America, redefining the traditional pejorative notion of a blacklist.
The list of people featured in THE BLACK LIST: VOL. 2 includes activist and artist Majora Carter; activist and academic Angela Davis; producer Suzanne de Passe; actor Laurence Fishburne; Anglican Bishop Barbara Harris; Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick; pastor T.D. Jakes; physician and academic Valerie Montgomery-Rice, M.D.; filmmaker Tyler Perry; singer Charley Pride; fashion designer Patrick Robinson; actress Maya Rudolph; musician RZA; filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles; and artist Kara Walker.
Mitchell is never heard or seen on camera, which allows the subjects' own voices to remain the focus. The actual title was first conceived by Mitchell as an antidote to the persistent taint that western culture has applied to the word "black."
"THE BLACK LIST: VOL. 2 is an important piece that tells the stories African-Americans who have made great contributions to society, and we felt that this was an important activity for our own region, particularly as we celebrate Black History Month," said Gary McCollum, senior vice president and manager of Cox Hampton Roads. "So, in April at the Urban League's annual dinner, Cox and Urban League will unveil "Hampton Roads' Black List" which localizes the theme utilized in THE BLACK LIST: VOL. 2 documentary. I am very pleased that we were able to bring this important activity to the region," McCollum emphasized.
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Elvis Mitchell conceptualized what would become "The Black List Project" in May 2006 , discussing the idea of collaborating on a book on black culture, which led to the documentary. They wanted "The Black List Project" to be not just an enumeration of obstacles overcome, but also a unique source of insights that would emphasize the elegance and determination of its subjects.
A 2008 Sundance Film Festival selection, "The Black List: Vol. 1" debuted on HBO last August, and featured such notables as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sean Combs , Thelma Golden, Lou Gossett, Jr., Bill T. Jones, Vernon Jordan, Toni Morrison, Richard Parsons , Chris Rock, Al Sharpton, Slash, Faye Wattleton, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Serena Williams.
Inspired by "The Black List: Vol. 1," HBO launched a "Who's on Your Black List?" contest, asking viewers to submit a video of themselves, a relative, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor or anyone else who has a story to tell about his or her experience of what it's like to be black in America today. The four winning videos were selected by a distinguished panel of judges and general viewers and are currently viewable on whosonyourblacklist.com . In January 2009 , the winners visited New York , where they had their portraits taken by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and were interviewed on film by Elvis Mitchell. Select clips from these interviews will be showcased on various HBO platforms throughout February.