Black Public Media marks 40th year with 40 for 40 Media Game Changers list

Black Public Media (BPM) is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the release of the 40 for 40 Media Game Changers list, which names the creatives, curators and institutions that have “pushed ...
June 4, 2020

Black Public Media (BPM) is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the release of the 40 for 40 Media Game Changers list, which names the creatives, curators and institutions that have “pushed forward Black storytelling.”

The commemoration of the organization’s 40th year will culminate June 23 to 25 with its second National Black Media Story Summit, a virtual convening of creatives, distributors, thought leaders and funders that addresses ways to distribute Black stories as the U.S. confronts its history of oppression and Black creatives “respond with even greater dedication to telling the unapologetic truth.”

BPM’s 40 for 40 Media Game Changers list spotlights trailblazers in the categories of Storytellers, Media Executives and Curators and Institutions.

The honorees include artists, producers, executives, non-profits and companies whose work has helped form the modern landscape of Black, independent media.

Some of the game changers include Stanley Nelson and his non-profit prodco Firelight Media; Array Now, the film collective founded by Ava DuVernay; 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, founded by trailblazing director Spike Lee; Mahen Bonetti, founder and executive director of African Film Festival and its flagship program, the New York African Film Festival; and dream hampton, the award-winning filmmaker, writer and activist behind titles such as It’s A Hard Truth Ain’t It (2019), Finding Justice (2019) and Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.

Additional honorees are: Thomas Allen Harris (Digital Diaspora Family Reunion), a creator who has pioneered a participatory model of filmmaking using film, video and performance; Julie Dash, director, writer and producer noted for her critically-acclaimed film Daughters of the Dust (1991); Marita Rivero, a television executive who began her career with Boston’s WGBH-TV and helped steer landmark television programs such as A History of Slavery and the creation of the World Channel; and  Charles Hobson, a television producer who helped break racial stereotypes by bringing the Black perspective to television audiences with programs including Like It Is.

“As we reflect on 40 years as an organization at such an explosive moment in America, it has never been more vital that we as a community remain at the helm of creating and telling our stories,” said BPM executive director Leslie Fields-Cruz (pictured), in a statement. “One of the reasons BPM has been able to remain at the forefront is due to the strong community of creatives and partnerships we amassed, so it was only fitting that we recognize some of those who helped us along the way to shift the paradigm. It takes the collective to make change happen.”

For the complete list of Black Public Media’s 40 for 40 Game Changers, click here.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.