Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Black Public Media (BPM) is taking its second biannual National Black Media Story Summit (BMSS) virtual, with discussions focused on how to distribute Black stories during this critical time of #BlackLivesMatter, through public television, commercial media and XR (extended reality).
The free conference, open to the public with registration, will kick off on June 23 at 7 p.m. ET/PT with a town hall on ‘The Pandemic Pivot,’ and includes a salute to trailblazing docmaker Marlon Riggs.
BMSS runs from June 23 to 25.
The town hall is moderated by Stephanie McKee-Anderson, performer and artistic executive director of Junebug Productions, and will feature Ryan Wilson of the Gathering Spot and Jason Steer of the Apollo Theater on their pivot to online events showcasing Black talent during the COVID-19 crisis.
The following day, a two-hour panel session, “Rebuilding the Distribution Ecosystem,” will open with remarks from cultural critic and community organizer Phillip Agnew. Speakers will include Michelle Materre (Creatively Speaking), Maori Holmes (BlackStar Film Festival), author Dr. Yaba Blay and Aymar Jean Christian (OTV-Open Television), and they will discuss how the traditional media distribution system has been upended by the coronavirus and how Black content makers and creatives can take the opportunity to level the playing field.
The final day begins with a National Pride Month salute to trailblazing filmmaker Marlon Riggs, a two-hour “Clips and Conversations” viewing party, including selections from Tongues Untied and archival interview with Riggs. Other filmmaker’s works, including Thomas Allen Harris and Luchina Fisher will also be screened, and they’ll join Smithsonian National Museum of African America History and Culture’s Rhea Combs in a conversation on Riggs’ legacy, moderated by documentary filmmaker Yoruba Richen.
To learn more about or register for the 2020 Black Media Story Summit, click here.
“Two major global events, the COVID-19 pandemic and the renewed call for justice by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, have highlighted not only the inequities faced by the Black community here in the U.S. and globally but those of storytelling itself,” said Leslie Fields-Cruz, executive director of BPM, in a statement. “Black creatives and executives in media must be a part of the decision-making on what stories are told and how these stories are being distributed to ensure they reach their intended audiences and share the full breadth of diversity of our experiences.”
Pictured: A panel discussion during the 2018 Black Media Story Summit (photo credit James Brooks)