Sports broadcaster and producer Stephen A. Smith, under his new prodco Mr. SAS Productions, has partnered with Propagate Content (Hillary) and Confluential Films (Black Love) on the docuseries Black Excellence.
The series, which is helmed by Codie Elaine Oliver (Black Love), celebrates and explores the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in American Society.
Black Excellence will uncover the untold story of HBCUs’ impact across American politics, business, culture, sports and entertainment. Using a blend of original interviews, archival footage and media, the series will examine prominent figures such as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Raphael Warnock, Stacey Abrams, Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Taraji P. Henson and many more who attended HBCUs.
The series will also look at the recent uptick in donations and attention on HBCUs from celebrities such as Michael B. Jordan, Deion Sanders, Chris Paul and MacKenzie Scott.
Episodes will explore the idea that America does not value education, in particular Black education, and the series will examine the legacy of Black excellence borne from these institutions despite violence, adversity and disparity.
Smith is an HBCU alumnus who graduated from Winston Salem State University in North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. For the past two years, Smith has served as brand ambassador for the HBCU Week Foundation and has promoted HBCUs on his ESPN show First Take. He has also hosted HBCU Week collegiate conferences that generated on-the-spot HBCU college registration for over 2000 students, who have been awarded more than $11 million in scholarships.
“It’s time to learn more intimately about HBCUs’ greatness. Their contribution to American greatness. The challenges and obstacles. The barriers HBCUs have knocked down, spanning more than a century,” Smith said in a statement to Deadline. “It is time the true, complete, story of HBCUs is told once and for all. As a proud HBCU graduate from Winston-Salem State University, I can’t wait to tell this story. And I’m honored to have both Propagate and Confluential Films partnering with me to tell the COMPLETE story of HBCUs once and for all. It’s about damn time!”
Smith and Rushion McDonald are executive producers for Mr. SAS Productions. Codie Elaine Oliver and Tommy Oliver are executive producers for Confluential Films. Brian Dobbins is executive producer for Artists First.
Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens are executive producers with Valerie Idehen serving as co-executive producer and development lead on the project for Propagate.
Photo courtesy of Disney/ESPN