Just ahead of Black History Month, PBS is proving to the world exactly why they've been a forerunner for diversity and amplifying the voice of African Americans!
PBS Digital Studios announces today the launch of three new digital series in January and February, “Hip-Hop and The Metaverse,” “Ritual,” and “Breaking Ground” on PBS Voices, a documentary-focused YouTube channel. “Hip-Hop and The Metaverse” premiered Thursday, Jan. 12, to be followed by “Ritual” on Tuesday, Feb. 14, and “Breaking Ground” on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), each series aims to grow digital production capacity at respective PBS member stations and introduce audiences to a diverse array of stories from across the country.
“We’re extremely proud of the new lineup of shows coming to PBS Voices this year,” said Maribel Lopez, Head of PBS Digital Studios. “The member stations we are working with are deeply rooted in their communities and have found truly compelling stories to tell. We’re excited to bring these stories to a national audience where we know our fans will appreciate the diversity of new voices and perspectives.
“Hip-Hop and the Metaverse,” produced by PBS SoCal/KCET, examines the intersection of music, art, and technology. The series, hosted by Dr. Robeson "Taj" Frazier, a writer, multimedia producer, and professor of media arts, explores the way Hip-Hop artists and entrepreneurs are reshaping and remixing emerging technologies. Artists are now venturing into new virtual worlds to create unique experiences for audiences in 3D spaces, and develop art with innovative decentralized technologies. This series will look at the promise and controversy of the Metaverse and Web3 tech through the lens of Hip-Hop. In each episode, Taj engages with experts and artists in their fields who will share their real-world experiences and discuss Hip-Hop as a culture, genre and multi-disciplinary art form as well as how it transforms and influences the future.
“When people discuss technology, innovation, and Web3 they might not immediately think of Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop communities. But we’re there. And we’ve been there,” said Taj Frazier, Ph.D., host of “Hip-Hop and the Metaverse.” “This production highlights that presence and gives close attention to the role that Hip-Hop creatives are playing in this arena and discussions surrounding it. I’m excited to showcase and celebrate this special community.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, “Ritual,” produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting debuts on PBS Voices. The new series explores the depths and varieties of rituals across the American South alongside the series’ host, Grammy-nominated musician, poet, and New Orleans culture bearer, Tarriona “Tank” Ball. Throughout the series, Tank examines the various layers of meaning contained in various Southern rituals. Each episode focuses on a different ritual that contributes to a larger conversation around a community's relationship between the past and present, and how perpetuating a ritual resonates in the collective regional consciousness.
“Breaking Ground,” a new series produced by Kansas City PBS, premieres Wednesday, Feb. 22 on PBS Voices and tells the story of a community undergoing urban revitalization from within. Hosted by Daniel and Dr. Ebony Edwards, the series follows the couple as they embark on an ambitious experiment to revitalize their childhood neighborhoods without displacing residents. Dr. Ebony Edwards is a community psychologist and Daniel Edwards is an architectural engineer and together, they are developers and owners of a lumberyard. In each episode, releasing on a monthly schedule, the couple works to overcome years of divestment and restore this once vibrant community for future generations.
"We aren't just breaking ground on rebuilding our neighborhood, we are breaking ground on a new economic system to rebuild every black and brown neighborhood across the country," said Daniel Edwards. “‘Breaking Ground’ gives us the opportunity to show past and present actions that depress communities, and the changes we can make collectively to expand opportunities where they have not existed for decades to create a more equitable America for future generations," said Dr. Ebony Edwards.
All three series will also be available on PBS.org and the PBS app, and each will be included in THE BLOCK PARTY, a streaming collection and social campaign presented by PBS’s Black Culture Connection aimed at amplifying Black stories and content across platforms. PBS Digital Studios is also updating its Celebrating Black History playlist on YouTube to include new episodes from these three series.
Y'all give PBS a hand! They do not miss!!