CPB Honors Black Public Media’s 40 Years of Increasing Representation of African Americans in Media

Jul 02, 2020

WASHINGTON (July 2, 2020) -- Black Public Media (BPM), the nation’s only nonprofit media arts organization dedicated to the funding, production, and distribution of media content about the global Black experience, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Established by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) as part of public media’s mission to serve diverse and underserved audiences, Black Public Media has advanced diversity in public media content and services by amplifying the work of creative professionals of color and helping to increase their representation in the industry.

Since its founding in 1979, BPM has funded projects such as Julie Dash’s landmark film “Daughters of the Dust” and Raoul Peck’s acclaimed “I Am Not Your Negro.” Their own signature works include the documentary series “AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” and hit web series like “Black Folk Don’t.” BPM’s 360+ Incubator Fund trains Black producers in new and emerging media, cultivating a rich talent pipeline for the public media industry. Formerly named the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), BPM is part of the National Multicultural Alliance, a group of five institutions funded by CPB to help ensure that the cultural diversity of America is reflected in public media nationwide.

“Black Public Media is a vital partner in fulfilling public media’s mission to feature diverse voices and talent as we connect to an increasingly diverse America,” said Pat Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “We join BPM in celebrating their 40 years of innovative and impactful contributions to the industry across all mediums.”

To commemorate the anniversary, BPM has published a 40 for 40 Media Game Changers list highlighting the producers, curators and institutions whose work has helped form the modern landscape of Black, independent media and bring Black storytelling to the forefront. Notables include public media filmmakers Stanley Nelson and Thomas Allen Harris; and impactful media companies like Ava DuVernay’s Array Now, Blackside Productions ("Eyes on The Prize") and Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and Mule Filmworks.

“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. “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.”

Other organizations in the National Multicultural Alliance include Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), Koahnic Broadcasting Corporation, Vision Maker Media (VMM), and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), which work in partnership with public media stations and other public media entities to present diverse content to national audiences.

To learn more about Black Public Media (BPM), visit blackpublicmedia.org.

About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmediaFacebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.