29 JUL 2020

FREMANTLE TO DISTRIBUTE PBS AND WNET THIRTEEN'S “HOW IT FEELS TO BE FREE”

The New American Masters documentary, which tells the story of six trailblazing black female entertainers was produced by Yap Films and executively produced by Alicia Keys. The film is set to premiere in early 2021 on PBS and documentary Channel in Canada.

Share

Fremantle is set to distribute PBS and WNET Thirteen Production's recent documentary, “How It Feels To Be Free” worldwide. The series is produced by Yap Films and executively produced by Alicia Keys. “At this unprecedented time of racial reckoning and as Hollywood is reassessing its role in perpetuating racist stereotypes, now is the perfect moment to tell the stories of these path-breaking women who have inspired generations of Black female superstars, like Keys, Halle Berry, Issa Rae, Ava DuVernay and Lena Waithe who continue to push boundaries and reshape how African American women are seen onscreen,” Director, Yoruba Richen said.

The New American Masters documentary about trailblazing black female entertainers Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson, and Pam Grier, Premieres Winter 2021 on PBS. “These revolutionary Black women embody stories of courage, resilience, and heroism. They fought for representation and economic, social, and political equality through their artistry and activism,” Michael Kantor, American Masters series executive producer said. “We are proud to share the stories of how each left an indelible mark on our culture and inspired a new generation.” 

The film, slated to premiere in early 2021 on PBS and on documentary Channel in Canada, features interviews and archival performances to tell the inspiring story of how six iconic African American female entertainers, Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, and Pam Grier challenged the entertainment industry against racist stereotypes and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process. 

Based on the book “How It Feels To Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement” by Ruth Feldstein, the film tells the story of how these  women served as pioneers in the entertainment industry and the #TimesUp, #OscarsSoWhite, and #BlackLivesMatter. The documentary also features Alicia Keys, who executively produced the project, Halle Berry, Lena Waithe, Meagan Good, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, and many others.

Richen examines the impact these trailblazing entertainers had on reshaping the narrative of Black female identity in Hollywood through their art and political activism while advocating for social change. The film highlights how each woman singer, dancer and actress Lena Horne; jazz vocalist, songwriter and actress Abbey Lincoln; Tony-winning actress, singer and model Diahann Carroll; jazz, blues, and folk singer Nina Simone; actress and model Cicely Tyson; and actress Pam Grier harnessed their celebrity to advance the civil rights movement. 

At this unprecedented time of racial reckoning and as Hollywood is reassessing its role in perpetuating racist stereotypes, now is the perfect moment to tell the stories of these path-breaking women who have inspired generations of Black female superstars, like Keys, Halle Berry, Issa Rae, Ava DuVernay and Lena Waithe who continue to push boundaries and reshape how African American women are seen onscreen.” Yoruba Richen Director, "How It Feels To Be Free"