ESPN sports anchor Stephen A. Smith and his Mr. SAS Productions (“Stephen A’s World,” “Why Not Us?”) are producing an upcoming documentary series called “Black Excellence” examining the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
According to Deadline, “Black Excellence” will explore HBCUs’ impact across American politics, business, culture, sports and entertainment. The documentary will be directed by Confluential Films’ Codie Elaine Oliver and will feature a mix of original interviews, archival footage and media.
The docuseries will also explore prominent individuals who’ve attended HBCUs, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Raphael Warnock, Stacey Abrams, Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Taraji P. Henson, Anthony Anderson and many more.
“Growing up poor, I was distracted by the streets, wondering when I was going to have meals, when I was going to have a roof over my head, and when you are preoccupied with those challenges, you are not worried as much about your education,” Smith stated to Deadline.
Smith is also a graduate from Winston Salem State University in North Carolina and praised HBCUs for offering second chances.
“It led to the system stereotyping and marginalizing you, questioning what you could do and what you could be because your grades and SAT score are the only thing they had to indicate what your potential was. When I went to an HBCU, I was surrounded by people who looked like me, who shared my cultural identity, shared my challenges, my trials and tribulations, I didn’t feel alone,” added the sports journalist.
For many years, HBCUs were the only option when predominantly white institutions would not let African Americans in.
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