Black Public Media gave $410,000 to five teams of Black creatives at the PitchBLACK Awards. BPM Director of Program Initiatives Denise Greene and 360 Incubator + Creative Consultant Sandra Rattley announced the winners on the Black Public Media website. Ameha Molla and Rajal Pitroda received $100,000 for their documentary Higher 15 about a former Ethiopian revolutionary who became the lead witness in an FBI investigation against his murderous prison guard in war-torn Addis Ababa. Hazel Gurland-Pooler and Naz Habtezghi were also the recipients of $100,000 for their film Storming Caesars Palace about Ruby Duncan a co-founder of the Welfare Rights Organization, who launched a grassroots movement for universal basic income, economic justice and Black women’s empowerment.
Stephanie Etienne and Kanika Harris were awarded $75,000 for their film Listen To Me which follows the pregnancy and post-partum journeys of four Black women. Malkia Lydia and Khalil Munir also won $75,000 and it was for What’s In A Name? which follows Munir’s history as a performance artist in South Philadelphia.
Carrie Hawk and Chelsea Moore received $60,000 for their Inner Wound Heal which is an animated digital short about three BIPOC individuals who used to self-injure but now find creative ways to cope.
The BPM Trailblazer Award was given to Marco Williams for his decades of work in public media as a producer and director and mentor to the next generation of directors. The Emmy nominee and Peabody Award winner is currently working with Stanley Nelson on a film about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 which will be aired on the History Channel this May marking the centennial of the event.
Creative technologist Josie V. Williams was tapped for the second Nonso Christian Ugbode Digital Media Fellowship, an honor named after BPM’s late director of digital initiatives, designed to acknowledge young makers in digital media. Support for the NCU Fellowship is provided by the Tarver Walls Foundation.
For more information about BPM visit their website blackpublicmedia.org.