June 1, 2021




By Leslie Fields-Cruz

There's a Lot to Celebrate this Pride Month

Last year this time, my team and I were struggling to re-engineer a summit we'd long planned to be an in-person affair into something that could be presented and attended virtually. Like BPM,  NYC Pride, which for decades has hosted one of the nation's biggest Pride festivals, also had to reimagine its annual event. The organization ended up canceling its beloved Pride March and hosting many other events online.

Thankfully, the high rate of vaccinations in NYC and across the country this June has allowed NYC officials to reopen the city, so I expect Pride Fest 2021— which also happens to be the event's 50th anniversary — to be more spectacular than ever.

In the spirit of Pride, BPM is proudly promoting our AfroPoP Season 13 opener Mama Gloriaby Luchina Fisher.  If you haven't watched it yet, make time to do so this month. It is a beautiful love story about Gloria Allen, a trans woman whose irrepressible self love was nurtured by her own mother and grandmother, and led her to become a maternal figure for later generations of trans youth.

The film includes songwriter Shea Diamond's original ballad Presence of a Legend, which pays tribute to Ms. Allen and is destined to be a timeless hit. As you watch Mama Gloria, take a minute to check out our new line of AfroPoP branded merchandise in the BPM Shop.


All proceeds benefit BPM, so you can look fly while also promoting your favorite documentary series AND making it possible for us to continue creating opportunities for Black media makers like Luchina Fisher. What's not to like?

This month, we also hope you'll watch the BPM-co-presented doc Two Gods, by Zeshawn Ali and Aman Ali, as it airs on Independent Lens June 21. You can read more about that inspiring film in this edition of the newsletter.

Finally, if you liked what you saw at our BPM Showcase back in April, I encourage you to consider making a donation to our summer campaign. All proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit BPMplus and our Nonso Christian Ugbode Fund, which enable us to continue making grants to Black makers working in VR, XR and AI storytelling.

It is hard to believe the first half of 2021 is nearly over.  As pandemic survivors, we have much to be thankful for. Going forward, I hope the lessons of Covid-19 will guide our choices and encourage us to live each day humbly appreciating the stories that have brought us this far and ever more committed to ensuring the stories yet untold get a chance to be shared.

Oh, and to those of you who have the privilege of answering to the name Daddy/Papa/Baba/etc., Happy Father’s Day!!

Black Public Media is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with further funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. Support for Afropop: the Ultimate Cultural Exchange and the 360 Incubator+ Fund comes from the National Endowment for the Arts. BPM is the only nonprofit that offers training, funding and distribution for projects solely about the Black experience. We are seeking foundations, corporations and individuals to help our work. For more information about underwriting and contributions, please contact Alisa Norris (Alisa@ blackpublicmedia.org). To donate, click here! In addition, you can donate to BPM through your Amazon purchases by going to smile.amazon.com/ch/31- 1335950.

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