“Making Black America: Through the Grapevine” Episode Two Premiered on PBS


( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Tune-In to PBS for Making Black America Episodes 

ENSPIRE Contributor: Perry Merse Jr.

Released on October 11, Making Black America’s second episode aired on PBS. Making Black America: Through the Grapevine is a four-part series from the accomplished Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. The show chronicles the social networks and organizations created by the African American community beyond the reach of the “white gaze.” Specifically, the series recounts features of Black culture, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Black Twitter. This is critical in explaining Black culture and identity and its influence on the country. Namely, it is a testament to the collective efforts of Black people to defy white supremacy stake claim to the national identity. 

First, Making Black America: Through the Grapevine is a production of McGee Media, Inkwell Media, and WETA Washington, D.C. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. is the writer, host, and executive producer. In addition, Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. The show is directed by Stacey L. Holman and Shayla Harris. Last, Dyllan McGee, John F. Wilson, and Bill Gardner are executive producers for McGee Media, WETA, and PBS, respectively. 

Professor Gates invites notable scholars, politicians, cultural leaders, and old friends to discuss the vast networks that Blacks built throughout history and what they look like today. Going back to the “white gaze,” there is a rich history and community that has developed outside of it. While it may not be obvious, it exists everywhere throughout society today. For example, rock n’ roll, blues, and jazz originated in Black communities. This music developed because of a sense of empowerment, safety, and an audience. Likewise, the holiday season is soon arriving, so it is worth mentioning Black artists created certain Christmas songs.

Finally, Making Black America: Through the Grapevine stresses modern Black culture was created by extensive communication networks in the past. Today, there is a striking unity among Blacks. This stems from their networks’ ability to hide in plain sight. In short, works like Making Black America lead to a broader understanding of Black culture and its extensive history.

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