Three arts groups based in Washington, D.C., are joining forces to create a film and theater collective to galvanize the Black storytelling industry, locally.
Prosperity Media, a nonprofit media arts organization, Koalaty Entertainment, a film and video production company and The Zhanra Group, a play development company, will announce the move at a news conference Feb. 28 at the National Press Club.
Sherelle R. Williams, founder of Koalaty Entertainment, is also a media scholar and educator whose research focuses on the way film and television represent African-American women.
“There are many untold stories about people of color who have actually helped to make the world we live in a better place for everyone,” Williams, said in a statement. “As a partner in the collaborative, Koalaty Entertainment’s goal is to bring these diverse stories to life.”
The success of “Hidden Figures,” an Oscar-nominated film based on a book about the Black, female mathematicians who worked for NASA and helped launch John Glenn into space, proves now is the time to promote Black film and theater, said Cheryl Hawkins, chief executive officer of Prosperity Media.
“Black authors are telling cultural stories that can help us know each other better,” Hawkins said in a statement. “Coming together to express the Black narrative through film literacy is something that is long overdue.
Meanwhile, Clayton LeBouef, artistic director of The Zhanra Group and an actor featured on “The Wire,” “Homicide” and “Something the Lord Made,” remembers when the Black arts not only entertained people, but also emboldened many to become socially engaged. He said it’s time to build on that legacy.
“A thriving Black film theater industry in Washington, D.C. can bring social and economic benefits to residents on a national level,” LeBouef said in a statement.