The Black List: Vol. 2 profiles some of today's most fascinating African- Americans. From the childhood inspirations that shaped their ambitions, to the evolving American landscape they helped define, to the importance of preserving a unique cultural identity for future generations, these prominent individuals offer a unique look into the zeitgeist of black America, redefining the traditional pejorative notion of a blacklist.
The list of people featured in The Black List: Vol. 2 includes activist and artist Majora Carter; activist and academic Angela Davis; producer Suzanne de Passe; actor Laurence Fishburne; Anglican Bishop Barbara Harris; Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick; pastor T.D. Jakes; physician and academic Valerie Montgomery-Rice, M.D.; filmmaker Tyler Perry; singer Charley Pride; fashion designer Patrick Robinson; actress Maya Rudolph; musician RZA; filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles; and artist Kara Walker.
Mitchell is never heard or seen on camera, which allows the subjects' own voices to remain the focus. The actual title was first conceived by Mitchell as an antidote to the persistent taint that western culture has applied to the word "black."
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Elvis Mitchell conceptualized what would become "The Black List Project" in May 2006, discussing the idea of collaborating on a book on black culture, which led to the documentary. They wanted "The Black List Project" to be not just an enumeration of obstacles overcome, but also a unique source of insights that would emphasize the elegance and determination of its subjects.
A 2008 Sundance Film Festival selection, "The Black List: Vol. 1" debuted on HBO last August, and featured such notables as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sean Combs, Thelma Golden, Lou Gossett, Jr., Bill T. Jones, Vernon Jordan, Toni Morrison, Richard Parsons, Chris Rock, Al Sharpton, Slash, Faye Wattleton, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Serena Williams.
Inspired by "The Black List: Vol. 1," HBO launched a "Who's on Your Black List?" contest, asking viewers to submit a video of themselves, a relative, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor or anyone else who has a story to tell about his or her experience of what it's like to be black in America today. The four winning videos were selected by a distinguished panel of judges and general viewers and are currently viewable on whosonyourblacklist.com. In January 2009, the winners visited New York, where they had their portraits taken by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and were interviewed on film by Elvis Mitchell. Select clips from these interviews will be showcased on various HBO platforms throughout February.
HBO Documentary Films and Freemind Ventures & Perfect Day Films present The Black List: Vol. 2. A film by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders & Elvis Mitchell. Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; interviews by Elvis Mitchell; producers, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Elvis Mitchell and Michael Slap Sloane; executive producers, Tommy Walker, Scott Richman, Christopher McKee and Payne Brown; associate producers, Lukas Hauser and Mary Bradley; editor, Benjamin Gray; music by Neal Evans; directors of photography, Joe Victorine and Graham Willoughby.
Portrait(s) © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders