Saturday, February 24, 2024

TMA brings Sweet Blackberry Films to Young Audiences

The historical accomplishments of African Americans will be highlighted in the Toledo Museum of Art’s screenings of three short films by Sweet Blackberry on Sunday, February 21, as part of the museum’s Sunday Family Film Club.

Sweet Blackberry, a company founded by Karyn Parsons (known for playing Hilary Banks on the long-running sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”), has worked for over a decade to bring little-known stories of African American history to children through animated tales.

“When we ran across Sweet Blackberry, and the three films they currently have available — relatively short films — it made sense that we’d show them,” said Scott Boberg, Manager of Programs for the Toledo Museum of Art. “And because of Sweet Blackberry’s focus on the stories of African Americans, it made sense to show them during Black History Month in February.”

Engaging Young Minds

The three films offer fanciful and fascinating takes narrated by a famous voice: Queen Latifah narrates “Garrett’s Gift,” about Garrett Morgan, the inventor of the traffic light; Chris Rock tells the tale of the first African American prima ballerina in “Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story;” and Alfre Woodard recounts “The Journey of Henry Box Brown,” the slave who mailed himself to freedom in 1848.

“It really is talking about the tremendous number of stories and accomplishments by African Americans and looking at those stories in engaging ways — beautifully animated and compellingly narrated, with a number of great actors and creative folks engaged,” Boberg said.

Celebrating Black History Month

The free screening is part of The Museum’s celebration of Black History Month, including concerts on February 26 and 28 honoring the work of African American artists and a screening of the film “Basquiat” as part of the museum’s Art House Film Series.

“Just as art takes a variety of forms, we wanted to champion different disciplines,” Boberg said, noting his pride that the museum would join in the celebration of African American accomplishments, both for Black History Month in general and with the Sweet Blackberry film screenings in particular, and to help open children’s eyes to remarkable history.

2pm Sunday, February 21
Toledo Museum of Art Little Theater, 2445 Monroe St.
419-255-8000 |

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