Filmmakers Yance Ford and Sonia Lowman on This Friday’s Reelblack Radio

Tune in Friday 9/15 #reelblackradio @onwurd at 11:05 @vibemistress & I will speak with #yanceford whose @strongislanddocpremieres @netflix tomorrow. 11:30 director #SoniaLowman calls in to discuss @teachusallfilm the latest @arraynow release that hits #netflix and screens @aampmuseum on 9/25, the 60th Anniversary of #littlerocknine Listen live at or watch us on #facebooklive on WURD radio page.


Reelblack, Philly’s #1 promoter of Black Film, is giving away two copies of  DEFINING MOMENTS IN HISTORY: READING BETWEEN THE LIES, the eleventh book by the great Dick Gregory, courtesy of our friends at Amistad Books.. The book was just released last week and can be purchased at and and all major retailers.


Winners will be announced 9/22. Good luck!

Win signed Dick Gregory book


With his trademark acerbic wit, incisive humor, and infectious paranoia, one of our foremost comedians and most politically engaged civil rights activists looks back at 100 key events from the complicated history of black America.

A friend of luminaries including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evers, and the forebear of today’s popular black comics, including Larry Wilmore, W. Kamau Bell, Damon Young, and Trevor Noah, Dick Gregory was a provocative and incisive cultural force for more than fifty years. As an entertainer, he always kept it indisputably real about race issues in America, fearlessly lacing laughter with hard truths.

Reelblack Presents SWEET LOVE, BITTER (Dick Gregory’s Only Starring Film Role) 10/13

Reelblack kicks off its 15th Season with a rare public screening of SWEET LOVE, BITTER (aka It Won’t Rub Off, Baby), filmmaker Herbert Danska’s 1967 film that features the great DICK GREGORY in his only starring film role.

Following the film, we will present previously unseen exclusive interviews with Mr. Gregory and co-star DON MURRAY about the making of the film, taken from the Reelblack vault. Plus, we will give away a copy of Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies Dick Gregory’s latest book, courtesy Amistad Books.

Friday October 13, 2017 at THE BANK, 3750 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Admission is $7 adults/ $5 Students, Seniors and Reelblack Season 15 Members.

(Note: Memberships will be available for purchase at this event)

Drugs and alcohol get the best of a black jazzman (Dick Gregory) and a white professor (Don Murray) who hang out at an espresso bar.

The producers of this very rarely screened film notoriously rejiggered its sequencing after Herbert Danska finished it (much to his chagrin). Still, it remains a finely sustained, elegiac take on saxophonist savant Charlie Parker’s life. The corrosive effects of drug abuse, racial hostility, and mental instability are seen gradually taking hold of the protagonist’s career, leading to his ruin. Pianist Mal Waldron scored the film brilliantly, no doubt thanks to his intimate knowledge of its subject matter—he suffered his own fabled mental breakdown a few years prior to taping. — Tayt Harlin

ARRAY Presents TEACH US ALL 9/25 at AAMP

Reelblack is proud to host the Philadelphia theatrical premiere of TEACH US ALL, the latest release from ARRAY, Ava DuVernay’s distribution collective. On September 25, ARRAY will debut TEACH US ALL on Netflix accompanied by a national tour to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine’s momentous school integration.

Screening will take place on Monday September 25, 2017 at The African American Museum In Philadelphia at 7:00pm. Admission is pay-as-you-wish (donation). RSVP at

TEACH US ALL | Synopsis
Through case studies in Little Rock, New York City and Los Angeles, TEACH US ALL examines one of the most urgent civil rights issues of our time; a quality education for all children. TEACH US ALL chronicles the landmark 1957 “Little Rock Crisis” were a group of African-American students known as the Little Rock Nine courageously attempted to defy the notion that skin color should determine educational access by integrating an all-white southern high school to the present day disparities in access and inequalities in education that are culminating into a re-segregation of schools across the nation.

TEACH US ALL seeks to bring the critical lessons of history to bear on the current state of U.S. education system and investigate: 60 years later, how far have we come – or not come – and where do we go from here?

Reelblack PRESENTS SIT-IN (1960) w Special Guests

Reelblack and PEC are proud to present a rare public screening of SIT-IN (1960), filmmaker Robert M. Young’s seminal documentary on how the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Students of Fisk University desegregated the lunch counters in Nashville, TN.

Produced as part of NBC’s White Paper series, the hour long show is a masterpiece of film journalism.  Interviewing Nashville citizens on both sides of the struggle, it captures the true spirit of the Civil Rights Movement and marks the very first TV appearance of JOHN LEWIS.

As an added bonus, we will share an exclusive audio interview with Mr. Young about the making go the film.

At The Bank 3750 Lancaster Avenue in West Philly.  Friday September 8, 2017 at 7:15pm. Admission: $7.00 adults/ $5.00 Students, Seniors and Reelblack members.


Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier teams up with his daughter, Sydney Tamiia (in her starring debut) as teacher and mentor in Free of Eden (1998). The compelling story of a teen who wants to leave the Eden projects but doesn’t know how. The elder Poitier stars as a successful businessman who returns to his old neighborhood to deliver a eulogy. Struck by his words, Nicole reaches out to him for mentorship. If you enjoy movies like Finding Forrester or My Fair Lady, this movie is for you. produced for Showtime, this gem has never been released on DVD. With a very special guest joining us via Skype to share insights into the making of the film. At The Bank, 3750 Lancaster Avenue. Admission $7 adults / $5 students/seniors/Reelblack members.


The leading celebration of independent black cinema returns to Philly Thursday, August 3 through Sunday, August 6. Now celebrating its sixth anniversary, the @blackstarfest is the only event of its kind in Philadelphia—focusing on cinema of the African Diaspora and global indigenous communities—the four-day weekend festival provides an opportunity for filmmakers, patrons and enthusiasts from all over the world to come together.

This year’s festival honors filmmaker Ava DuVernay with the Richard Nichols Luminary Award at the annual awards ceremony on Saturday, August 5 at World Café Live, featuring music by Pharaohe Monch, Danni Cassette, Cakes da Killa, Jacqueline Constance and DJ Jovi Baby.

The theme of this year’s festival is Resistance, examining political and social uprisings around the world and in the U.S., from the upheaval of the 1960s to the Los Angeles riots in the 1990s to the uprising in Ferguson and the current moment of unrest.

Among the 12 feature films are the world premieres of the drama Ironwood (Dir. Shahin Izadi) and Black & Sexy’s romantic comedy Hello, Cupid (Dir. Dennis Dortch, Numa Perrier, Tina Cerin) as well as the regional premieres of the Haitian magical realist tale Ayiti Mon Amour (Dir. Guetty Felin) and the documentaries Footprints of Pan Africanism (Dir. Shirikiana Aina), Horace Tapscott Musical Griot (Dir. Barbara McCullough), Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities (Dir. Stanley Nelson), Whose Streets (dir. Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis) and Wilmington 10 (Dir. Haile Gerima).

The festival will also screen more than four dozen short films in the documentary, narrative and experimental categories. Among them are Gabourey Sibide’s The Tale of Four, inspired by Nina Simone’s song “Four Women”; Terence Nance’s dystopian They Charge for the Sun; Carrie Hawke’s documentary about black queer identity black enuf*; and Shola Amoo’s Dear Mr. Shakespeare, a retelling of Othello.

Reelblack Is A Part of 11 Days of Love

Love Now Media presents 11 Days of Love Stories, a series of workshops and events throughout the city of Philadelphia from July 5th - July 15th.
REELBLACK is proud to be a community partner in this series.
On Thursday July 6, Reelblack Founder MIKE D. will screen an early short film of his that involves the theme as part of the Day 2 Short Film Showcase.
In celebration of our anniversary, Love Now Media has partnered with some of Philadlephia’s most impactful groups and organizations to produce a series of love themed events.
Love Now Media is a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to tell stories through media production and communications initiatives that lean towards justice, wellness, and equity. We want the events to be accessible to all so most of the events are pay-what-you-wish. If you are excited about the events and able to pay more, please do!
Here’s the full list of events. Except, the finale event which we will announce at a press conference.

Day 1 - Love + Men, Wednesday, July 5th at 7pm
PhillyCAM located at 699 Ranstead Street
TV Broadcast with Live Studio Audience
Hosted by Gregory Corbin, this “The View” style studio television broadcast features some of Philadelphia’s most impactful men talking hot topics in love, dating, male vulnerability, marriage, and society. Interactive audience games. Come dressed for your studio audience close up. Mingle with refreshments after the show. $PayWhatYouWish
Day 2 - Love + Short Films, Thursday, July 6th at 7pm
Scribe Video Center located at 4035 Walnut Street
Full Web Series Premiere of Revolutionary Love Stories and other Love Shorts
Love Now Media will premiere all 6 episodes of the documentary web series Revolutionary Love Stories, followed by 3 short narrative films about love by other filmmakers, including Mike Dennis of ReelBlack. $PayWhatYouWish, $5 min
Day 3 - Love + Justice, Friday, July 7th at 6pm
Philadelphia Printworks located at 845 S. 55th Street
Wellness and Self Care for Social Justice Workers
Wellness tools and resources for social justice workers. A love storytelling workshop at 6pm, followed by the Love and Justice event at 7pm with a panel discussion on wellness tools, resources, and community solutions to housing, therapy, and creating safe spaces. Enjoy a wellness station, get a t-shirt printed, dance, mix, mingle, swap resources, or chill. DJ YesInDeed. Drinks and Refreshments included. Live T-Shirt Printing ($10) and 3 Wellness Stations: Free chair massages sponsored by Hand & Stone, Love on Location Storytelling booth, free 15-minute therapy sessions sponsored by the Ladipo Group. $PayWhatYouWish

Day 4 - Love + Time Travel, Saturday, July 8th at 2pm
Sturgis Community Center, 220 W. 65th Avenue
Time Travel Workshop, Love On Location Video, Games, & Activities
Spark future memories with at Time Travel Workshop led by Rasheedah Phillips. Blast to the past with games, activities, and love stories. A Love On Location Video Booth will be on site for people to share stories based on interactive prompts.
About the Community Futures Lab:
The goal of the Community Futures Lab is to collect, preserve, and share memories and stories for future generations. We are looking for anyone who has ever lived in the neighborhood to come out and participate. $PayWhatYouWish, $5min
Day 5 - Love + Body, Sunday, July 9th at 2pm + 3:30pm
Sound Space Philadelphia, 2511 W. Girard Avenue
Love Themed Yogetree with Helanah + Afrofusion with Sanchel Brown
Yogetree at 2pm Want to reconnect to yourself and your higher purpose? Curious how wellness and self-care can support your personal journey? Want to learn how to use mindfulness to strengthen your self-love? Here to celebrate all that is you and all that you can become - Join us for a wonder-filled Yogetree workshop, facilitated by @hellohelanah, focused on extracting the creative expression of self-care within. Come ready to move your body, focus your energy and connect with your community. Dress in comfy clothes and bring your yoga mat, journal and water bottle. See you then!
Afrofusion at 3:30pm - Tell a love story with through your body. This Afrofusion dance workshop focuses on healing the body and reconnecting with divine self love. Workshop led by Spirit Dancer Sanchel Brown.
Yogetree - $20
Afrofusion - $15
Both workshops for $25
Teens - One or both - $10
Day 6 - Love + Ladies + Power, Monday, July 10th at 7pm
World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street
All Ladies Concert + Open Mic Jam Session Celebrating Women’s Empowerment
Hosted by: Sincerely Syreeta
Featuring: Robyn Hood and Erika Hicks
With: DJ Leesh Boogz
With Performances by:
Nikki Powerhouse
Jani Coral
Briana DeVoue
JaE the Artist
Sanchel Brown
$10 in advance | $12 at the door
Lobby area will feature women focused non profits and resources for women + vendors
Day 7 - Love + Beauty + Barbering, Tuesday, July 11th 4pm-6pm
Beckett Life Center, 1400 N. 16th Street
with Guest Raelia Lewis of America’s Next Top Model
Beauticians, Barbers and attendees share stories about self love and looking good. Hair and beauty demonstrations and barbering tricks. Product giveaways. Refreshments. Guest Speaker, America’s Top Model Finalist, and North Philadelphia Native, Raelia Lewis. $PayWhatYouWish
Day 8 - Love + Art, Wednesday, July 12th at 6pm
The Art Dept. located at 1638 E. Berks Street
Emily Carris leads a love and art quilting project made with collaged paper with inspiration from objects, images, and outfits spark memories about the time you felt most loved. Bring your own object or choose something from the Art Dept. $PayWhatYouWish
Day 9 - Love Stories + Acoustics, Thursday, July 13th at 8pm
Here’s 2 Cool Stuff, 1213 South Street
Storyteller Jos Duncan with Musician Lloyd Alexander
With inspiration from the West African Griot-style of storytelling, Jos Duncan shares an interactive, music driven, epic tale of Love. Musician Lloyd Alexander provides the acoustics for this mini-concert. Drinks and refreshments will be available. $10 advance, $12 at the door
Day 10 - Love + Jazz, Friday, July 14th at 7pm-9pm
Amari’s Restaurant located at 5037 Baltimore Avenue
Featuring V. Shayne Frederick, Khalil Munir, & Taylor Samuels + open mic
An evening of love themed stories, music & song with the incomparable and smooth V. Shayne Frederick, multitalented storyteller and tap dancer Khalil Munir, and one of the best vocalists on the face of the earth, Ms. Taylor Samuels. Followed by an open mic for love stories from the audience. Amari’s menu will be available to enjoy food during the event. BYOB. $5 in advance, $10 at the door.

Day 11 - Love Finale Event — Surprise Location –

BLACK BALLERINA at The Bank 7/14

Reelblack and PEC are proud to host a very special screening of BLACK BALLERINA, a documentary that shows how dancers of color face formidable challenges breaking into the overwhelmingly white world of ballet. Screening will take place Friday July 14, 2017 at 7:15pm at The Bank 3750 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. Admission $7.00 adults/ $5 Students, Seniors an Reelblack Members.

Director FRAN McELROY will be on hand for a post-film Q&A.

It tells the story of several black women from different generations who fell in love with ballet. Six decades ago, while pursuing their dreams, Joan Myers Brown, Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson confronted racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity. Today, young dancers of color continue to face the same barriers, including body type.  The film refutes a persistent myth that ours is a post-racial culture and compels viewers to think about issues of diversity, inclusion and equality from a different perspective. Their stories demonstrate how far we still have to go across all sectors of American society, life and employment.In production since 2011, the documentary runs 53:20 minutes. It will premiere on (station) on (date and time).BLACK BALLERINA is produced by Shirley Road Productions, an award-winning, Philadelphia-based production company founded in 1991. The documentary is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Women in Film.

Producer/Director: Frances McElroyOutreach Producer: Nadine PattersonEditor / Associate Producer: Meg SarachanPrincipal Cinematography: Eric Sennhenn & Gregg EasterbrookContent Consultant: Joselli Audain Deans, Ed.D

Main characters:

• Joan Myers Brown – dreamed of becoming a ballerina; unable to pursue ballet as a young girl of color in the 1940s, she ultimately founded Philadanco, a renowned contemporary dance company• Raven Wilkinson – the first African-American woman to join the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo• Delores Browne – a principal with the short-lived New York Negro Ballet, she turned to teaching after finding too many obstacles in her pursuit to dancing professionally in ballet• Ashley Murphy – a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem• Amanda Smith – a dancer with Charlotte Ballet• Bianca Fabré – a ballet student who had difficulty navigating the path to a career before abandoning her dream• Virginia Johnson – former ballerina and current Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem• Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux – Artistic Director of Charlotte Ballet• Roy Kaiser – Artistic Director Emeritus of Pennsylvania Ballet


To celebrate the Centennial of Lena Horne’s birth, we will screen the long out-of-print (never released on DVD) Lena Horne: The Lady And Her Music along with other rare clips of America’s firs African-American pin-up.

Friday June 9, 2017 at the United Bank Building, 3750 Lancaster Avenue Admission $7.00 Adults, $5.00 Reelblack Members/ Students and Seniors.

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