To celebrate Black History Month, Xfinity is highlighting industry leaders in a three-part editorial series. The series profiles trendsetters in sports, entertainment, and technology who are making history, today.
We’re here to give them their flowers now.
By Nikki Walton
As a little girl I loved watching TV, but always found myself wondering why the people I saw didn’t look like me. That was back then. The world I grew up in is much different than my children’s. Today, my son and daughter can easily see their own beauty reflected on the screen. Today, they can identify with the everyday heroes using their voices to impact change. Today, our legacy is celebrated with programming that can uplift and inspire us, and I’ve fallen in love with television all over again.
Throughout the month of February, as we celebrate Black history and culture, the Black Experience on Xfinity content library highlights our heritage–past, present, and future. With a lineup of culturally-relevant films and television shows, I can finally see people who look like me, using their voices to raise hope and awareness of the issues facing Black people today. Black artists, intellectuals, and creatives are taking action, using their platforms to stand up for what matters–peace and justice for all. They are Black history in the making, inspiring generations of little Black girls and boys.
Artists like everyone’s favorite #wokebae, actor, director, and producer, Jesse Williams, who advocates for social justice and civil rights. A Chicago native, he began his career teaching American, African, and African-American History in Philadelphia’s public charter schools. His passion for equality led him to produce the docu-series, America Divided, and the documentary Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement. While he’s most often recognized for his portrayal of Dr. Jackson Avery on the ABC series Grey’s Anatomy, he used his platform while accepting BET’s Humanitarian Award in 2016 to condemn police brutality, reminding us that, “the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.”
Author and organizer Brittany Packnett Cunningham is a social justice activist and co-founder of Campaign Zero, an American police reform campaign. Recognized for her work by President Barack Obama, Cunnigham isn’t new to this, she’s true to it. As a girl, she grew up attending protests and demonstrations with her family, a legacy she’s upholding today. Mobilizing a generation, she uses her news and justice podcast, UNDISTRACTED, to help change the world. While she inspires others, filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s work impacts her. “Ava DuVernay inspires me to defy odds, master my craft, and remember always the privilege and responsibility of building new tables! Our legacies should be about the good we create-and the opportunities we make for others, just like Ava.”
Actor, producer, and activist Kendrick Sampson may be known for his roles on How to Get Away with Murder, The Vampire Diaries, and HBO’s hit series, Insecure, but he’s also a powerful voice in the fight for our rights. In 2016, he stood with indigenous rights activists at Standing Rock Reservation. An active participant in Black Lives Matter movement, he was seen live on CNN, being struck while he peacefully protested against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. The Houston, Texas native co-founded the nonprofit organization BLD PWR, which partners with grassroots causes and organizations at the intersection of gender, immigration, economic, educational, environmental, and racial justice movements. A modern day abolitionist, Sampson believes, “There is no revolution without art.”While the revolution may not be televised, we can celebrate our stories all month long, with ground breaking television and movies from Black filmmakers like Ava Duvernay in the Xfinity catalogue. Black Experience on Xfinity channel is serving up content that keeps me and the family inspired this Black History Month and beyond! Who inspires you to excel?