Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story

Family Program
Sweet Blackberry Presents

Part of Family Matinees (Jan-Mar) & Midwinter Recess: Sweet Blackberry Presents
Saturday, February 23, 12:00 p.m.
Museum of the Moving Image - Redstone Theater

Recommended for ages 5+

Started by actress Karyn Parsons, Sweet Blackberry produces little-known inspiring stories of African American achievement, animated for children. This program includes three short films. Program duration: 68 mins.

The Journey of Henry ‘Box’ Brown
(2005, 28 mins.) Narrated by four-time Emmy award–winning actress, Alfre Woodard, this story of determination and courage centers on an enslaved man’s brave and dangerous quest for freedom. After losing his family and suffering countless other hardships at the hands of his master, Henry determines to escape and learn the meaning of freedom. With the help of many friends along the way, Henry ships himself to Philadelphia, where he continued to spread his message that everyone should be free.

Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story
(2015, 17 mins.) Narrated by the four-time Emmy-winner and comedian, Chris Rock, this is the inspiring story of Janet Collins, the first African-American solo dancer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. Success did not come easy for Janet as after being accepted into the prestigious Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, she was asked to paint her face and skin white in order to be able to perform. She did not join the company and went on to accomplish her dreams while remaining true to herself.

Flying Free: The Bessie Coleman Story
(2019, 23 mins.) tells the true story of the first Black female aviator, Bessie Coleman. Bessie grew up during a time when aviation schools in the United States would not teach her to fly because she was Black and a woman. Refusing to let this prevent her from accomplishing her dream of being a pilot, Bessie taught herself French, moved to France and earned her license from the renowned Caudron Brothers School of Aviation. The film is narrated by award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne.

Karyn Parsons is best known for her role as Will Smith's ditsy cousin Hilary Banks on NBC's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After leaving acting behind, Karyn—inspired by the stories her mother (a librarian) would tell her—founded the award-winning series Sweet Blackberry to share stories about unsung black heroes in history. The films have screened on HBO and Netflix, and are enjoyed by schools and libraries across the country. Karyn's debut novel, How High The Moon, hits bookshelves in March 2019. Parsons will appear at the Museum on Friday, February 8, 7:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

Free with Museum admission. Please request tickets upon arrival at the Museum; they will be distributed first-come, first-served on each day.