It’s May 1940, and the illustrious actress/singer, Pearl Bailey (portrayed by D.C. native/actress, Roz White) is in her dressing room getting dolled-up before her performance at U Street’s historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. Pearl shares her tale about the music filled evenings, culture, entertainment, rich history and heritage and heydays of D.C.’s Black Broadway on U despite the tough Jim Crow laws of the day this black community continued to strive and thrive.
HISTORIC NOTE: Ms. Bailey is credited with coining the phrase “Black Broadway” for D.C.’s historic black U Street Community and jumpstarted her singing and dancing career here, too! Learn More…
At the dawn of the “early 20th century,” for some, life was but a Gatsby-like dream…but in the little southern town of Washington, D.C., otherwise known as “The Capital of the Free World,” it wasn’t Freedom that ruled; it was Jim Crow. As our nation’s capital was still a segregated city, African Americans were not “free” to enter “white” theaters and nightclubs. Ironically, it was this very segregation that spawned a “CULTURAL and INTELLECTUAL REVOLUTION.”
EDUCATE greater audiences about the important role of African American civil rights activists, culturalists, educators, entertainers, intellectuals and entrepreneurs (all in a little Washington, D.C. neighborhood) played in shaping American history. ENTERTAIN with compelling historical and digital content to promote positive cultural identity. EMPOWER through the sharing of “authentic” stories of these black leaders and civic places of prosperity that are part of our past and the points the way for our underserved youth’s future.
DISCOVER THE COMMUNITY: BLACK BROADWAY ON U! This interactive map is a storied journey back into time when D.C.’s greater U Street community’s businesses were black owned and run; its buildings, built and financed by blacks; its entertainment, by and for blacks. Through our digital walking tour you’ll discover the CHANGEMAKERS, CIVIC and CULTURAL LANDMARKS of this “great black way”, which by 1920 boasted more than 300 black businesses within a few square miles including the 12th Street Y (the first full-service black YMCA in the U.S.) and the Howard Theatre (opened with black capital 15 years before Harlem’s Apollo Theater).
Celebrating 2018 Black History Month! Black Broadway on U: In Small Spaces powered by Eaton Workshop immerses audiences into four…
Cultural Storytelling + Tech: Spotlight on Black Broadway on U: A Transmedia Project! The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s…
Washington, DC – Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – Driving down the U Street corridor in 2013, D.C. native/multimedia producer,…
Shellée M. Haynesworth is an award-winning multimedia maker, storyteller and culture keeper. Throughout her more than 20+-year career and through her multimedia firm, Indigo Creative Works, she has produced documentaries, multicultural and digital media projects for clients such as USAID, U.S. Department of Education, Smithsonian Institution, Gates Foundation, PBS, NBC, Black Entertainment Television, TV One, HBO/Time Warner, and King World Entertainment, among others.
As a storyteller, her focus has been to examine the African Diaspora and shed light on the “untold” human stories and “hidden” contributions of African American and Latino changemakers in history, social justice, arts, culture and humanities. Some of her documentary and broadcast credits include Latino Voices: Art & Culture (PBS/Smithsonian), The HistoryMakers: An Evening with Quincy Jones (PBS), Latino Music Greats (National TV Syndication), Women’s Land Rights: A Ripple Effect (USAID/Gates Foundation) and A Tribute to Madiba: Nelson Mandela Special (TV One/News One Now).
Currently, she is exploring new approaches to developing immersive (multi-platform) cinematic experiences, coding and pioneering the “next generation” for African-American themed content and projects at the intersection of technology, narrative, creative placement and cultural preservation. Her latest endeavor, “Black Broadway on U: A Transmedia Project” highlights the under-told story of her native Washington, D.C.’s greater, historic U Street Corridor during its heyday, aka the “Black Broadway” era, when this “secret city” served as a cultural and intellectual mecca of Black America. A multi-generational Washingtonian, Haynesworth is very passionate about preserving the black history and cultural legacy of this storied community, which is very near and dear to her and was once a very important crossroad for her family in the early 20th century. READ: National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Saving Places, “Who Tells Your Story: U Street’s African-American Legacy in D.C., CLICK HERE.
She is the recipient of several top industry awards and was nominated for a local Emmy Award in 2013 for “The Sound: A Chuck Brown Tribute.” She is an active member of the Producers Guild of America, Women in Film and Video (WIFV) and currently serves on WIFV’s Advisory Board in D.C. She is an University of Maryland at College Park alum, where she earned a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism.
Creative Consultant/Digital Media Strategist
A native of Washington D.C., Karen brings over 14 years of expertise in special events planning, project management, writing, and research to the Black Broadway on U team. Skilled in social media strategy and execution, her creative outlet has always been entertaining and the lively arts. She grew up learning the finer points of planning, producing and managing all sorts of affairs from small soirées to large fundraising galas. A proud Howard University alumna, she resides in the District, is an inveterate audiophile and history buff.
Vice President of Media Relations/Communications
Michelle Delino is a media strategist and communications specialist with a 25+ year career working in television and public relations in New York City and Washington, DC. A savvy publicist, producer, and talent/brand developer, Delino brings a high level of creativity and insight to multi-media projects. She works closely with clients to develop their brand identity from the inside out, assisting them in creating conscious content for TV, web, mobile and social media. Today, Delino combines her passion for PR and television programming, specializing in creating entertainment, lifestyle, health and wellness content which educates, enlightens and uplifts audiences worldwide.
Thank you for visiting Black Broadway on U! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to become a funder, supporter, content or community outreach partner; if you have any questions about the project or; if you would like for us to share your personal Black Broadway on U story. We look forward to hearing from you and will respond, shortly.