The Black Broadway on U: A Transmedia Project (cross-platform) sheds light on the under-told story of African American life within Washington, D.C.’s U Street and Shaw community corridors once known as “Black Broadway.” The Black Broadway era (early 1910s to late 1950s) was D.C.’s cultural renaissance before, during and after the Harlem Renaissance. The project will connect today’s audiences with the historical and hidden contributions of this African American community’s iconic entertainers, educators, activists, intellectuals, musicians, culturalists and society, as well as their impact on Black America and U.S. History.
This Transmedia experience represents several distinct, yet interconnected cross-platform media components and will feature a 3-part documentary film, an interactive website (that will house a “living book series” showcasing short films about the backstories of neighborhood elders, community stakeholders and icons), a mobile app, immersive user experiences, “pop-up” performances, special events, an annual symposium, museum and cultural arts center and a significant social media presence.
During the “Roaring Twenties,” 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 target audience(s) about the important role that the African American culturalists, entertainers, educators, intellectuals and entrepreneurs (all in a little Washington, D.C. neighborhood) played in shaping American history, arts and culture, as well as our society at large. Entertain with compelling content and immersive user experiences. Empower today’s African American youth (and adults) through the sharing of a majestic history.
Explore, examine and discover through our digital walking tour the culture, identity, people and landmark places of the Black Broadway on U before Harlem. It’s an historical journey back into time when D.C.’s U Street community’s businesses were black owned and run; its buildings, built and financed by blacks; its entertainment, by and for blacks.
For nearly a century, this Black Washington community of successful businessmen, clergy, artists, lawyers, entertainers, and educators flourished in America’s nation capital. This black aristocracy built a nearly self-contained “city within a city” and it existed in the center of Duke Ellington’s Washington, D.C.
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 rich culture, entertainment, heritage and good ole’ days during the heydays of D.C.’s Black Broadway on U Street era despite the tough Jim Crow laws this community continued to strive and thrive.
HISTORIC NOTE: Ms. Bailey is credited with coining the phrase “Black Broadway on U Street” for this historic Black Washington era before Harlem and jumpstarted her singing career here too. Learn More…
Become a supporter of the mission of Black Broadway on U: A Transmedia Project. “PRESERVE, PROTECT, CELEBRATE AND REVIVE” this rich heritage and history of this pioneering Black Washington community and era.
Black Broadway on U could not be possible without the generous donations of our supporters, personal, private and corporate. This worthwhile production endeavor can continue to prosper with your help.
Make a secure online donation through our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Any amount is welcomed!
Contributions for the purposes of Black Broadway on U are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Pledge your support, today!
Funded in part by the generous support of our Circle of Friends and Family. Special thanks to them and visit our
Thursday, February 5, 2014: 10:30am – 1:00pm
LIVE MUSICAL! Black Broadway on U presents “Echoes of an Era” at THEARC
Black Broadway on U: A Transmedia Project selected to participate in National Black Programming Consortium’s 360 Incubator Program.
Black Broadway on U’s Executive Producer/Creator, Shellée Haynesworth national appearance on TV One’s NewsOne Now with Roland Martin.
Shellée M. Haynesworth, an Emmy Award winning producer, writer, director, storyteller and creative, leads the Indigo Communications’ team. Throughout her 20+-year career, she has produced, written, and created documentaries, reality shows, entertainment and multicultural programs, and digital media projects for groundbreaking media outlets such as Black Entertainment Television, TV One, HBO/Time Warner, and King World Entertainment, to name a few.
As a producer, Shellée’s primary focus is storytelling, and more specifically, telling “human stories” in ways that positively impact and influence the thoughts and actions of viewers. Her greatest joy is when her work compels audiences to become inspired by the on-screen characters, and to learn from their experiences. Her passion and strength lie in identifying hidden stories, and then shedding light on the people not often seen and the voices not often heard. Shellée stays true to this passion with her current Transmedia project, “Black Broadway on U.” This multimedia project highlights the under-told story of her native Washington, D.C.’s U Street Corridor during its heyday, aka the “Black Broadway” era, when this “secret city” served as the cultural and intellectual hub of Black America.
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: A Transmedia Project. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, concerns, or stories of your own about Black Broadway on U. We look forward to hearing from you, and will respond shortly. Thank you!