Harlem-Based ‘Black Public Media’ Marks 40th Anniversary with ’40 for 40 Media Game Changers’ List




Image courtesy BPM

Black Public Media (BPM) is celebrating 40 years of showing the world that #blacklivesmatter by bringing Black content creators and their stories to the forefront for audiences across all screens.

As the organization takes stock of its four decades-long history, it is releasing the BPM 40 for 40 Media Game Changers, a list recognizing 40 individuals and organizations that, like BPM, have helped keep Black voices and Black stories present in the media and shaped the modern-day landscape of independent, Black film and television.

Marlon Riggs, Storyteller. Image courtesy BPM.

At a time when the power of the camera and those behind it has come to light like never before, BPM’s 40 for 40 Media Game Changers List honors some of the men and women who have always seen the beauty and dignity of Black lives and continue to work to bring media that shows it to the world.

The BPM 40 for 40 list of honorees includes:

  • Documentarian Stanley Nelson
  • Spike Lee’s 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks
  • Filmmaker Ava DuVernay
  • Writer, director and activist dream hampton
  • Pioneering television producer Charles Hobson
  • Activist and filmmaker Marlon Riggs
  • Filmmaker and artist Shola Lynch

For a complete list of the 40 for 40 Media Game Changers, please click here.

AfroPop on public television. Image courtesy BPM

Above, Afro Pop makes The New York Times “The 50 TV shows you need to watch this winter” list. The 12th season of the public-television film series focused on voices from the African diaspora begins with “My Friend Fela,” a documentary portrait of the Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti. (World, Jan. 20)

Founded in 1979, BPM remains the nation’s only nonprofit media arts organization dedicated exclusively to creating media content on the global Black experience. In that time, BPM has awarded more than $14 million dollars in funding and supported more than 125 projects. Always cognizant of the necessity of having Black creators be able to tell Black stories from all sides and in all ways, BPM has helped Black storytellers in public television, film and emerging media such as web and virtual reality by funding projects, securing distribution, and providing training.

BPM Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz. Photo credit: James Brooks. Image courtesy BPM.

The BPM 40th anniversary celebration will also include the second National Black Media Story Summit. Taking place this year as a virtual event held between June 23 and 25, the event will see creatives, distributors, thought leaders and funders convene to address methods of finding distribution for Black stories in these unprecedented times. For full details on the event, visit www.blackpublicmedia.org.


Black Public Media (BPM), formerly the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), is committed to enriching our democracy by educating, enlightening, empowering and engaging the American public. The nonprofit supports diverse voices by developing, producing and distributing innovative media about the black experience and by investing in visionary content makers. BPM provides quality content for public media outlets, including, among others, PBS and PBS.org and BlackPublicMedia.org, as well as other platforms, while training and mentoring the next generation of black filmmakers. Founded in 1979, BPM produces the AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange documentary series and manages the 360 Incubator + Fund, a funding and training initiative designed to accelerate the production of important black serial and interactive content.

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