Story at a glance

  • Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama are hosting the "Black Renaissance," a new YouTube Original special airing later this month.
  • The special is part of YouTube's Black History Month programming and efforts to address racism.
  • The first preview of the special reveals a star-studded lineup.
  • In the case of the “Black Renaissance,” bigger is better. Of course, a YouTube Originals special hosted by Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama shouldn’t have much trouble signing big names, especially during Black History Month, but the final lineup is still impressive. 


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    Airing on Feb. 26, the special will include appearances and performances from Stacey Abrams, H.E.R., Anderson .Paak, Kelly Rowland, Bob the Drag Queen, Ziwe Fumudoh, Maurice Harris, Yung BBQ, Nicole Byer, TwinsthenewTrend, Sherrie Silver, Oumi Janta, Donté Colley and Hollywood Movement in addition to the previously announced lineup of Jason Reynolds, Killer Mike, Desus Nice & The Kid Mero, Jemele Hill, Shantell Martin, and Tobe Nwigwe.  

    "Black art and culture have defined the American experience. ‘Black Renaissance’ will showcase the Black creators, artists, writers, storytellers, and history makers who have shaped our nation's history and the next generation of Black voices who are reimagining our future," said YouTube Originals and Google Arts & Culture, which have partnered with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Howard University Graduate Film Program and NAL Media, in a release on Feb. 16.  


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    “We’re living in an important moment in Black art because we’re living in an important moment in Black life," poet Amanda Gorman told Michelle in an interview published by Time magazine this month. “Whether that’s looking at what it means politically to have an African-American President before [Former President] Trump, or looking at what it means to have the Black Lives movement become the largest social movement in the United States. What’s been exciting for me is I get to absorb and to live in that creation I see from other African-American artists that I look up to."

    The vignette includes tributes from Merlain to Black hair, from Harris to Marsha P. Johnson and Rowland to Alvin Ailey’s “Cry,” which he “dedicated to all Black women everywhere - especially our mothers.” And behind the scenes are filmmakers and creators Elladj Baldé, Clayton Benn, Big Freedia, Bluprint, Rudy Crew, Linda Elaine, The Grapevine, Kirby Griffin, Hamilton Glass, Johnny, Jamar Jones, KevOnStage, Christ-Claude Mowandza-Ndinga, Raafi Rivero and Fatima Robinson; wordsmiths Clover Hope, Dave Schilling and Ele Woods; and composers Pauli ‘The PSM’ Lovejoy, Nigel ‘Mr. Dex’ Hosten and Yaffra. 

    "The Black Renaissance belongs to and is created by us -- Black storytellers, filmmakers, creators, music directors, composers, visual artists and wordsmiths," said the release. 


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    Published on Feb 17, 2021