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Alicia Keys set to executive-produce a documentary about legendary Black female entertainers

Milan Zrnic

 Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys has been tapped to executive-produce a documentary to celebrate six iconic Black female entertainers for PBS.


The documentary, titled American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free, will tell the legendary stories of some of entertainment’s leading ladies, including actresses and entertainers Cicely Tyson, Pam Grier, Lena HorneAbbey LincolnDiahann Carroll, and Nina Simone.  The doc will feature interviews and archival performances with all six women, and will detail “how they challenged the entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process.”  Family members, including Horne’s daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, will also take part.

In addition, Alicia Keys, as well as Halle Berry, Lena Waithe, Meagan Good, actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson and husband Samuel L. Jackson will share how the artists influenced them. 

“I am proud to be a part of such a meaningful, important project,” Alicia said in a statement. “Art is the most powerful medium on the planet, and I continue to be inspired by and learn from these powerful, brave, and stereotype-shattering women who leveraged their success as artists to fearlessly stand up against racism, sexism, exclusion, and harassment. I honor their courage by celebrating their stories and continuing the work they started.”

The documentary is based on the 2013 book How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement, by Ruth Feldstein.  American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free is scheduled to air in early 2021 as part of PBS’ American Masters docuseries. 

By Rachel George
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