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“Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s” Karyn Parsons Helping African American Children See and Become Heroes

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By: Leticia Latrice

Do you remember Hilary from the T.V. show  Fresh Prince of Bel Air? Even though she was portrayed as Will’s light headed cousin ,she is a very intelligent woman. Karyn Parson’s has a passion for creating animated films for children.

She recently started her production company Sweet Blackberry producing films that teach African- American history. Parson’s desire is to create content that truly reflect the black culture. It is a small production company based out of her home. Sweet Blackberry has been producing animated films since 2000.  A popular film she created was The Journey of Henry “Box” Brown. This was a story of a boy who shipped himself in a box from Virginia to Philadelphia to escape slavery.

She felt it was important for her children to be able to watch stories about their culture at a young age. Parson realizes the value in providing healthy, positive images for your children to view. In the past, there haven’t been many animated films or series for children that represent the black culture. Fat Albert is one cartoon series that comes to mind. So it is inspiring when someone like Parson’s creates a new way to express black culture through animated film. She is a pioneer and is creating something positive, educational and that is helping preserve black history at Sweet Blackberry.

In this day in age the African American population has limited content that accurately reflect issues that are important to the community.  The recent issue with the Oscars caused black people to feel belittled because their art is not accepted or appreciated by white society. Why does the black race always have to look for external validation? Why isn’t the support of your own people enough? On the other hand how come black people can create wonderful things for their culture and not be supported? More people like Parson’s need to rise up, create their own platforms and different types of art. We need more forms of modern art and entertainment that provide wisdom, value and substance to the African American community. Not more movies or shows that promote violence, drama, sex and self-hate.

Remember when you would watch Parson’s(Hillary) on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. This is a show where you could admire a successful black family that loved each other. Quincy Jones was a pioneer by creating a show that was the opposite of how society wanted to label black. Thank you Karyn Parson for continuing Quincy Jones legacy by creating meaningful animated children’s films for African American to preserve, embrace and enjoy black history.

 

 

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