About this project
Hi! I'm Karyn Parsons. I played Hilary Banks on the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I am the founder of Sweet Blackberry, an award-winning organization whose mission is to bring little-known stories of African-American achievement to kids.
Sweet Blackberry's mission is to share stories that empower and instill a sense of pride in children. Previous films by Sweet Blackberry have received the prestigious Parent’s Choice Award and Learning Magazine’s Teacher’s Choice Awards, among others. They were narrated by noted actors Chris Rock, Alfre Woodard and Queen Latifah. All films are currently available to stream on Netflix and have been distributed to libraries and schools all over the world and have made a difference!
Sweet Blackberry is currently developing its fourth animated short sharing the inspiring story of Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female pilot.
Bessie grew up during a time where aviation schools in the United States would not let her learn to fly because she was a woman and she was Black. Without letting this prevent her from accomplishing her dream, Bessie taught herself, French, moved to France and earned her license from the renowned Caudron Brothers School of Aviation.
Bessie Coleman's story shows children that despite what odds may be stacked against them, they can be anything. Bessie broke a glass ceiling in the United States that limited individuals wanting to be a pilot to one race and gender. It is our duty at Sweet Blackberry to share her story with the world.
Bessie's story belongs to all of us. We need collaborators to create a 20-minute, animated film bringing Bessie's inspiring story to screens everywhere. Together, we will make a 20-minute, animated film, to be narrated by award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne. This inspiring story will be distributed to libraries and schools, broadcast to a wide audience, and enjoyed in homes across the country.
Celebrated children's book illustrator R. Gregory Christie (who has worked with the New Yorker and New York Times, as well as in over 50 books) has signed on to create the look of the film (including the great illustrations above).
In addition, there are the important touches: title design; sound, mixing and music clearances; an actor, extras, equipment and all the other things needed to shoot a live action sequence; post production and an editor; as well as digital mastery so the project is ready to land in a classroom, on TV or in a home.
Sweet Blackberry is a 501c3, non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible. We hope you, too, will become a part of the Sweet Blackberry family, and help get these stories out!
Thanks so much for taking the time, and thanks in advance for your support.
Spend the afternoon with Hilary and Ashley Banks! Pledge items include the opportunity to spend an afternoon shopping and having lunch with Karyn and Tatyana!
Risks and challenges
The only real risk is NOT making our goal. In that event, we will be unable to produce this important story and get it in schools, libraries, and homes across the country. We really need to harness all the enthusiasm and support for Sweet Blackberry and its mission that we’ve received over the years, and channel it into funding to make this film!
There really are no foreseeable risks once we have attained funding, except perhaps, our narrator’s schedule changing on us, but as we are not a studio with loads of other productions lined up, we have a lot of flexibility.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter