About this project
***STRETCH GOAL OF $10,000! To 85K!
Let's make the Janet Collins film even better!
- Title sequence
- Live-action bumpers for the film: sequences in the beginning and ending which bring in real children on screen with the narrator. It's a great way for kids everywhere to feel more involved in the story!
Hi, I’m Karyn Parsons. I played Hilary Banks on the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I am also the founder of Sweet Blackberry, an award-winning organization whose mission is to bring little-known stories of African American achievement to kids.
Actor, Comedian, producer and father of two young girls, Chris Rock, has come on board to narrate Janet’s story.
SWEET BLACKBERRY SHARES STORIES THAT INSPIRE!
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 Alfre Woodard and Queen Latifah. Both films showed on HBO and HBO Family and have been distributed to libraries and schools all over the world and have made a difference!
So much so that a chorus of parents and teachers, around the country, are calling out for us to make more films! For our next story, we will feature the First Black Prima Ballerina Janet Collins!
SPREAD THE STORY OF THE FIRST BLACK PRIMA BALLERINA
Janet Collins was a remarkable woman who overcame incredible obstacles to become the first African American soloist to perform at the Metropolitan Opera! When only 15 years old, the talented Janet Collins was asked by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo to join their company on the condition that she perform in whiteface!
She declined and later became a celebrated Prima Ballerina at a time when this was unheard of. She also won awards for her dancing on Broadway including the 1950 title of Best Dancer on Broadway.
Janet Collins set the stage for an explosion of African American dancers for years to come, paving the way for companies like Alvin Ailey and the Dance Theater of Harlem.
WHY IS THIS STORY SO IMPORTANT?
“What she did by dancing the way she did "- dancer, actor, and painter Geoffrey Holder said – "To be a Prima Ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera House – gave everybody hope.”
Janet Collins's story shows children that they can be anything even if you are being told that what you are is not the model for success. She knocked down the barriers! Janet Collins rose to such heights that it is our duty at Sweet Blackberry to share her story with as wide an audience possible!
Janet Collins was also a real life Black Prima Ballerina. Little girls grow up dreaming of princesses and ballerinas, but some don't have role models to follow and little-known Janet Collins was just that! It’s important that we nurture young girls’ (and boys') self-esteem by providing them with strong, positive images and let them know that they are beautiful.
Janet’s story belongs to all of us. We need collaborators to get this done! Together, we will make a 20-minute, animated film, to be narrated by Chris Rock, bringing to life Janet’s inspiring story, that will be distributed to libraries and schools, broadcast to a wide audience, and enjoyed in homes across the country.
WHERE THE MONEY WILL GO
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).
Emmy-Award nominated creative studio PixelPirate Production, will be handling the animation of the film. They've done work with Nick, Marvel and many other brands for kids and adults, so we're sure they'll do Janet Collins proud.
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.
CHECK OUT OUR COOL REWARDS !
Some incredible talents have come together to support this project and donate their time and gifts including Will Smith, Chris Rock, plenty more Fresh Prince cast members, Questlove and more! Be a part of it! Support Sweet Blackberry AND get cool, and one-of-a-kind experiences!
Customized, Outgoing Voicemail Message from Will Smith!
Custom-signed drumsticks from Questlove!
Customized, Outgoing Voicemail Message from Jada Pinkett Smith!
Customized, outgoing Voicemail Message from narrator Chris Rock! You'll be the coolest kid on the block!
Go shopping w/ Hilary & Ashley Banks!
And so many more!
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.
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