For Immediate Release
January 19, 2024
Contact Information

For interview requests on this project contact Roy Brannon at or 214-724-6892.

(BPRW) “Hollywood We Have A Problem”

(Black PR Wire) “When (Hollywood) executives are looking for Black content, they’re either looking for Wakanda or Thug Life, with no in between. By ignoring the systemic racial inequities that plague the film and television business, Hollywood is leaving $10 billion annually on the table" - McKinsey & Company Study (2021).  “So if the market tells us that this is not a value proposition for studios … it might be a value proposition for another entity” - Filmmaker Ava Duvernay on securing non-studio financing($38M) of her latest film Origins. “It was like you were never here…” Blitz Bazawule, the director of “The Color Purple” in a recent television interview, referring to the studio's requirement that (Academy Award nominated, Golden Globe Award winner) Taraji P. Henson audition for her role in the movie. Taraji later expressed other troubling concerns including compensation and working conditions. The irony is Oprah Winfrey, the film’s producer and the most influential Black woman in film/tv was hamstrung in assisting Taraji by the same system. The cruelest  irony… The movie is about a young Black Woman, struggling to overcome oppression, while seeking fulfillment.

The old tired mantra, “black content doesn’t travel overseas” is bull*hit according to filmmaker Pierre Bagley who directed Taraji P. Henson, over 10 years ago, in what many considered some of her best work, in her portrayal of legendary coach Catana Starks in the film “From The Rough.” The first woman to coach a division I Men’s Golf team to a PGA tournament win. This true story happened at the HBCU (Historically Black College & University), Tennessee State University. The irony is that Coach Starks did this by recruiting internationally, bringing players from all over the world into an environment very culturally different from their own. The film also starred (the late) Michael Clarke Duncan, Tom Felton (Harry Potter) and Justin Chon (Twilight).  True to Hollywood fashion, after the film was being screened and promoted nationally to strong acceptance and reviews, the powers-that-be intervened, cutting almost 30 minutes out of the 2-hr film, while changing the composer and soundtrack. This intervention delayed the film’s release by over 3 years.

African Americans have proven their profound impact on every segment of American culture from social justice, cuisine, sports, art, fashion, literature and music, it is woven into the fabric of America and the world, yet Hollywood continues  to view Black America as a “niche market.”  Today, Pierre Bagley, a respected writer, producer/director, and David Dinerstein, an Academy Award winning producer (Summer of Soul)– are developing the Bluford High TV series and Hollywood is not sure. Bluford has a massive and avid fan base, It  disrupted the Young Adult market by rejecting the cynical, baseless notion that “black kids don’t read”. All the main characters are Black and Brown and they are complex and multifaceted, their stories are realistic and edgy but also uplifting. 23 titles have sales of more than 12 million copies with readers in all 50 states and  boasting a readership of more than 50 million. Bluford has achieved historic success in YA fiction (U.S. sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson is an avid fan).  Taraji P. Henson has recently made headlines about the inequality in pay but this goes much deeper. It’s about who’s in control of the stories and voices of people of color, and who gets to decide on how people of color are portrayed. 

Both Mr. Bagley and Mr. Dinerstein has been developing this project for over 6 years and have bluntly asked Hollywood  the simple question: Why can’t this bright, passionate audience of millions have a TV/film series based on the books they read growing up? Why won’t you recognize the sustained, historically successful performance of urban focused content? These questions and more are being posed by Bluford’s massive, loyal and highly engaged social media base and they are making noise. Mr. Bagley says - “It is counterproductive and very frustrating to continue investing our creative and entrepreneurial energies trying to reform an industry that seems incapable of change. Time better spent, creating the next hit TV series or movie franchise with alternate methods of financing and distribution”.


U.S. “Urban Campaign” Promo