MR. MARTIN: Welcome back to “Washington Watch.”
The unveiling of “The Black List” photo exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery here in D.C. was an event attended by many of the celebrities represented in the photographs. While I was there, I had the opportunity to talk with some of them about what it meant to see themselves in black and white.
MR. HILL HARPER: We have a history as African-Americans of taking a negative and making a positive. We took – we do that with soul food, for instance. We take the greens that the master would throw out – the turnip, the – from the turnip and make turnip greens, or gumbo. We take what they threw out, mix it together, make it taste good. We – this – this is a case of taking a negative term – “blacklisting,” or “blacklist” – and putting positive people who’re doing positive things and – and flipping it.
MR. MARC MORIAL: I hope that the lives of all of us will help a young person out there realize that you can live a life of purpose and that, if you commit to it, you can live a life that promotes change.
MR. LOUIS GOSSETT, JR.: This is just a handful of what we represent, and we can inspire others who didn’t think they could ever possibly get on the walls of the Smithsonian. Now they think they can and go further.
MR. FOREST WHITAKER: And as we witness the first time these 50 portraits being displayed in the National Portrait Gallery together, we’re seeing the collective power of the African-American community. Whether we’re talking about voting power, or whether we’re talking about buying power, or simply the power of coming together to celebrate each other on a night like tonight, the importance and the influence it has in the community can never be understated. Seeing all 50 of these portraits and seeing you tonight, I’m reminded that it is possible. Anything is possible.
MS. WONYA LUCAS: TV One recently acquired the “Black List” documentaries, and we are honored to share the films’ interviews to help museum patrons fully experience the full richness of “The Black List.” We think there is no better long-term destination for “The Black List” than TV One as we seek to share the full breadth and depth of the Black experience.
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MR. MARTIN: TV One will broadcast the great “Black List” documentary series next year, and if you’re planning to visit D.C., you’ll want to be sure you include this exhibit on your list of things to do.