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Spotlight on: 'Karyn Parsons' & 'The Sweet Blackberry Company'

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  • multiracialbookclub
    Karyn Parsons Actress Karyn Parsons is making DVDs about a number of remarkable African-Americans
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2007
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      Karyn Parsons

      Actress Karyn Parsons is making DVDs about
      a number of remarkable
      African-Americans
      whose stories are little known in the U.S.

       

      You recognize her face.
      And now she's being recognized for her words.

      Karyn Parsons, who starred with Will Smith
      on the sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,"
      has put on the hat of educator with a series
      of animated films for children on DVD and
      available at selected stores nationwide.

      It is the first in a series of films that will tell the
      little-known histories of
      African-American men and
      women whose achievements kids can understand.

      "There are remarkable stories about acts of
      courage and triumph and I think it's a shame
      that these amazing tales from which we
      can learn so much have been forgotten."

      And while her stories currently focus on
      African-Americans, Ms. Parsons wants to
      reach out to children of all
      Ethnic groups

      "It's important for us to teach all
      children," she says. "Every story
      is for every person to learn from.  
      We're telling engaging stories
      about phenomenal people ..."

      Ms. Parsons work includes films about Garrett
      Morgan, an
      African-American scientist whose
      inventions include the traffic signal, and Ellen Kraft,
      a fair-skinned
      African-American slave who freed
      herself and her darker-skinned
      African-American
      husband by posing as his master — a White man.

      "I don't see myself as an activist," she says.
      "I first started this company because I wasn't
      finding anything like ---- what I wanted to do.
      "
      African-American history has so many,
      many stories of creativity and courage.
      My goal is to tell these stories …."

      5

      Karyn Parsons: Actress, Founder,
      The Sweet Blackberry Company

      Fans of `90s sitcom TV undoubtedly have fond
      memories of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air."

      As Will Smith's spoiled eldest cousin Hilary
      Banks, actress Karyn Parsons played the
      "Valley Girl" socialite to pampered perfection.

      Since "Fresh Prince" wrapped in 1996, Parsons
      founded Sweet Blackberry, a company that
      produces educational DVDs for children.

      "I started the company in 2004.
      My mother is a retired librarian and she used to
      always come to me with different stories," she shares.
      "She headed the
      black resource center, so she had
      an incredible wealth of
      black history and culture."

      That wealth of history and culture led Parsons to the
      story of Henry "Box" Brown, a 19th century slave who
      mailed himself from Virginia to Pennsylvania inside
      a box, and once in the North, emerged a free man.

      "I was so blown away by the story and the fact that I
      had never heard of it before and [none of my friends]
      had ever heard of it before," she explains,

      "I thought this would be a great book."
      She was introduced to animator Gina Kamemsky
      and decided to include the story as part of a DVD
      series of children's historical animated adventures.

      With positive messages and a theme that
      encourages reading, it wasn't difficult to find
      others who wanted to be a part of the series."

      In the case of `The Journey of Henry
      Box Brown' story, we have Alfre
      Woodard narrating," she says, excitedly.

      Karyn's warm and engaging personality
      undoubtedly helps recruit others as well.

      But ultimately, her passion is her biggest asset.
      "We want [the kids] to be engaged
      in stories and reading," she says.
      "My biggest purpose with these stories is to teach
      children that they can do anything they want."

      Sweet Blackberry: A Multi-Cultural
      Educational Resource Company:

      Sweet Blackberry is a company which offers
      a series of educational DVDs is central to
      our mission on behalf of parents and children.
      Sweet Blackberry was established to share the
      stories that some people may recall from their
      childhood…and stories that are new to then!

      Borrowing from the tradition of folk and fairy tales,
      these stories are complemented by eclectic music,
      from conga to classical, and include narration by
      acclaimed actors from film, television and stage.

      The goal of the Sweet Blackberry DVDs is to
      stimulate a child's imagination and knowledge
      of their culture, and also to give parents the
      confidence that they're sharing stories that
      will stay with their child for a lifetime.

      Karen Parsons

      Karyn Parsons is of Mixed-Race lineage
      and she began her acting career as a teen.

      Her credits include both film and TV roles --
      but she is probably best known for playing
      starring in the role of the rich, spoiled
      Hilary Banks, cousin to Will Smith's
      character in the 1990s series
      "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air".

      Keep up to date with Sweet Blackberry
      by reading Karyn's blog found at
      http://www.sweetblackberry.com 

      Article Source:
      http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/09-06/09-17-06/01living.htm
      http://www.rollingout.com/studio/spotlight/index.php?p=5713&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#more5713


      Related Links:

      http://www.vibe.com/news/online_exclusives/2006/11/karyn_parsons/ 
      http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2006/10/16/shore_leave?mode=PF 

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