Sweet Blackberry: Bringing African-American history alive with a little starpower

Sweet Blackberry Janet Collins | Cool Mom Picks

There are moments in stories I heard as a child — lots of them in fact — that have stayed with me my entire life. Charlotte’s spider babies, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s wonderful cures, Peter Rabbit losing his jacket in what, at that time in my life, felt like a very scary chase. They stay with me because they are wonderful stories, well-written and -kudos to my parents- well read. These moments are just what I thought of when I first discovered Sweet Blackberry. A new non-profit organization, Sweet Blackberry is creating a similar story memory legacy for children with narrated animated shorts about fascinating African-Americans throughout history.

With two shorts already released and one on the way, the mission at Sweet Blackberry is to bring to life lesser-known but still wonderful tales of African-American achievement to kids, to encourage creative minds. And it’s working.

By combining fascinating stories with creative crowdfunding (and a little starpower), Sweet Blackberry has already empowered so many children. Their most recent Kickstarter campaign was a success and they’ve raised enough money to bring the story of the first Black artist to dance at the Metropolitan Opera, Janet Collins, to life. And its narrated by none other than Chris Rock.

The other two animated shorts look equally enthralling: Alfre Woodard narrates The Journey of Henry Box Brown, about a slave who mailed himself to freedom. Then there’s Garrett’s Gift (shown below),  the story of Garrett Morgan who invented the traffic signal, brought to life through the voice of Queen Latifah and beautiful illustrations from Coretta Scott King award winner R. Gregory Christie.

 

Garrett's Gift: Stories of African-American achievements via Sweet blackberry

Sweet Blackberry offers lesser known stories of African-Americans through history

You might also recognize the name of Sweet Blackberry’s founder, Karyn Parsons. Or perhaps you better know her as Hilary Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. So you can imagine what that means: really cool Kickstarter rewards. (Quest Love signed drumsticks? A custom voicemail message from Will Smith? Hello!)

Definitely keep an eye out for the next Sweet Blackberry campaign for upcoming stories. Because if the most recent Kickstarter is any indication, contributing to what’s already a fantastic cause is going to be downright irresistible.

You can purchase the DVDs  of The Journey of Henry Box Brown and Garrett’s Gift now. Or make a donation at Sweet Blackberry to help bring more wonderful, inspiring true stories to life for kids.

Stephanie S.

Stephanie Slate is an Ontario-based writer, crunchy mom, and celebrity stroller expert. And no, she does not say "eh."

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