Saturday, August 01, 2009

CNN set for further discussion about African-Americans Tonight

In a matter of minutes, CNN is set to premiere its 2009 edition of the "Reclaiming the Dream" panel discussion, co-produced with Essence Magazine.

I believe the program was taped last month at the Essence Music Festival.

The two-hour discussion is part of CNN's Black in America 2 series of programs designed to spotlight the experience of African-Americans, a follow-up to a similar effort last summer.

Looking Back at the 2008 Installment

In its effort to "search for solutions" last summer, CNN invited a blue-ribbon panel of "experts" on the black American experience-- Princeton University's Cornel West, Harvard's Roland Fryer, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Bennett College President Julianne Malveaux and several others.

I missed the program. But, in anticipation of tonight's program wanted to see what was accomplished in the discussion that included questions from the audience.

The main topics addressed seem to be the following

  1. out-of-wedlock births and the number single-parent families
  2. the school dropout problem
  3. AIDS in the black community
  4. suicide among black men
Innovative solutions were spotlighted with some feature stories and interviews with those involved in these programs.

As we look toward tonight's program, I'll be interested to see how much, in any, overlap is there with the individuals in the Black in America 2 documentary that premiered two weeks ago.

(By the way, CNN is now claiming Black in America 2 was the #1 cable documentary)

What's different this year?

One thing that is different tonight is that we have TWO MAJOR CHANGES since last summer:

1) Barack Obama's election

2) Dr. Henry Louis Gates Controversy

It will interesting to see how much attention the first changes will be given in tonight's program. (The program was pre-recorded before the Gates Controversy surfaced)

Also different this year, CNN's Roland Martin will be CO-MODERATING with Soledad O'Brien. Having two minority journalists leading this discussion..two who have very different approaches to addressing race in America..will be interesting.

Well, we're inside of 15 minutes until showtime. So we'll break here and comment more later.


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