We all remember our homegirl Hilary Banks from “The FreshPrince of Bel-Air.” What many people do not know is that Karyn Parsons, the actress who played Hilary Banks, is far from the ditzy girl who spent money like it grew on trees.
Karyn Parsons actually founded a nonprofit organization called Sweet Blackberry, which is dedicated to bringing little known stories about our accomplished ancestors to life for children. Parsons started the organization after becoming a new mother and being inspired to instill a sense of culture in her daughter.
The first DVD launched by Sweet Blackberry in 2005, “The Journey of Henry ‘Box’ Brown,” was narrated by Alfre Woodard and was launched to critical acclaim. Today, Sweet Blackberry has launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a short animated film about Janet Collins, the first African American soloist to perform at the metropolitan opera. The film will be narrated by Chris Rock.
Parsons is a reminder that you never know what some our favorite celebrities from back in the day are up to. She is also a reminder that there are countless stories about the achievements of our people that our children never learn, and those stories need to be told.