Ellis will appear alongside Hamer’s great-niece in a virtual Zoom panel open to the public
Fresh off her Oscar nomination for her performance in King Richard, Aunjanue Ellis is set to host the panel Finding Your Voice Through Fannie Lou Hamer: Meet the Makers Panel, which details Hamer’s legacy of activism.
A perfect Black History Month watch, PBS is set to air the world premiere of Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, a documentary on the civil rights icon that lets her, “tell her own story in her own words and songs.”
(Credit: Getty Images)
About a week before the premiere of the documentary, the World channel will allow the public to attend Finding Your Voice Through Fannie Lou Hamer: Meet the Makers Panel, which features Ellis and author Dr. Keisha N. Blain (Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America) alongside Hamer’s great-niece Monica Land. Director of Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, Joy Davenport will also join the panel in a conversation that will, “explore Hamer’s legacy of activism and what can young activists learn from her.”
The official description of the documentary airing a week later, Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, reads: “Through rare footage and recordings, some not seen or heard in half a century, Hamer tells her story — and that of America — more than four decades after her death. The directorial debut of Davenport and the brainchild of Land, the film offers photos, documents, performances and sources, some unearthed by family members, to a new generation of audiences called upon to take up the mantle of preserving American democracy. The film airs at a time when Black women are being acknowledged for their work at the forefront of the fight for voting rights amidst unprecedented voter suppression efforts targeting citizens of color — in the spirit of Hamer’s famous quote, ‘Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.’”
Check out the trailer for the documentary below:
Ellis has had quite the awards season so far, earning rave reviews for her turn in King Richard as Oracene Price, mother and coach of Venus and Serena Williams, theGrio previously reported. While on theGrio‘s Acting Up podcast last year, Ellis opened up about her accomplishments and shared that even after acclaimed turns and accolades, she still struggles with pay inequity for Black women in Hollywood.
She told theGrio‘s Cortney Wills, “My resume is relatively long. 90% of it, ain’t nobody’s seen, but what they have seen, it matters. And I struggle with and am certainly in the throes of struggling with not being paid enough. Compared to what my white contemporary counterparts; my white female contemporaries, what they get paid? Not in the same league.”
“It’s not enough to have Black producers and directors if we are continuing the practice of disrespecting Black women when it comes to their pay,” she continued. “Disrespecting Black women in how they are portrayed, all of that stuff. It is more than who’s in the room and who is in power positions. It’s a far greater consideration than that.”
She added, “We can’t let their standards be our metrics for Black excellence. You kind of have to say those things to the world and to yourself in order to keep going. But the reality is, in terms of that paycheck getting bigger, those kinds of things matter.”
Photo credit via PBS
You can listen to the full episode of Acting Up with Ellis now. For more information on the virtual panel, you can head here. Fannie Lou Hamer’s America premieres on PBS Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 9/8c.
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