• Karyn Parsons

Coleman film backers reach fundraising goal

The producers of an animated short film on the life of Atlanta native and aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman last week surpassed their fundraising goal for the project.
Sweet Blackberry, a nonprofit founded by actress Karyn Parsons, sought financing for the film through the online crowdfunding site Kickstarter, with the goal of raising $50,000 by July 20. Late last week, that goal was met and exceeded. A quick check of the site over the weekend showed the total raised through Sunday was $53,581.
Meagen Hagans with Sweet Blackberry said late last week the project was “good to go” provided the film’s producers remained at their fundraising goal through Tuesday. Sweet Blackberry plans to go into production on the film in September and have it completed by February.
The film’s Kickstarter site can be found at www.kickstarter.com/projects/798791271/the-bessie-coleman-story-presente....
The Bessie Coleman film is part of a series aimed at drawing attention to the accomplishments of lesser known African American historical figures. Parsons said in June that Coleman is better-known than some of the film’s subjects, but, “there still weren’t enough people that knew about her, and to me I feel that she’s an American story that everybody should know about.”
Coleman’s rise to lasting aviation fame is better known in her birthplace of Atlanta than in most parts of the world. Born here in 1892, she would eventually break a number of barriers, becoming the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license. 
Gender and racial discrimination in her home country required her attending an aviation academy in France to achieve that goal.
Coleman returned to America and earned a living barnstorming and performing mid-air stunts until 1926, when she was killed rehearsing for a show.
The animated film focused on her life and accomplishments will be narrated by award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne and brought to life visually by renowned illustrator R. Gregory Christie.
Plans are in the works for Parsons to make a video addressing Atlanta residents on the film. 

Pictured, Karyn Parsons, Sweet Blackberry founder.

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