VH1 to premiere new docuseries ‘Growing Up Black’

“Growing Up Black” is a six-part series that follows families in New Orleans and showcases the city's rich culture

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VH1 took a trip to New Orleans to unpack the Black experience in the city known for its rich culture.

“Growing Up Black” is a six-part series that follows families in NOLA who open up about the wonders of the city and how New Orleans has shaped their lives. They also tap into how the city’s racism affects their personal and world view.

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The series opens up with NOLA visual artist B Mike being asked, “what does it mean to be Black?” He responds with, “to be resilient… it means to come from a legacy of survivors… it means to have a tangible connection to a type of cultural identity.”

He continues, “It’s the type of cultural cape you are able to put on without fully being able to access your history. You can tap into some ancient practices here just by being in New Orleans.”

‘Growing Up Black’ Image: VH1

The first episode introduces characters who are proud natives of New Orleans. Throughout the series, they showcase how their life experiences are unique to the culture of their city.

“They have a lot of hip places but I guarantee you will not find or be able to go to no city and find a four or five-year-old playing the big tuba with men,” says Civil Rights Activist and Freedom Rider, Jerome “Big Duck” Smith. He continues, “It’s because he doesn’t know his limits.”

Over 15 years later, the lively, creole cuisine-loving city sadly still faces hardships because of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina impact. New Orleans journalist and historian Cierra Chenier says she hopes her city can spearhead the change this country needs regarding racism.

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“The change I would like to see in the world starts with my city and I think the changes in New Orleans can set the precedent for the changes in a lot of the predominantly Black cities across the country.”

She adds, “there is so much emphasis on Black New Orleanians being resilient and we are always resilient in the things that we have faced but I really want us to be able to eradicate the conditions that cause us to be resilient in the first place. The chance to not only be surviving but to live free and really thrive in the city that we call home.”  

Check out the first episode below.

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