‘Twenty Pearls’ chronicles the legacy of Alpha Kappa Alpha, world’s oldest Black sorority
From the NASA to the White House, there are few organizations that the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha have not touched
When Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated aired earlier this month on the new Xfinity Channel, it was just over two months after the first woman, the first woman of color, and, yes, the first AKA to be inaugurated as the Vice President of the United States of America.
The film, narrated by Phylicia Rashad, chronicles the creation and the legacy of Alpha Kappa Alpha which with its iconic pink and green has reached a new level of prominence since Kamala Harris threw up her pinky and declared her love for her beloved AKA.
“This is a woman who attended an HBCU and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha,” Dr. Glenda Glover, President of Alpha Kappa Alpha said of her Soror, Vice President Harris to theGrio. ”She learned and honed her leadership skills in Alpha Kappa Alpha. That’s what AKA is all about training young ladies how to be leaders, how to serve. How to serve your community, how to serve your profession. That’s what we do and she’s done it at a very high level.”
For over 113 years, Alpha Kappa Alpha has seen members lead in many areas in the nation. From NASA to the White House, there are few aspects of success that women who are members of the organization have not touched.
Filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper chronicled the organization with a masterful film that is for more than just members of Black Greek Letter Organizations, but for anyone who enjoys Black history. “Too frequently, America wants to give Black women a narrative. I think it’s incredibly important for us to write and tell our own stories. We have earned that right,” Draper told theGrio.
Draper detailed one of the film’s most interesting interviews and challenges: An interview with Harris.
“Dr. Glover texted now-Vice President Harris and she called her right back, and said that she would do it. We had to go through a lot of COVID protocols including sanitizing the room and ensuring that no one entered it for 24 hours prior to her arrival.”
She noted that Vice President Harris was gracious and immediately committed to participating in the project. As did AKA member Rashad who narrated the film despite being in two television shows and doing theater work.
Dr. Glover noted that Harris’ prominence has brought a lot of attention to Alpha Kappa Alpha, but also to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She notes that universities are seeing a raised level of attention resulting in better fundraising opportunities and collaborations. She declared that Harris has brought new and well-deserved attention to HBCUs and the entire Divine Nine.
Keesha Boyd, the executive director of multicultural TV/film content for NBCUniversal, premiered the film on the newly launched Black Experience on Xfinity Channel.
In a statement, Boyd called Twenty Pearls, “an uplifting story that shines a light on the influence and contributions of so many notable AKA members and the sisterhood that binds all of the phenomenal sororities in the Divine Nine.”
“I want people to understand that these nine young women on the campus of Howard University got together in the early 1900s when “separate but equal” was the law of the land,” Glover explained.
“These young women came together and made a decision that changed the world. They declared, ‘we are going to do something to help us serve all mankind, we are going to serve at a higher level, we are going to do something to address the issues of women and girls. They formed a sorority to address the many concerns in America at the time. Alpha Kappa Alpha women still have a desire to learn, to lead, and to serve.”
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