The ‘Black list’: a sign that you’ve arrived

Thanks to the success of 2008’s HBO documentary “The Black List Vol. 1,” a program that chronicled the life of influential blacks through interviews and intimate life stories, the network followed up with “The Black List Vol. 2.”

“The Black List Vol. 2,” created by Elvis Mitchell and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders but directed by the latter, aired Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. on HBO Documentaries.

Though the stories come from people of color, their recollections were not focused on race.  The cherished formula is resurrected with a simple backdrop, stool, and warm conversation.

In order to give participants more of a one-on-one feeling with television viewers, Mitchell asks questions but is never heard or seen.

Participants that are featured in Vol. 2 include pastor T.D. Jakes, rapper RZA, directors and filmmakers Tyler Perry and Melvin Van Peebles, actor Laurence Fishburne, GAP designer Patrick Robinson, and activists Angela Davis and Majora Carter.

Other lesser known interviewees include Gov. Deval Patrick, actress Maya Rudolph, artist Kara Walker, bishop Barbara Davis, screenwriter Suzanne De Passé, country singer  Charlie Pride, and the Dean of Medicine at Meharry, Valerie Montgomery-Rice.

“The Black List Vol. 2” earns its creditability by elegantly allowing the participants to touch audiences with their views on life and not just the issues of being black.

Without tarnishing their image with stereotypical subjects, the interviews are focused on a wide variety of backgrounds and occupations that take readers into different realms of black culture. 

From the clothing that inspired designer Patrick Robinson, to the mixed emotions comedian Maya Rudolph felt about her mixed race background, Vol. 2 strikes the same if not harder chords than the original. 

Overcoming hardships was the general focus of the stories told by interviewees. 

Growing up Pastor T.D. Jakes took care of his ailing father. He decided he wanted uplift others and became a pastor.

The election of President Barack Obama turned many of the interviews to the topic of overcoming great obstacles.

Gov. Patrick’s account of his personal journey to office made Vol. 2 even more inspirational.

Although the second coming of the program may not be as heralded as the first, the original show received numerous awards including recognition from HBO, “The Black List Vol. 2” is solidified in its appreciation to help define the roles of blacks as more than a race. 

The statements and portraits of the contributor’s lives validate that though it is great to be black, what a person does to change the world makes them who they are.

“The Black List Vol. 2” is a definite must see.
With the critically acclaimed documentaries portraying blacks in such a high regard, Vol. 3 will be another welcoming addition to a remarkable conversation.