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By Helen Silvis of The Skanner News
Published: 25 July 2011

Admit it. We've all had those conversations about what's Black and what's not. 'Black Folk Do':  believe in God; go to church; spend a fortune on looking good. You get the idea. And then, there is that other conversation that lays out what 'Black Folk Don't': listen to country music; wear ripped jeans; go on backpacking vacations. And those are just the claims that probably won't start a fight.
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Our ideas about 'What Black Folk Don't Do' might be based on 'real talk' or they might have the backing of real facts. African Americans truly are more likely than Whites to go to church according to national surveys, for example. But many of the items we like to put on these lists are controversial.

Now, Black Public Media is taking the conversation a step further online, with a series of six short videos by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Angela Tucker, all on the theme, "Black Folk Don't".

"The videos explore provocative statements in that grey area between stereotypes and truth," says Nonso Christian Ugbode, director of digital media for Black Public Media. "There's a lot of stereotypes out there, and this is to get people talking.

"We're hoping people will extend that conversation into Twitter, Facebook and other social media by sharing the videos and their own comments."

The series starts Aug. 2 with the first video, "Black Folk Don't Tip." You can see a trailer for the series on the website now. A trailer for 'Black Folk Don't Tip', will be posted Friday, July 29. Over the summer, five more videos will continue the conversation. All starting with 'Black Folk Don't…', they will examine African American attitudes to doctors, therapy, travel, winter sports and yoga.

The website (blackpublicmedia.org ) is the online face of the National Black Programming Consortium, created in 1979 to bring shows about African Americans to public broadcasting. The nonprofit's website has featured the Afropop series as well as documentaries about Africa's Black middle classes; New Orleans after Katrina; Black unemployment and images of Black masculinity.

Ugbode says the videos are part of a summer series designed to bring fresh, new digital content to the Internet and to public broadcasting. In fall the big production studios release new shows on television, but summer seemed like the perfect opportunity to claim a space on the Internet for short, cutting edge videos.

"Most of what was out there was narrative (fiction): our stuff is documentary," he says. "It's always true, and it's always Black content."

Three or four years ago Black Public Media staff realized that summer was the perfect time to support independent producers of color, and bring fresh, exciting content to a wider audience. So every summer after July 4, they plan to launch a new series.

This summer two projects will run: 'Black Folk Don't..." shorts and Mondo Black, which explores the fringes of Black experience through the lives of artists, musicians, and, next up, an astronomer."

So what's on your list of what "Black Folk Don't…."?

PHOTOS From top:
Comedian/blogger Baratunde Thurston (Jack & Jill Politics/The Onion) is one of the voices featured in BlackPublicMedia.org's "Black Folk Don't..." web series. 
Nonso Christian Ugbode , director of digital media at Black Public Media.
Actress Yolanda Ross (HBO's Treme) adds to the chorus in the new documentary web series "Black Folk Don't..." from BlackPublicMedia.org 

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