Three New Series Coming to PBS VOICES in January & February
"Hip-Hop and The Metaverse," "Ritual," and "Breaking Ground" Debut on PBS VOICES, a PBS Digital Studios YouTube Channel Exploring the Human Experience
ARLINGTON, VA; Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 - PBS Digital Studios announces today the launch of three new digital series in January and February, "Hip-Hop and The Metaverse," "Ritual," and "Breaking Ground" on PBS Voices, a documentary-focused YouTube channel. "Hip-Hop and The Metaverse" premiered Thursday, Jan. 12, to be followed by "Ritual" on Tuesday, Feb. 14, and "Breaking Ground" on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), each series aims to grow digital production capacity at respective PBS member stations and introduce audiences to a diverse array of stories from across the country.
"We're extremely proud of the new lineup of shows coming to PBS Voices this year," said Maribel Lopez, Head of PBS Digital Studios. "The member stations we are working with are deeply rooted in their communities and have found truly compelling stories to tell. We're excited to bring these stories to a national audience where we know our fans will appreciate the diversity of new voices and perspectives.
"Hip-Hop and the Metaverse," produced by PBS SoCal/KCET, examines the intersection of music, art, and technology. The series, hosted by Dr. Robeson "Taj" Frazier, a writer, multimedia producer, and professor of media arts, explores the way Hip-Hop artists and entrepreneurs are reshaping and remixing emerging technologies. Artists are now venturing into new virtual worlds to create unique experiences for audiences in 3D spaces, and develop art with innovative decentralized technologies. This series will look at the promise and controversy of the Metaverse and Web3 tech through the lens of Hip-Hop. In each episode, Taj engages with experts and artists in their fields who will share their real-world experiences and discuss Hip-Hop as a culture, genre and multi-disciplinary art form as well as how it transforms and influences the future.
"When people discuss technology, innovation, and Web3 they might not immediately think of Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop communities. But we're there. And we've been there," said Taj Frazier, Ph.D., host of "Hip-Hop and the Metaverse." "This production highlights that presence and gives close attention to the role that Hip-Hop creatives are playing in this arena and discussions surrounding it. I'm excited to showcase and celebrate this special community."
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, "Ritual," produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting debuts on PBS Voices. The new series explores the depths and varieties of rituals across the American South alongside the series' host, Grammy-nominated musician, poet, and New Orleans culture bearer, Tarriona "Tank" Ball. Throughout the series, Tank examines the various layers of meaning contained in various Southern rituals. Each episode focuses on a different ritual that contributes to a larger conversation around a community's relationship between the past and present, and how perpetuating a ritual resonates in the collective regional consciousness.
"Breaking Ground," a new series produced by Kansas City PBS, premieres Wednesday, Feb. 22 on PBS Voices and tells the story of a community undergoing urban revitalization from within. Hosted by Daniel and Dr. Ebony Edwards, the series follows the couple as they embark on an ambitious experiment to revitalize their childhood neighborhoods without displacing residents. Dr. Ebony Edwards is a community psychologist and Daniel Edwards is an architectural engineer and together, they are developers and owners of a lumberyard. In each episode, releasing on a monthly schedule, the couple works to overcome years of divestment and restore this once vibrant community for future generations.
"We aren't just breaking ground on rebuilding our neighborhood, we are breaking ground on a new economic system to rebuild every black and brown neighborhood across the country," said Daniel Edwards. "'Breaking Ground' gives us the opportunity to show past and present actions that depress communities, and the changes we can make collectively to expand opportunities where they have not existed for decades to create a more equitable America for future generations," said Dr. Ebony Edwards.
All three series will also be available on PBS.org and the PBS app, and each will be included in THE BLOCK PARTY, a streaming collection and social campaign presented by PBS's Black Culture Connection aimed at amplifying Black stories and content across platforms. PBS Digital Studios is also updating its Celebrating Black History playlist on YouTube to include new episodes from these three series.
Additional content related to all PBS Digital Studios series, including the three new shows on PBS Voices, can be found across PBS Digital Studios on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Brief descriptions of the pilot episodes for each series are listed below:
Hip-Hop and The Metaverse
Host: Taj Frazier, Ph.D.
Trailer: Welcome to Hip-Hop and the Metaverse
Episode One: Hold Up, How Did Hip-Hop Become a Trailblazer in VR?
Premieres: Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023
More and more hip-hop artists are performing virtual concerts and making a huge footprint in the metaverse. But there's a much more interesting counterculture revolution happening in the virtual world, led by young artists who are changing the game.
Host: Tarriona "Tank" Ball
Trailer: Discover Ritual, a New Documentary Series Coming to PBS Voices
Episode One: Cemetery Caretakers
Premieres: Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023
In the premiere, Tank Ball explores the hidden history of Black burial in Louisiana. From a man caretaking for an ancestral cemetery to a woman fighting to protect the sacred burial sites of her enslaved ancestors from exploitative industries, we learn how one the oldest rituals in history - taking care of the dead - are an ongoing thread of resistance in the American South.
Hosts: Daniel and Dr. Ebony Edwards
Trailer: Enter the Hard Hat Area of Breaking Ground, a New Documentary Series
Episode One: The Story of the Site
Premieres: Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023
Much has been said about the "American Dream", but for many, decisions were made and policies were implemented that explicitly kept portions of the Kansas City community from the opportunity to make it a reality. This episode examines the current state of our most vulnerable communities by taking a look at the past. The Edwards walk through the community highlighting the current site, and visualizing the plans as demolition begins.
About PBS Voices
PBS Voicesis a documentary-themed YouTube channel by PBS Digital Studios, which brings together curated content from PBS member stations and independent filmmakers across the country. Programs featured on PBS Voices cover a diverse array of subjects which highlight unique perspectives while celebrating our shared human experiences.
About PBS Digital Studios
PBS Digital Studios produces original, digital programming designed to engage, enlighten, and entertain online audiences. The PBS Digital Studios network has more than 30 million subscribers on YouTube, generating an average of 50 million views each month. In 10 years, it has launched over 70 original series and has accumulated over four billion lifetime views on YouTube. Series include the Webby Award-winning BE SMART and SOUND FIELD, as well as popular series such as WEATHERED, EONS, MONSTRUM and PBS SPACE TIME. For more information on PBS Digital Studios, visit PBS.org.
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS's broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry's most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS's premier children's media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV - including a 24/7 channel - online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Communications on Twitter.