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LeBron James And CNN Films Team Up For Black Wall Street Documentary

The SpringHill Company, founded by NBA superstar LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter, have teamed up with CNN Films to produce Dreamland: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street. This documentary explores the history of Black Wall Street leading up to the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.  This project marks the centennial anniversary of the violent riots in the summer of 1921 when white mobs attacked black residents and businesses in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The incident is considered one of the most severe cases of racial violence in U.S. history. The documentary will be pieced together through archival materials, new interviews, letters and diary entries, in addition to footage of the nearly 100 year old search for the mass graves.

SpringHill Entertainment, which was founded in 2007, has produced multiple documentaries and series. More than a Game chronicled James and his high school teammates’ time at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. In 2014, the company moved into television programming with the scripted series Survivor’s Remorse. Other projects include the limited series Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, starring Octavia Spencer;  prime-time family game show The Wall; and documentaries Student Athlete, Shut Up and Dribble, and I Promise. Most recently, SpringHill released the limited series The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life on Netflix. The show features coaches from multiple major sports sharing their philosophies about life and sports. 

In June, the production company signed a two-year overall deal for scripted television with ABC Studios, a part of Disney Television Studios. They followed that up with a first-look deal with Universal Pictures in September. 

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“At SpringHill, we embody empowerment and focus on shining a light on stories that are the fabric of American history,” said Jamal Henderson, SpringHill’s chief content officer in a statement. “We cannot move forward until we acknowledge our past and this is about honoring a prosperous, booming Black community, one of many, that was brought to an end because of hate. With the lack of historic journalism around ‘Black Wall Street’ and the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, we are honored to be partnered with CNN, which has a long-standing record of credible and groundbreaking journalism. We are bringing this documentary together with a diverse crew, including local Tulsans, and making it our mission to uplift voices and people while creating impactful content.”

CNN Films has a list of respected movies in their catalogue including RBG, about the recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Apollo 11, documenting the space mission involving the first astronauts to walk on the moon. 

“CNN Films could not be more proud to partner with The SpringHill Company for this long-overdue recognition of the tragedy of what happened in Greenwood, and to contribute to the reconciliation that comes with the acknowledgement of history,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide. “Salima Koroma’s vision will yield a truly thoughtful film.”

CNN Films will serve as the linear television distributor throughout North America, and HBO Max has acquired streaming rights to the film.

Source: Forbes – Business

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