Basic Black

Last night I stumbled onto a great program on Boston's public tv station WGBH, "Basic Black", where host Kim McLarin talked for half an hour with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West about life in the Obama era (I was particularly taken with West's suggestion that Obama himself is "reluctant to step into the Age of Obama" and with the discussion of the meaning and implications of the terms "black" and "negro".)  The entire show is available as a streaming video.  (I've only recently discovered my tv gets WGBH, so I'm sure some regular viewers are thinking, "What, Cheney, have you been living under a rock?!"  Until a year ago, I hadn't ever owned a tv, so, well, yes...)

The website includes past shows as video or audio podcasts, and scrolling through the archives, I see lots of programs I'll be looking at soon, because the topics and guest lists are of the sort that are rare on U.S. television: thoughtful conversations with artists and intellectuals.  A roundtable on black theatre in Boston.  Poets Elizabeth Alexander and Major Jackson.  The great dancer Bill T. Jones.  Anna Deavere Smith.  Sweet Honey in the Rock.  Patricia Williams.  Wole Soyinka.

And lots more.


  1. Searching the West Virginia pbs website gets no hits for "basic black."

  2. Greetings from WGBH in Boston!

    We are thrilled that you have found Basic Black on your TV schedule, and enjoyed what you saw. Basic Black (formerly Say Brother) has been around since 1968 and remains the longest-running program on public television focusing on the interests of people of color. I want to let you know that we have soft launched a new featuring Black Perspectives Now, the Say Brother Collection, Conversations from Studio B and more. Check it out when you have a minute.

    Also, a new season of Basic Black premieres on Thursday, October 22 at 7:30pm on WGBH 2/HD. The live half-hour panel discussions also stream simultaneously online (at, in concert with a live chat so you can join the conversation.

    Thanks for the blog post and for watching WGBH!

    Regina Daley
    Station Marketing & Promotion
    WGBH - Produced in Boston, shared with the world.


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