11 reasons to celebrate black history every day

  • Justin Simien is the director of the Sundance award-winning film, “Dear White People.” “I live by the maxim that I took from Stanley Kubrick which is that, it is important that stories be daring and sincere,” he said. 
Read his full story, here. 
Watch the interview, here. 
  • Amma Asante is the director of “Belle.” “I’m most proud that I sustained rejection and that I reached beyond it,” she said. “And, despite the fact that it took 10 years to make my second film after becoming the first black woman in the UK to win a British Academy Award for directing, I persevered and I continued so I could make ‘Belle.‘ “ 
Read her full story, here. 
  • Stanley Nelson is a three-time Emmy winning director and producer who was a MacArthur “Genius,” and a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. “As a filmmaker, the civil rights period is one where there’s footage, music, and it’s just old enough to look cool visually, than if you are doing a film about the ’90s,” he said.  
Read his full story, here. 
  • Lyric R. Cabral is the co-director of “(T)error”. “I went to pretty much all white private schools my whole life, so Black History Month was my time to shine, I was ready … demonstrations and book reports,” she said. 
Read her full story, here. 
Watch her interview on “Changing America”, here. 
  • Yoruba Richen is the award-winning director behind the film “The New Black.” My mom [Aishah Rahman] was a playwright, so I grew up with some of my earliest memories of her typing on the typewriter,” she said. “She was very interested in the mixture of art and politics.”
Read her full story, here. 
  • Dawn Porter is an Emmy nominated director and producer. “My father [David Porter] was one of the few black photographers in New York City in the ‘70’s,” she said. “He died when I was 12, but being in that photography scene was really instrumental in shaping my creative life.” 
Read her full story, here.
Watch her interview, here. 
  • Joey Bada$$ is a rapper from Brooklyn, New York. “All the year is black history,” he said. “All life is black history. Black history eternity, that’s how I feel. I’m always black history.”
Read his full story, here. 
Watch his interview, here. 
  • Jean Grae is a pioneering hip-hop artist, comedian, and actor. “I’m a huge sucker for chord progressions and rhythmic changes that don’t fall into what the norm is,” she said. “So it’s always nice when you see an artist and you’re like you oh ok, yeah “I can f–king do what I want and it will be great.”
Read her full story, here.
Watch her interview, here. 
 
  • Rapsody is a prolific rapper from North Carolina. “I want to inspire little girls, especially little black girls,” she said.
Read her full story, here. 
  • Michael Uzowuru is a music producer from California. “Right now they are teaching my little brothers about George Washington Carver,” he said. “How many times can you teach someone about George Washington Carver?”
Read his full story, here. 
  • Noname Gypsy is a rising rapper from Chicago. “My early memories of music was listening to Buddy Guy, Holland Wolf,” she said. “It’s not like Tupac like a lot of young people.”
Read her full story, here. 

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Msnbc celebrated black history by interviewing eleven game-changing musicians and film directors throughout February. The series highlighted artists from hip-hop pioneer Jean Grae to the British director and writer, Amma Asante, behind the film “Belle,” who wants her “existence to be a reminder to young women of color out there that it is possible.”

Related: Celebrating black history: Music and movie syllabus

msnbc learned about the family history of some of the artists, like Lyric R. Cabral who can trace her history back to her “great-great grandmother, from North Carolina, whose family had been slaves.”

Watch: New documentary shows inner-workings of counter-terrorism sting

The interviews also touched on their creative process, upcoming projects, and poignant news topics from the Oscar “snub” of “Selma,” among the film directors, to the hip-hop feud between Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea, among the rappers.

“Bradford Young, who was the cinematographer in ‘Selma,’ is probably one of the preeminent cinematographers in America working today,” Dawn Porter said. “And yet, I didn’t see any nominations for him. It’s clear that the people who make up the voting body in the Oscars are not seeing what the rest of us are seeing.”

Watch: How ‘Dear White People’ director would rewrite history

These creators also shared their favorite films and songs, what they would say to President Obama, and how they would rewrite history. Both Justin Simien and Yoruba Richen mentioned Bob Fosse’s ”All that Jazz” as one of the films they’d play on repeat. Jean Grae shared that she’d want to have a good conversation with President Obama preferably with “really good bourbon.” 

While “Black History Month” is limited to February, Joey Bada$$ affirmed that black history is a life-long celebration. “All the year is black history,” he said. “All life is black history.”

Click through the photo gallery to see all of the interviews. 

Watch: Joey Bada$$ on Malia Obama rumor as career highlight

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