ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, a graduate of Winston-Salem University in North Carolina, is creating a new docuseries that will focus heavily on the history and importance of America’s HCBUs.
The show is being produced with director Elaine Oliver, the director and co-creator of OWN’s Black Love and a fourth generation HBCU graduate of Howard University.
Aptly named “Black Excellence,” the series is an extension of Smith’s advocacy for HBCUs and higher education, and will highlight a multitude of colleges and universities across the country and the influence these institutions have on everything from entertainment to politics to sports and business. This will be done through original interviews as well as historical footage. A release date has yet to be announced for the series.
Noteworthy HBCU alumni are set to make appearances in the documentary, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, and Senator Raphael Warnock, to name a few. The docuseries will also highlight the recent rise of multiple well-known Black celebrities who have donated to these colleges and universities.
Smith has been extremely vocal about the importance of HBCU values and beliefs and how they’ve led to his own success, as well as the success of students and other prominent Black figures.
“I grew up with infinite opportunities thanks to my parents’ and grandparents’ HBCU education, and there is nothing more deeply ingrained in me than the responsibility to celebrate and uplift the Black community,” Oliver said in an interview with Deadline.com. “It’s an honor to be able to tell this story and put into perspective HBCUs’ contributions to all of American life.”