NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BET debuts two new projects during Black History Month under its media-focused initiative “Content For Change,” “BET and CBS News Present: Boiling Point” and investigative documentary series “Disrupt & Dismantle” with award-winning journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist Soledad O’Brien.
Soledad O’Brien’s critically acclaimed 2011 series Black in America took a long, hard look at the challenges faced by Black people in our country. A decade later, the challenges continue to manifest in our everyday lives, and O’Brien is back to explore immediate action items that need to be accomplished to make a change NOW with the new BET original series “Disrupt & Dismantle.” Airing on the same night, “Boiling Point” will explore Black America’s longstanding struggle for racial justice and equality through CBS News’ archival content, original interviews and never-before-seen footage of dramatic flashpoints in history – including George Wallace’s Stand in the Schoolhouse Door, Bloody Sunday in Selma, the Attica Prison Uprising, L.A. Riots, Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the killing of George Floyd and beyond. Each event gripped the nation and motivated Black Americans to fight for change. “Boiling Point” and “Disrupt & Dismantle,” debut Sunday, February 21, starting at 8 PM ET/PT, with new installments airing every Sunday on BET and BET Her.
“Boiling Point” premieres Sunday, February 21 at 8 PM ET/PT
Have we come to a moment of reckoning, an overdue awakening on systemic racism? Sparked by the horrific death of George Floyd, protesters took to the streets across the nation, demanding accountability and change in policing. Yet, the current movements against police brutality, voter suppression, segregated schools, environmental racism and mass incarceration unfortunately are not new. For decades, Black Americans have been fighting for America to live up to its ideals. This six-part series, “Boiling Point,” will explore these powerful through lines that bridge our country’s past and present with each episode exploring dramatic flashpoints in American history – George Wallace’s Stand in the Schoolhouse Door, Bloody Sunday in Selma, the Attica Prison Uprising, L.A. Riots, Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the killing of George Floyd. These events set the stage for the current civil rights battles of today.
Through the use of original interviews and compelling archival footage, “Boiling Point” will show how far Black Americans have come and the battle lines that remain today, while acknowledging the brave everyday American heroes, past and present who have fought for progress. Each hour-long episode will be driven by never-before-seen footage drawn from the unparalleled CBS News archives. Along this journey, the viewer will also witness the evolution of television journalism in covering civil rights stories, including the rise of the evening news, the dawn of the home movie/caught-on-tape era and finally, the cellphone camera/social media revolution. The special will feature first-person witnesses and participants, family, reporters on the scene, thought leaders, legislators and current activists including Andrew Young, journalist Wesley Lowery, Professor Hasan Kwame Jeffries, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, Professor Carol Anderson, Rev. Raymond Scott, Professor Ibram X. Kendi, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, Professor Jody Armour, Professor Marc Lamont Hill, activist LaTosha Brown, Professor Michael Eric Dyson, retired Lt. General Russel Honoré and others.
“BET and CBS News Present: Boiling Point,” will hyper-focus on the below six life-changing moments for Black Americans:
- L.A. Riots: The acquittal of four officers in the Rodney King beating trial that lit a firestorm of unrest and rang the alarm on a troubling history of excessive force by police (1992)
- Bloody Sunday: The assault on civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama that galvanized public opinion and mobilized Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act (1965)
- Attica: The violent inmate uprising that exposed a broken system of incarceration in America (1971)
- Hurricane Katrina: The natural disaster that sparked questions and a bitter uproar about how race and class may have influenced the government’s response to the crisis (2005)
- Stand in the Schoolhouse Door: The defiant attempt by Governor Wallace to stop Black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama that laid bare divisions over desegregation (1963)
- George Floyd: The terrible and tragic killing of George Floyd that sparked the largest wave of protests in American history, strengthening long-standing calls for greater police accountability and improving the relationship between police and the communities they serve.
“Boiling Point,” is executive produced by Jason Samuels for BET and Mitch Weitzner for CBS News.
“Disrupt & Dismantle,” premieres Sunday, February 21 at 9 PM ET/PT
“Disrupt & Dismantle” follows Soledad O’Brien as she tackles injustices across the nation affecting the Black community, from police brutality to redlining to school to prison pipeline, to the infant mortality crisis fueled by systemic racism, this timely new series will take an active and hard-edged approach to chopping away at the roots of racism. The series focuses on REAL people with REAL problems, looking for REAL action. Through gritty reportage and true vérité moments, as well as raw emotional interviews, and rarely seen archival photos and footage, this series will offer invaluable insights and truly bring viewers along on O’Brien’s journey. In each episode of “Disrupt & Dismantle,” O’Brien will identify an issue within a particular community, then she will go out into the field and investigate. She’ll immerse herself in the community, identify the problems and the problematic people, then speak truth to power. And, she’ll continue to stir the pot until she not only gets the critical answers but also finds action items that the audience can look to put into motion in their own communities. In addition to extensive on the field interviews with O’Brien, the program features insights from activists, journalists, politicians and thought leaders.
In the first episode focusing on “Shingle Mountain” viewers will travel to Dallas, Texas where O’Brien meets a grandmother who’s fighting to get a mountain of toxic shingles removed from the lot behind her house. In the process, she uncovers a widespread yet rarely-talked-about problem in Dallas, Texas: environmental racism. O’Brien investigates the city’s “Southern Sector,” where redlining and discriminatory zoning has segregated black and brown people and negligently subjected them to be poisoned by heavy industry. What’s the fight about? Getting the city to finally remove Shingle Mountain and re-zone the lot so the industry never returns. Interviews include Former Dallas Morning News Investigative Reporter Robert Wilonsky, who broke the Shingle Mountain story, Particulate Matter Scientist Dr. Tate Barrett, President of Inclusive Communities Project Demetria McCain, Former Joppa Representative Council Kevin Felder, Executive Director of Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Jerry Hawkins Dr. Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes III, Councilman Tennell Atkins, Environmental Activist Temeckia Derrough, Temeckia's son Roderick Randolph, Temeckia's son Leo Derrough, Former Blue Star Recycling Owner Chris Ganter, Downwinder's At Risk Evelyn Mayo, Marsha Jackson, Marsha's Daughter LaKeisha Jackson and Marsha's Granddaughter Kourtnie Holmes.
“Disrupt & Dismantle,” is Executive Produced by Soledad O’Brien and Jo Honig for Soledad O’Brien Productions and Randy Ferrell.
Launched in June 2020 by BET, the social impact initiative “Content For Change,” addresses issues of systemic racism and inequities in America, including racial justice, economic empowerment, education, health, and civic participation witch content across our platforms.
For more information on the new original “Content For Change” series, go to www.bet.com and follow us @bet across all social platforms and use the official hashtags #BoilingPointBET and #DisruptAndDismantle to engage in this timely discussion.
O’Brien is represented by ICM Partners, manger Eric Ortner of The Ortner Group and attorney, Ethan J. Cohan from the firm of Del Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.
BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in 125 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.
About Soledad O’Brien
Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, speaker, author and philanthropist who anchors and produces the Hearst Television political magazine program “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien.” O’Brien, founder and CEO of Soledad O’Brien Productions, also reports for HBO Real Sports, the PBS NewsHour, WebMD and has authored two books. She has appeared on networks, Fox and Oxygen and anchored and reported for NBC, MSNBC and CNN. She has won numerous awards, including three Emmys, the George Peabody award, an Alfred I DuPont prize and the Gracie. Newsweek Magazine named her one of the “15 People Who Make America Great.” With her husband, she is founder of the PowHERful Foundation that helps young women get to and through college. Follow her on Twitter: @soledadobrien