Coming Soon: A Short Film About Bessie Coleman, the First African American Female Pilot

Jul 14, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The history of aviation is full of individual risk-takers, many of them — like the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh and Howard Hughes — names you know. Lesser known but even more of a game-changer was Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to obtain her pilot’s license.

Repeatedly denied admission to American aviation schools because of her color, the Texas native had to move to France in order to achieve her dream of becoming a pilot. In the age of the Hollywood biopic, her story seems ripe for telling, yet Coleman has somehow managed to fly under the radar. Now, Sweet Blackberry, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching kids about little known stories in African American history, is hoping to change that.

The organization recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 to produce The Bessie Coleman Story, a 20-minute animated short that will be illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and narrated by Laurence Fishburne.

“I’ve wanted to tell her story for a long time, but was reluctant as there’s probably more on her than the other stories we’ve told so far,” Karyn Parsons, Sweet Blackberry’s founder and president — who you probably know as Hilary Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — told Cool Hunting of the project. “Still, I couldn’t believe how many people hadn’t heard of her.”

The proposed film is Sweet Blackberry’s fourth short; its previous award-winning efforts — which have been narrated by Chris Rock, Alfre Woodard and Queen Latifah — have been distributed to schools and libraries all around the world and are currently streaming on Netflix. According to the project’s Kickstarter page, “Bessie Coleman’s story shows children that despite what odds may be stacked against them, they can be anything. Bessie broke a glass ceiling in the United States that limited individuals wanting to be a pilot to one race and gender. It is our duty at Sweet Blackberry to share her story with the world.”

Parsons has called on her old TV family to offer up some fun perks, including an afternoon with Hilary and Ashley Banks, lunch with Will Smith, a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air watch party with the cast and a personal voicemail message courtesy of Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro). There’s still time for you to pledge and show your support for the project on Kickstarter — as of this writing, they’ve raised $53,431 of the $50,000 goal. Way to go! Check out the video below for a closer look.

H/T: Cool Hunting

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.