“Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered.”— TA-NEHISI COATES
AspireTV, the network that celebrates and reflects Black culture and urban lifestyle, recently announced that the short film Endangered is set to premiere Saturday, July 25 at 7 p.m. ET, and will be available across all platforms (www.aspire.tv, facebook.com/AspireTV, @TVaspire on Twitter and @TVaspire on Instagram) following the linear premiere. Endangered (#EndangeredFilm) features an expecting couple, Chanel (Bianca Bethune, Bad Boys for Life and Switched at Birth) and Malik (radio personality Abdul Quddus), on their way to their “Gender Reveal” party. It showcases the excitement of the expecting parents and their fears for the challenges their Black son or daughter may encounter.
Immediately following the film’s premiere, the writer of Endangered, Nakia Stephens of Damn Write Originals, will host a LIVE Q&A across AspireTV’s social pages. She will discuss her vision for the film, her journey as a filmmaker and share advice for rising filmmakers, as well as answer questions from the audience. Select cast members will also join the Q&A to discuss their roles and the importance of this film.
“Through AspireTV’s partnership with Damn Write Originals, and our dedication to telling authentic, untold experiences, there has never been a more important time to portray the non-flinching realities of Black life and the Black family,” said Tina Rodriguez, senior director, programming & acquisitions, AspireTV. “As racism and prejudice are being challenged in the streets and halls of power, the humanity of Black families remains a core tenet to Aspire in showing the mixed joy and fear that occurs from the moment a Black child is born; and the amount of familial devotion and desired protection for their child.”
“I really wanted this film to personify the quote Ta-Nehisi Coates references in his book Between the World and Me,”said the film’s writer Nakia Stephens of Damn Write Originals. “He wrote, ‘Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered.’ Unfortunately this feeling of fear is a familiar one. I didn’t write this film in response to the current climate because it’s nothing new for Black parents. I wrote this a while ago, but it’s still very relevant. A time that should be filled with pure joy is riddled by fear. I hope Endangered informs viewers of all races just how much work still needs to be done.”
Endangered is the fourth film AspireTV has partnered with screenwriter and filmmaker Nakia Stephens and her screenwriting label Damn Write Originals (“DWO”) on. Previous titles include Tre, The Ride and Dreaming of a Black Christmas. AspireTV announced last year that the network had commissioned short film content from Stephens and DWO as part of their commitment to be a platform for fresh faces and new voices. Endangered will be repeating throughout the AspireTV schedule, including the July 28 finale of Urban Indie Film Block. The programming block showcases the best of urban short films by tomorrow’s next great filmmakers and includes films that depict love stories, romantic comedies, dramas, action and sci-fi. McDonald’s has been a multi-year supporter of AspireTV’s Urban Indie Films and this year is sponsoring these Damn Write Original films including Endangered.
“We are proud to continue our support of AspireTV’s Urban Indie Films,” said Elizabeth Campbell, senior director of cultural engagement, McDonald’s USA. “AspireTV is telling stories that reflect Black culture in inspiring and authentic ways, which underscores our mission to uplift and give a voice to the Black community. We remain committed to being in and of the community, and are honored to demonstrate this through our partnership with AspireTV, and more.”
Endangered stars Bianca Bethune (Chanel), Abdul Quddus (Malik), Rita Rucker (Nicole), Carol Meredith (Mama June), Shadow Barrington (baby), Amiyah Hersey (young girl), Legend Quddus (young boy), Giana Deronvil (teen girl) and Jayden Thompson (teen boy). The film was written by Nakia Stephens, produced by Shanay J. Campbell and directed by Kiana Woodson.