WTIU-Bloomington LINCS Partnership: BLACKING UP

Posted on December 11, 2009

Linking Independents and Co-Producing Stations (LINCS) provides matching funds (up to $100,000) to partnerships between public television stations and independent producers. To apply for LINCS funds, independents must first approach a public television station and establish a partnership.

Learn more about a recent LINCS partnership with WTIU-Bloomington, IN and the film BLACKING UP: Hip-Hop's Remix of Race and Identity, which explores the tension between white racial identity and black cultural propriety at a time when hip-hop is redefining American life. Brent Molnar, program manager at WTIU, shares his thoughts about the film, which airs in December on public television.

As a Program Manager of a local PBS station, I was brought into the BLACKING UP project to assist the producer, Robert Clift, in creating a more conservative version of his original documentary, and to make recommendations for editing strong language and specific content that public television viewers might find objectionable. Initially, I thought my role with the documentary was to be fairly nuts and bolts – bleep this, pull that out, say this in a different way, etc. What I didn’t expect, however, was the amount of historical content and the broad range of perspectives BLACKING UP contained. As a society, I think we sometimes gloss over the human experience, and may even begin to pocket people into different categories, just to be able to deal with everything that comes at us in a given day. When this happens, I think we lose part of the richness and depth that our culture really possesses. This can lead to us not only missing out on opportunities to understand one another, but to understand ourselves as well.

What BLACKING UP did for me was to bring into focus broader questions surrounding racial identity and authenticity. It added to the appreciation I have for my friends of different races, and it even changed the way I understand the white teenagers who shuffle through downtown with their jeans nearly falling off their waists. And so began many conversations with the project’s producer about how the doc’s central message could be communicated without including content which might be considered gratuitous. At its core BLACKING UP really delves into racial identity and authenticity in a way that can not only help us to better understand the perspective of others, but also to better understand our own experience. 

-Brent Molnar Program Manager, WTIU-Bloomington, IN


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