HBO Max Highlights Black Talent In Sizzle Reel For Black History Month

For Black History Month some networks will scramble – or have scrambled in the past – to produce programming for what they might call the “urban audience” segment, which is a euphemism for black in some circles.

HBO Max’s Black History Month strategy, however, is to remind us all that they celebrate Black History 365 days a year. This is evident with the release of a new 30-second sizzle reel showcasing the network’s top black talent. You can view the reel here:

Steve Toussaint, showcased in the video, portrays Corlys Velaryon in House of the Dragon. Lizzo takes the stage in a much-beloved concert look. Jerrod Carmichael earns a second and third look after his much-talked-about performance on the Golden Globes stage.

“We’re excited to be kicking off Black History Month with the theme of Celebrating black stories Today and every day,” says Jackie Gagne, senior vice president of multicultural marketing for Warner Bros. Discover. “As the theme implies, this year- and all year round – HBO Max is committed to curating a space to amplify and celebrate Black talent in front of and behind the camera.”

BHM programming and press releases can often be fraught, but with the right team in place the messaging can help rather than harm. There is nothing wrong – and everything right – with reminding the public that a diversity of talent can be found on your network. To be sure, there can always be more budget and more opportunities afforded to black directors and show runners, but HBO has shown the ability to provide opportunity all year long and not just for the month of February.

In particular I’m curious to learn more about HBO’s optioned film about the first black Wall Street millionaire, tentatively called The Other Hamilton. And they are the current home for all episodes of the ever-popular Abbott Elementary and home to the mystique of Myha’la Herrold in cult fav Industry. I’m also partial to anything surrounding The Gilded Age, including this extras short that discusses the black elite in New York during that time period, illustrated by the Scott family in the show.