Juneteenth: What It Means & How it is Represented on Screen

June 27, 2022 An Eastern Diversity Steering Committee Discussion

On June 27, the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee meeting featured the online panel discussion, Juneteenth: What It Means and How it is Represented on Screen. In a conversation moderated by Director Rob Hardy (Power Book II: Ghost), Directors Anton Cropper spoke about his work on the NAACP Image Award-winning Black-ish episode “Juneteenth” and Dawn Wilkinson shared insights from her work on the Juneteenth set feature, Block Party. Illustrated by clips from these productions, the conversation explored the greater meaning behind the new American holiday and discussed how it should be portrayed in film and television.

After Hardy set the stage by giving his own personal definition of the meaning of the holi-day, he asked both Directors why it is important to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday and how they felt they could make an impact.

Answering the question if there was anything specific she wanted people to take away from Block Party as it relates to Juneteenth, Wilkinson responded, “We felt that with this context of it being an event the community is already celebrating and they’ve been celebrating for such a long time, we’re showing the joy in that community and the importance of community and the significance of the block party as a joyful community event. The community is already understanding Juneteenth and celebrating it.”

Noting that the series Black’ish is known for straddling the line between comedy and culturally relevant topics, Cropper addressed how he handled the added pressure of helming the episode. “We all understood that we were doing something special. We didn’t fully understand the total impact. From the onset of it, none of us took it lightly. I believe that you go all in and leave it all on the screen and that’s our job and our goal, but there was, for me, a different sense of responsibility.”

Anton CropperAnton Cropper
In addition to his work on the NAACP Image Award-winning Black-ish episode “Juneteenth” and other episodes of that series, Cropper’s directorial credits include the movie for television Libby and Malcolm; and multiple episodes of Long Slow Exhale, Mixed-ish, L.A.'s Finest, Suits, The Goldbergs, The Mentalist, White Collar, Chuck and Monk. He has been a DGA member since 1998.
Dawn WilkinsonDawn Wilkinson
In addition to her work on the Juneteenth set feature, Block Party, Wilkinson’s directorial credits include the movie for television A Nashville Christmas Carol; and multiple episodes of Step Up: High Water, All American, Empire, Locke & Key, Riverdale, Nashville, Kim’s Convenience, Make It Pop, Heartland, Degrassi: The Next Generation and Odd Squad. She has been a DGA member since 2016.
Rob HardyRob Hardy (Moderator)
Hardy’s directorial credits include the features Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming, The Gospel, Pandora's Box, Trois and Chocolate City; the pilots for the series All American and The Quad; and multiple episodes of the series How to Get Away with Murder, The Flash, The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Criminal Minds, Bones, The Game, Single Ladies, Heroes: The Recruit, Power and its spin-offs, Power Book II: Ghost and Power Book III: Raising Kanan. Hardy has been a DGA member since 2007.

About the Committee:

The Eastern Diversity Steering Committee represents the concerns of Guild members of African, Asian, Native American, Arab-Middle Eastern or Latino descent residing in the East. Committed to improving the employment opportunities, working conditions and the skills of ethnically diverse Guild members, the Committee sponsors workshops, seminars, round-table discussions and networking events to showcase the talents of its members, recognize their contributions and increase their visibility in the industry. The Committee’s current Co-Chairs are UPM Canella Williams-Larrabee, Second AD Sussan Cordero and Stage Manager April Smith.

See video from this event in the gallery below.

Pictures & Video

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