Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys Instagram

Alicia Keys is executive producing a new documentary for PBS entitled American Masters: How It Feels To Be Free about six influential black female entertainers.


American Masters: How It Feels To Be Free follows the stories of music legends Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier and how they challenged the race and gender norms of the music industry throughout their extensive careers.

The documentary will feature archival performances and interviews with the performers and family members, as well as current stars who have been influenced by these six ladies, among them Halle Berry, Lena Waithe, and Samuel L. Jackson.

The documentary will be part of PBS's award winning series American Masters and is based on the book How It Feels To Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement by Ruth Feldstein.

In a statement, director Yoruba Richen spoke about the timeliness of the doc saying:

"At this unprecedented time of racial reckoning and as Hollywood is reassessing its role in perpetuating racist stereotypes, now is the perfect moment to tell the stories of these path-breaking women who have inspired generations of Black female superstars—like Keys, Halle Berry, Issa Rae, Ava DuVernay and Lena Waithe—who continue to push boundaries and reshape how African American women are seen onscreen."

Keys also spoke about her involvement in the documentary, sharing:

"I am proud to be a part of such a meaningful, important project. Art is the most powerful medium on the planet, and I continue to be inspired by and learn from these powerful, brave and stereotype-shattering women who leveraged their success as artists to fearlessly stand up against racism, sexism, exclusion and harassment. I honor their courage by celebrating their stories and continuing the work they started."

American Masters: How It Feels To Be Free is set to premiere in early 2021 on PBS and the Documentary Channel in Canada.

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