Color Farm Media Partners With HBCUs to Hold National Reparations Debates

The entertainment and social impact company is the team behind the PBS documentary “The Big Payback”

Erika Alexander, Whitney Dow and Ben Arnon (Beck Media and Marketing)
Erika Alexander, Whitney Dow and Ben Arnon (Beck Media and Marketing)

In partnership with historically Black colleges and universities, Color Farm Media — the team behind the PBS documentary “The Big Payback” — is bringing the conversation around reparations for Black Americans to the forefront, through a series of student-led debates. 

With inspiration from the 1965 James Baldwin-William Buckley debate, Color Farm Media and 10 HBCUs will hold a series of National Reparations Debates, which will be hosted at HBCUs and will branch off to include debates at other universities in the U.S. As part of the debates, student scholars will share their opinions on topics centered on restitutions for Black Americans who have been directly impacted by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as descendants of enslaved Africans. 

The initiative will kick off with its first debate on Monday, Jan. 30 at Bennett College in Greensboro, NC at 1:00 p.m ET. “Living Single” actress Erika Alexander; pastor and social activist, Rev. Williams Barber and MSNBC’s Joy Reid will serve as coaches for the debate. 

The debate events comes as an extension of PBS’ documentary “The Big Payback,” co-directed by Alexander and filmmaker Whitney Dow. “The Big Payback” follows Illinois Alderwoman Robin Rue Simmons as she educates and leads her local community on a journey to obtain reparations. The documentary premiered on “Independent Lens” on PBS on Jan. 16 and is and is currently streaming on the PBS app. Color Farm Media was co-founded by Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon. 

“We came together to make this film out of a shared goal to help shine a spotlight on the topic of reparations and on the visionaries and leaders at the forefront of this movement,” said Alexander and Dow. “We are honored to partner with Bennett College and other HBCUs to continue this conversation around reparations, especially as the film is available to stream now via PBS and Independent Lens. We hope that through these debates and free access to the film across the country, Americans are more educated on the topic and engage in a broader push for reparations on both a local and national level.

The colleges slated to participate in the series include Bennett College, Shaw University, St. Augustine’s University, Johnson C. Smith University, Fayetteville State University, Livingstone College, North Carolina A&T State University, Elizabeth City State University, Winston-Salem State University and North Carolina Central University.