Portrayal and Perception: African American Men & Boys

The multiple-part series explores how the media portrays African American males and how society views them as a result. The episodes also report on people and organizations working to spotlight positive rather than negative images.

Funding for Portrayal & Perception is made possible by

The Heinz Endowments

Watch Full Episodes

Pitch Perfect

Episode 1 aired February 28, 2012

In this episode, Minette Seate profiles leaders and members of Pittsburgh's Afro American Music Institute, which goes beyond teaching music to foster a culture of pride and community responsibility.

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Owning It

Episode 2 aired March 19, 2012

In this episode, Michael Bartley shows how local African American entrepreneurs, often overlooked by commercial media, are not only experiencing financial success, they are inspiring future business leaders.

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Game Changers

Episode 3 aired April 17, 2012

In this episode, Chris Moore reveals how One Hood Media combats negative images by urging young men to define themselves using available media, rather than allowing others to do it for them.

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Teaching Success

Episode 4 aired October 25, 2012

How do you teach an African American boy to become a leader? In "Teaching Success," we'll take three different on ramps to the road to success: a program for young entrepreneurs and one of its star pupils; the commitment of African American educators at Pittsburgh's Manchester K-8 school on the North Side; and, the Black Male Leadership Development Institute, a seven-day leadership training collaboration between Robert Morris University and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.

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Portrayal and Perception: A Community Forum

Episode 5 aired October 25, 2012

WQED's Chris Moore hosts this gathering of citizens, community leaders and the media for a one-hour live discussion. Guests are: Heath Bailey, Principal of Sto-Rox High School, Dr. Rex Crawley, Robert Morris Black Male Leadership Development initiative, Kevin Carter, CEO Adonai Center for Black Males, Esther Bush, Pres. & CEO of the Urban League, Dr. Darius D. Prier, Duquesne University School of Education; Educational Foundations & Leadership.

Media Men

Episode 6 aired February 25, 2013

This episode continues a series that reports on African American men and boys in positive and mentoring roles. “Media Men” focuses on communications careers. Featured profiles include Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman, WQED/PCNC/KDKA Radio host Chris Moore, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review photographer Sidney Davis, and social media networker Alex Simmons.

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Journey to Medicine

Episode 7 aired March 18, 2013

This episode continues a series that reports on African American men and boys in positive and mentoring roles. "Journey to Medicine" follows middle school students, medical school students and seasoned professional physicians as they pursue careers in medicine.

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Episode 8 aired May 13, 2013

After the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, the torch has been passed to a new generation of leadership in the African American community in Pittsburgh. You could call them "The New Trailblazers." Reporter Harold Hayes explores the careers of attorney Blaine Jones and PA Rep. Ed Gainey. The program shows how they are making their mark in law and politics, while offering perspective from those who once walked in their shoes. 

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Getting Schooled

Episode 9 aired November 14, 2013

This episode focuses on efforts to attract more African American men into the teaching community, including non-traditional teachers who use methods outside the classroom to produce better social behavior among African American males.

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Portrayal and Perception: A Community Forum

Episode 10 aired November 14, 2013

Fine Arts and Artists

Episode 11 aired April 17, 2014

The next episode of Portrayal and Perception: African American Men and Boys, looks at men who have made a career in the fine arts. The program profiles a classical musician, painter, playwright, ballet dancer, poet and arts educator—and explores some of the obstacles and accomplishments of each in his chosen field.

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Already Doing It

Episode 12 aired November 20, 2014

Young African American men - as a whole - score below their counterparts in other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to graduation rates, literacy rates and college preparedness. Yet sometimes it is the success story that inspires other young people, and encourages community leaders to keep working for change. The tenth documentary in the "Portrayal & Perception" series showcasing positive role models among African American males focuses on teenagers excelling in school, volunteering as mentors and working hard to make a difference among their peers.

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The Next Generation

Episode 13 aired May 28, 2015

Though statistics and attitudes may show a slight narrowing of America’s racial divide, the highly-charged racial incidents in Missouri, New York and South Carolina tell another story. In the culmination of our three-year initiative, we talk not only with community and law enforcement leaders, but with the generation of young men whose lives are most affected – examining accomplishments and objectives that remain.


A Conversation on The Next Generation

Episode 14 aired May 28, 2015

Host Chris Moore and a group of local experts gather for a conversation about the current issues facing African American males from a societal and legal perspective.



BMe Community is an award-winning network of community-builders known for defining people by their positive contributions to society and enlisting incredible black men who inspire us to be Better Together.