WHYY Celebrates Black Excellence

From films on renowned visionaries to stories of exceptional, everyday people, WHYY celebrates those who have and continue to shape our Country.

Great Performances: Much Ado About Nothing

Sunday, May 17 at 2 PM

For the first time in over four decades, THIRTEEN’s Great Performances series presents a Public Theater production recorded live at Free Shakespeare in the Park. Set in contemporary Georgia with an election race underway, Great Performances: Much Ado About Nothing finds the community of Messina celebrating a break from an ongoing war, but not all is peaceful amid the merriment. Former rivals battle it out, revenge is sought and trickery runs amok in this timeless comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication. Earning a New York Times Critic’s Pick, the play was recorded during its final weekend of Free Shakespeare in the Park performances, June 22-23, 2019.


Sammy Davis, Jr.: American Masters

Friday, May 22 at 9PM

Explore the entertainer’s vast talent and journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America. Features Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and clips from his TV, film and concert performances.

Basquiat: American Masters

Sunday, May 24 at 11PM

One of the most influential American artists of the 20th century, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a rock star of the early ’80s New York art scene. He lived fast, died young and created thousands of drawings and paintings. It took less than a decade for Basquiat, an accountant’s son from Brooklyn, to go from anonymous graffiti writer known as SAMO© to an epoch-defining art star. Today, Basquiat is in the top tier of the international art market along with Picasso, de Kooning, and Francis Bacon. 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of Basquiat’s untimely death from a heroin overdose. In death, he has emerged as one of the most important artists of his generation and now exhibits in museums all over the world.

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