Karyn Parsons, From ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air,’ Founded A Non-Profit That Creates Animated Children’s Films
We all know her as Hilary Banks, the self-centered, bourgeois daughter of Judge Phillip Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. In real life, Karyn Parsons is the polar opposite of her TV persona. Since The Fresh Prince of Bel Air ended, Parsons has been dedicated to using her acting experience to create animated children’s films. After becoming a mother, she’d search for child-friendly movies that would educate her daughter about her culture, but those type of films were rare. In 2005, she took matters into her own hands and founded Sweet Blackberry, a nonprofit that creates animated, short films for children about black pioneers.
The Journey of Henry ‘Box’ Brown, Garrett’s Gift about inventor Garret Morgan and Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story. Parsons called on Alfre Woodard, Queen Latifah and Chris Rock to narrate these animated films.
“It’s important to shed the light on people that we don’t hear about; there are so many stories that are so inspiring and offer so much to all children,” Parsons told Forbes. “For children of color, they offer something really great and fortifying. We don’t have enough of that.”
Her fourth film, The Bessie Coleman Story about the first black woman to get her pilot’s license, is set to be released this month.