ESPN Films’ critically acclaimed documentary short “Black Girls Play,” directed by award-winning filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michéle Stephenson (“American Promise,” “Going to Mars: the Nikki Giovanni Story”), will debut November 12 at 8:30p.m. ET on ESPN. Immediately after its premiere, the film will be available on ESPN+, along with the rest of the ESPN Films library. Trailer
There may be no journey more fascinating than the exploration of our roots. There may be nothing more revealing than the discovery of where we come from — our inspiration, our ideas, our culture. In the ESPN short film “Black Girls Play,” Stephenson and Brewster chronicle the origins of the hand games that have been played by young Black girls for generations, and their influence on music, dance, and community all across the American creative landscape.
Tracing the beginnings of the games all the way back to the slavery era, the film’s collection of illuminating voices — including musicians, music educators and ethnomusicologists — trace a fascinating cultural history that explains the significance of hand games, particularly in the evolution of popular music from jazz all the way to hip hop. The film also explores hand games’ influence on style and individualism everywhere from the playground to TikTok videos today. And it also questions why so much of the popular culture to come out of hand games has been dominated by men, when young girls were its original creators.
An enlightening, unexpected, and charming film, Black Girls Play will make you think differently the next time you hear a kid playing a hand game or chanting a playground rhyme — and recognize just how significant an art it has been across the American story.
Advance press screeners, additional information, including film clips, director statements, and interviews are available upon request.
About ESPN Films
ESPN Films has been an industry leader in documentary filmmaking since its inception in March 2008, producing more than 100 documentaries that have showcased some of the most compelling stories in sports. The high quality of storytelling, highlighted by the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series and the Academy-Award winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” has led to record viewership as well as multiple honors and critical acclaim. Additional projects from ESPN Films over the years have included 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX, SEC Storied and Emmy award-winning docu-series “The Last Dance.” ESPN+ is the exclusive home for the entire 30 for 30 library.