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New York, USA, Jan. 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- "How it Feels to be Free", has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Documentary (Television).

The film was directed by Yoruba Richen, Executive Produced by Alicia Keys, Lacey Delgado Schwartz, Mehret Mandefro, Elizabeth Trojian and Elliott Halpern of Yap Films, and American Masters series Executive Producer Michael Kantor. It was also nominated for an Emmy ® in 2021 as the representative program for American Masters in the category for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.

"How it Feels to be Free" tells the story of six trailblazing Black performers ? Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier ? who changed American culture through their work in film, fashion, music, politics and the enduring legacies they have created. 

Yap Films shared their responses to being recognized for the prestigious NAACP Image Award: "It's very exciting to be acknowledged by the NAACP," says Associate Producer Lola Waheed. "It's special because the stories of the incredible Black women in the film are so interwoven with the work and history of the NAACP. I'm so proud to be part of telling these women's stories ? many of which were untold until now ? and to be recognized for such an important award."

"Making this film with incredibly talented women like Alicia Keys, Yoruba Richen, Mehret Mandefro and Lacey Schwartz Delgado has been a true honor," says producer Elizabeth Trojian. "How it Feels to be Free is a film about six brave African American women and demonstrates the power and importance of Black women artists, both behind and in front of the camera."

"I'm honored that the NAACP Image Awards has recognized How it Feels to be Free," said director Yoruba Richen, "The mission of the Image Awards is what the film is about, and making it was a labor of love and joy for me and my incredible team. The stories of these six incredible trailblazers are so relevant  today as we continue  the struggle for more diverse representation on stage and screen." 

"This film is the pre-history to the challenges of representation in our industry." Executive Producers Mehret Mandefro and Lacey Schwartz Delgado said,"We stand on these women's shoulders and are so grateful for the trails they blazed."

Executive Producer Alicia Keys said, "I am proud to be a part of such a meaningful, important project. Art is the most powerful medium on the planet, and I continue to be inspired by and learn from these powerful, brave and stereotype-shattering women who leveraged their success as artists to fearlessly stand up against racism, sexism, exclusion and harassment. I honor their courage by celebrating their stories and continuing the work they started."

The 53rd NAACP Image Awards will be televised on February 26, 2022 at 8 pm EST on BET.


Yap Films

Founded by Elliott Halpern and the late Pauline Duffy in 2002, Yap Films is a highly respected independent production company specializing in entertaining, original and high-profile documentary specials and factual series on a wide range of subjects for television networks and streaming platforms in North America and internationally.

How It Feels to Be Free

How It Feels to Be Free is produced by Yap Films in association with American Masters Pictures, ITVS, Fremantle Media, CBC and Chicken & Egg Pictures. Investment Support provided by Rogers Cable Network Fund. Production Support provided by Black Public Media.

American Masters

Now in its 36th season on PBS, American Masters illuminates the lives and creative journeys of our nation's most enduring artistic giants?those who have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape?through compelling, unvarnished stories. Setting the standard for documentary film profiles, the series has earned 28 Primetime Emmy Awards ? including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special ? two News & Documentary Emmys, 14 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of more than 270 masters past and present, the American Masters website offers full episodes, film outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters: Creative Spark podcast, educational resources, digital original series and more. The series is a production of The WNET Group.

NAACP Image Awards

Recognized as the nation's preeminent multicultural awards show from an African American perspective, the "53rd NAACP Image Awards," presented by Wells Fargo and sponsored by FedEx, will celebrate the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color across more than 80 competitive categories spanning film, television and streaming, music, literature, and podcasts. The "53rd NAACP Image Awards" will include four new podcast categories:  Outstanding News and Information Podcast; Outstanding Lifestyle / Self-Help Podcast; Outstanding Society and Culture Podcast; and Outstanding Arts and Entertainment Podcast. 

Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the USA. The NAACP has over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. The mission of the NAACP is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.


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