WGVU airs TV/web series, ‘Shaping Narratives’

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Shaping Narratives

A local PBS affiliate has aired a new TV and web series designed to empower people of color to tell their own stories.

After two years of preparation and filming, PBS member station WGVU aired the first season of “Shaping Narratives,” 6 p.m. Tuesdays from Jan. 7 to Feb. 4.

The episodes are all available for viewing at WGVU’s website.

Hosted by Mariano Avila, executive producer, and Sherisse Szymczak, media and performance coach, the show is sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and was created to help WGVU “strengthen its mission and commitment to inclusion and equity,” said Michael Walenta, WGVU general manager.

During the final episode on Feb. 4, called “Shaping Narratives: Behind the Scenes,” Avila and Szymczak discussed the first season, including how the show came to be.

“We took community leaders of color and gave them the training so they could create their own TV shows and control their own narrative,” Avila said.

Hosts and producers for season one come from a diverse array of backgrounds and shared their individual and cultural perspectives on food, agriculture, faith, the outdoors and ethnic identities:

George Walker III — sommelier, wine seller at I-lixir and host of Graped Out, a mobile tasting events business — hosted “Cultural Ingredients,” which aired Jan. 7.

Lin Thomas — a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians who has taught Native children, served on tribal council and been a water protector at Standing Rock — hosted “Ngiiwe,” which aired Jan. 14.

Rishi Singh — small business owner and practicing member of the Sikh faith — hosted “Meeting God,” which aired Jan. 21.

Alice Lyn (Jasper) — Good for Michigan program manager — hosted “Color Out Here,” filmed at the historic African American resort community, Idlewild, which aired Jan. 28.

Christine Mwangi — who is originally from Nairobi, Kenya, and is currently branch executive director for the Visser Family YMCA in Grandville — hosted a podcast called “The Black Honest Truth,” which also will be available at WGVU’s website.

An episode of “Shaping Narratives,” titled “Meeting God,” explores the commonalities of Sikhism and Native American spirituality. Photo via Facebook.com

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