Karyn Parsons—best known for her role on the beloved ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—is using her platform for social good. After walking away from the television industry, Parsons stepped into the nonprofit space and founded Sweet Blackberry: an organization that tells the untold stories of African-American cultural figures through animation for kids, Forbes reported.
Since its inception in 2005, she’s produced short animated films that highlight the legacy of former slave Henry “Box” Brown, ballet dancer Janet Collins and inventor Garrett Morgan. Parsons was inspired to start the organization after she had children and discovered the huge void in films for kids centered on African-American culture. She decided to take matters into her own hands.
“The mission is to bring little-known stories of African-American history to children. We create short, animated films with a single narrator and the way that they’re animated makes it more like a picture book that comes to life,” Parsons told Forbes. “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. For children of color, they offer something really great and fortifying. We don’t have enough of that.”
The films are narrated by Black entertainers that include Chris Rock, Queen Latifah, and Alfre Woodard. The next film will be centered on Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to earn a pilot’s license.
There are several platforms that have been created to ensure that Black children feel represented in the content that they consume. Last year a 17-year-old Memphis-based entrepreneur created a monthly subscription box that features books that are written by Black authors and have African-American protagonists to promote reading among Black children.