In Focus by Al Roker

Al Roker, America’s Most Beloved Weather Man, Is Gaining Ground

Prev Next Back to All Al Roker, America’s Most Beloved Weather Man, Is Gaining Ground September 6, 2023 There’s something about Al Roker that makes you feel like you know him, especially after his 33 years as an NBC anchor. And yet, there’s much more to him than just what he has accomplished in front of the camera. Apart from being America’s Sweetheart and favorite weatherman, Al Roker is a husband (married to the equally beloved Deborah Roberts), father, cancer survivor, author, and the founder of Al Roker Entertainment, an eye-opening and industry-transforming producer of original shows, movies and digital content. The programming his entertainment company creates and supports is educational, informative and furthers cultural awareness and conversation. Roker (who just turned 69 last month) was born and raised in New York City - and attended college at SUNY Oswego. He began his broadcasting career as a weather anchor in Syracuse, working in the industry for 15 years before his celebrated work on NBC’s Today show, where he has been since 1990. Over three plus decades in the public eye, Al Roker is more of a pillar than host as the most beloved weather anchor alive and is the “soul

‘Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn’ Highlighted at Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Fest

Prev Next Back to All ‘Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn’ Highlighted at Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Fest August 24, 2023 Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival is back next month for its 41st year. This year’s festival kicks off Sept. 21 and will have 54 programs, including 42 feature films and 12 short-film programs, according to a press release from Chicago Filmmakers, which produces Reeling and turns 50 this year. In addition to a slate of features, this year also has a slew of documentaries, including “Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn,” a film directed by Timothy Harris and produced by Al Roker Entertainment that tells the story of Malcolm Kenyatta, a Black gay man who grew up in North Philadelphia and makes a historic run for the U.S. Senate. Reeling will then run through Oct. 8 with subsequent screenings at Landmarks’ Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St., and the Chicago Filmmakers Firehouse Cinema, 1326 W. Hollywood Ave. Read the whole article at Block Club Chicago.

‘Gaining Ground’ Highlights Black farmers’ Efforts to Reclaim Lost Land

Prev Next Back to All ‘Gaining Ground’ Highlights Black farmers’ Efforts to Reclaim Lost Land July 23, 2023 In 1910, about 14 percent of U.S. farmers were black, owning more than 16 million acres. Now, according to the agriculture's latest farm census, only one in 100 farmers is black owning fewer than 5 million acres. By one estimate, that's a loss of land value of about $326 billion. A new documentary called "Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land" explores how this happened, its lasting effect on black families and their efforts now to reclaim their legacy and create generational wealth. Emmy nominated Eternal Polk wrote and directed the film and is one of the film's executive producers, along with the television personality Al Roker. How did this big drop in black farmers and black farmland ownership? How did this happen? Read the whole article at PBS.

Al Roker Announces Exciting Career News Outside of Today Show

Prev Next Back to All Al Roker Announces Exciting Career News Outside of Today Show July 3, 2023 TODAY host Al Roker has revealed he earned a major career accomplishment over the weekend. The 68-year-old meteorologist announced that a documentary from his entertainment company won a big award at the Essence Film Festival. On Monday, the TV personality shared a photo of a glass trophy for the honor his company Al Roker Entertainment’s documentary, Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land, took home.  Al excitedly captioned the Instagram post: “We won!” According to the film’s website, the documentary “examines the causes, effects, and solutions” to the issue of “Black ownership of farmland [dwindling] to alarmingly low numbers.” The project won the 2023 Jury Prize for a Feature Documentary at the Essence Film Festival in New Orleans.  Read the whole article at The Sun.

Black Farmers Have Lost Their Land At Alarming Rates. New Documentary Highlights Why And The Push For Preservation

Prev Next Back to All Black Farmers Have Lost Their Land At Alarming Rates. New Documentary Highlights Why And The Push For Preservation June 14, 2023 A new documentary about the legacy of Black farming in America is shedding light on the devastating impact of heirs’ property, which has been one of the largest contributors to land loss for Black people in America.Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land premieres at this year’s American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in Miami Beach on June 15. It delves into this unique issue and examines its immense impact on Black farmers.Heirs’ property is property that is passed down through family members by inheritance. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it’s done quite frequently without a will or proper estate planning, which has often led to issues later on because there is no clear proof of ownership by the family members who inherited it.This documentary, created by Al Roker Entertainment and Deere and Company in partnership with Emmy-nominated director Eternal Polk is meant to shine a spotlight on the “challenges Black farmers and landowners’ must navigate to preserve their land for future generations.”Read the whole article at Essence.

Al Roker’s Latest Project Examines Struggles of Black Farmers

Prev Next Back to All Al Roker’s Latest Project Examines Struggles of Black Farmers June 13, 2023 The morning-news veteran, through his Al Roker Entertainment production company, is releasing a new documentary underwritten by farming-equipment manufacturer Deere & Co. that examines the state of Black farming in the U.S. — and some of the struggles the farmers in question must often navigate.“Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land,” was created in partnership with director Eternal Polk, and looks at how landowners are working to reclaim agricultural rights. Many Black farmers often work land that has been passed down over generations via inheritance, but without a clear title, leaving the landholders unable in many instances to qualify for government assistance, equipment financing or agriculture programs. Many of them have lost their land over the years, marking a loss of generational wealth.Read the whole article at Variety,

Gaining Ground featured in American Black Film Festival

Prev Next Back to All Gaining Ground featured in American Black Film Festival June 12, 2023 “Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land” is a documentary that follows different Black landowners and farmers, expressing the highs and lows of Black land stewardship. This is not a film on the ills of industrial farming and capitalism but an invitation for Black people to gain capital and land sustainability. The film focuses on the implications around “Heir’s Law,” which, according to Cornell Law, is "a person who inherits, or has a right of inheritance in, the property of a person who has died intestate.” The law varies from state to state, but the general idea is applicable nationwide.Historical recollections are stated in detail regarding the status of Black land ownership. Although it is painful to hear repetitively in the media, understanding that the economic foundation of white people collapsed at the end of slavery and that sharecropping was the alternative to their extinction, is imperative to the wholeness of the American experience. Polk pulls no punches, and interviewees like Civil Rights Activist Shirley Sherrod illuminate how to win in opposition to American systems.Read the whole article at RogerEbert.com.

How Malcolm Kenyatta’s ‘Do Not Wait Your Turn’ Documentary Server As ‘A Love Story to Pennsylvania’

Prev Next Back to All How Malcolm Kenyatta’s ‘Do Not Wait Your Turn’ Documentary Server As ‘A Love Story to Pennsylvania’ April 11, 2023 History-making has become a signature for Malcolm Kenyatta, a Pennsylvania State Representative for the 181st district who became the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color and one of the youngest members elected to the PA General Assembly in 2018.At just 32 years old, Kenyatta is the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color to run for the U.S. Senate in American history. Now, the general public gets an inside look at his barrier-breaking campaign in the documentary, Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn.Executive produced by Al Roker along with Hunter Johnson and Derek Helwig of Xpedition, the film premiered at the 2023 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival with a Lee Daniels-moderated Q&A with Kenyatta, Roker, Malcolm’s husband Dr. Matt Kenyatta, as well as Johnson and Helwig.Read the whole article at Black Enterprise,

Penn. Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Producers of ‘Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn’ Talk AmDocs Festival

Prev Next Back to All Penn. Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Producers of 'Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn' Talk AmDocs Festival March 30, 2023 Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta made history in 2018 when he became the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly.A few years later, he announced his candidacy for Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race, now making him the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color to run for the U.S. Senate. With a win, the Philadelphia native would have become the state's first Black and openly gay U.S. senator.A historic race like that deserves a bit of attention, and it takes center stage in the personal documentary "Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn," which will screen at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the American Documentary and Animation Film Festival in Palm Springs. Kenyatta, director Timothy Harris and executive producers Hunter Johnson and Derek Helwig, of Xpedition, will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.Read the whole article at Desert Sun.

Al Roker teases ‘big things ahead’ after weatherman takes break from Today show for wild Hollywood night out

Prev Next Back to All Al Roker teases ‘big things ahead’ after weatherman takes break from Today show for wild Hollywood night out March 27, 2023 America's favorite weatherman Al had some Hollywood night fun while away from the Today morning show.Al, 68, took to Linkedin yesterday to share snaps of him at the U.S. premiere of his new movie Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn at Outfest in Hollywood, California.In one snap, Al smiled as he posed next to the Kenyatta film poster, and in other photos, he smiled alongside other people involved with the project.The TV personality expressed in the Linkedin post that he was thankful to those that came out for the "big night in Hollywood.""Thanks to all who came out to be inspired by Malcolm's message of change through this amazing documentary!" Al shared.The TV star, who is also the founder of Al Roker Entertainment, Inc., was the executive producer for the film.Read the whole article at The Sun.