The HistoryMakers Year in Review-2005 looks back on the year when Denyce Graves was interviewed by actress Angela Bassett for An Evening With Denyce Graves. This year also featured An Evening With Diahann Carroll in Washington, D.C. where Gwen Ifill hosted her first celebrity interview for the organization-after which cementing her role as the permanent host for The HistoryMakers' An Evening With ... PBS-TV series. An Evening With Nikki Giovanni was also held in Atlanta with playwright Pearl Cleage serving as the host interviewer. The HistoryMakers also travelled with Eric Holder to Los Angeles for its Meet The HistoryMakers: A Day of Education that featured a Salute to Brock Peters at the California African American Museum. Della Reese and Earvin "Magic" Johnson made special appearances and 100 California-based History Makers participated as presenters and youth mentors. 263 HistoryMakers were interviewed around the country for the archives as jazz musician Ramsey Lewis and Gail Waller & Tim Schwertfeger, opened up their respective homes to raise money for The HistoryMakers. In addition to behind-the-scenes footage, this evening program includes a performance by Damien Sneed, courtesy of BLACK OPERA, and pays tribute to those interviewed in 2005. The night ends with the streaming of all three programs-An Evening With Denyce Graves, An Evening With Nikki Giovanni and An Evening With Diahann Carroll.
As a multi-genre recording artist and instrumentalist, Damien Sneed is a pianist, vocalist, organist, composer, conductor, arranger, producer, and arts educator whose work spans multiple genres. He has worked with jazz, classical, pop, and R&B legends, including the late Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman, which he is featured on Norman’s final recording, Bound For The Promised Land on Albany Records. He also worked with Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, J’Nai Bridges, Lawrence Brownlee, Brandie Inez Sutton and many others. Sneed has served as music director for Grammy Award-winning gospel artists The Clark Sisters, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole and Kim Burrell, among others. Sneed is a 2020 Dove Award winner for his work as a featured producer and writer on the Clark Sisters’ new project, “The Return”, released on March 13, 2020.
Taped: Saturday, October 22, 2005
This hour-long, one-on-one interview program provided a rare and unique look inside the life and career of legendary mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. Taped live in Chicago, Illinois at Northwestern University’s Thorne Auditorium on Saturday, October 22, 2005, this program was the ninth in The HistoryMakers’ An Evening With... series. Academy Award nominated actress Angela Bassett interviewed her friend Denyce Graves with Discover Financial Services LLC serving as the event’s title sponsor.
Denyce Graves is recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exhilarating vocal stars. In this program, Graves revealed how her talents catapulted her from the inner city of Washington, D.C. to the majestic halls of the New York Metropolitan Opera and other notable opera houses throughout the world. She also explained the spelling of her first name and talked about the history of African Americans in the world of opera, her family history and her future – her young daughter.
Through photographs and video footage from some of her performances, An Evening With Denyce Graves showed why Denyce Graves is one of the most treasured stars working in the world of opera.
Taped: Saturday, May 7, 2005
This hour-long, one-on-one interview program provided a rare and insightful look into the life and career of legendary entertainer Diahann Carroll. Taped live in Washington, D.C. at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium on Saturday, May 7, 2005, this program was the seventh in The HistoryMakers’ An Evening With... series. Television journalist, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week, Gwen Ifill interviewed actress and singer Diahann Carroll with Discover Financial Services LLC serving as the event’s title sponsor.
Diahann Carroll is a true legend. She is one of America’s major performing talents with a career on the Broadway stage, as a Las Vegas headliner and as an actress in both motion pictures and on television. In the interview, Carroll told her life story, shared her experiences working in the entertainment industry and offered her feelings about being a pioneer and inspiring future minority actresses. She talked about her sitcom Julia, working with Sidney Poitier, her Oscar nomination and her roles on the 1980s prime time soap operas, Dynasty and A Different World.
Taped: Saturday, June 18, 2005
This hour-long, one-on-one interview program provided a wonderful look inside the life of poet and educator Nikki Giovanni. Taped live in Atlanta, Georgia at Georgia Public Broadcasting on Saturday, June 18, 2005, this program was the eighth in The HistoryMakers' An Evening With... PBS-TV series. Writer, novelist and playwright Pearl Cleage interviewed her former childhood babysitter Nikki Giovanni in front of a standing room only audience.
The program began with three Atlanta-based spoken word artists performing one of Giovanni's poems, Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why), and then, Pearl Cleage introduced Nikki Giovanni. During the interview, Giovanni talked about her childhood, the origins of her writing career and discussed her feelings about young people and hip hop culture. Throughout the interview, there were performances by spoken word artists reciting Giovanni's poems.
Through the use of historic film footage and live performances, An Evening With Nikki Giovanni provided a profound look into the wonderful life of one of the world's most outstanding spoken word artists.