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Documentary: Black Man

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Documentary: Black Man

Tickets: FREE - No Ticket Required


December 17, 2018
6:00 pm


Muskegon Museum of Art & The Community Foundation for Muskegon County


Frauenthal Theater


A film by Jon Wesley Covington

Produced by the Muskegon Museum of Art

Black Man will, through their own words, chronicle the experiences, past and present day, of 32 African American men from ages 18-94 of all occupations and experiences. The stories are compelling, powerful, and universal.

Subjects include local barbers, a fireman, a college president, ministers, unemployed laborers, athletes, students, a judge, an artist, non-profit managers, teachers, a coach, and many other neighbors from all walks of life.

In the fall of 2017, the Muskegon Museum of Art engaged the services of Philadelphia-based photographer, Jerry Taliaferro, to photograph 47 African American men in the Muskegon Community, of all ages and occupations, for an exhibition, Sons: Seeing the Modern African American Male, to open on December 13, 2018.  Each subject was photographed twice.  The first photo will present a black-and-white portrait with only the face exposed.  Then next, full color as the subject would like to be portrayed.  The visitor will look at wall of the first portraits of faces only; form an opinion about the subject which will be challenged by the second photograph elsewhere in the gallery.

As part of this exhibition, subjects were interviewed by Jon Covington, owner of 97.3 “The Beat” in Grand Rapids, and former Black Entertainment Television producer.  This was only to provide a 5 minute loop of video that would be used in the gallery to supplement the exhibition.  Covington’s short interview quickly spiraled into over 10 hours of riveting dialogue and stories, and experiences of what it is to be a black male in Muskegon. Covington came to the conclusion that there was the potential for a powerful film project that could be highly impactful in both Muskegon and other Michigan communities.

This film is a human portrayal of Muskegon County’s friends, neighbors and professionals sharing their stories that, on a basic level, are no different from the audience.  This film will present an educational dialogue for the entire county.

About Jon Covington:

Jon Wesley Covington is a Muskegon native with a background in the Muskegon Civic Theatre; he spent his time in Muskegon creating programs to empower the urban community core such as the “Beat Awards.”  After leaving Muskegon, Covington worked in Los Angeles where he served as a producer for the BET network working on both award shows and other programs. A project with Terrance Hudson and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson, led to serving as production manager in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the 2011 film, Winnie Mandala, and a consultant for the 2012 Los Angeles based film production, Dysfunctional Friends.

Jon is the founder  of M.O.C.I.T.I (mokeetee), a service based organization comprised of “Men Of Color In The Industry” of entertainment based in Los Angeles, CA,  Founder of Men of Color Read (MOCR) , an elementary school literacy initiative in Muskegon, MI and Co-Founder of YOUNG BROTHERS, a mentoring initiative in Muskegon mentoring African American boys.

“Having worked for several years on various initiatives championing the health, and wellbeing of the African American male, I’m honored to be a part of this dynamic film. The film is at times hilarious, and at times heartbreaking! While the subjects are African American men in Muskegon County, Michigan, their personal testimonies will resonate with others in Any City, USA.

This film organically identifies who the African American male is and whether he’s really all that different from the Caucasian male.  Raw & Riveting best describes the film. For me it’s humbly full circle because it takes place where it all began-Muskegon, Michigan.”