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Basic Black; Sisters


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Basic Black
Program Number


Series Description

THe series was formerly known as Say Brother. Series title change as of 1/8/1998. This series is black produced and is one of public television's longest-running series that is rooted in and reflects the culture, concerns, achievements and history of people of African descent. Also includes controversial issues, African American artists, and events of special interest to the African American community.

Series release date: 1/8/1998

Program Description

In this program, we explore the unique relationships women hold as sisters. We'll talk with women about their relationships to and as sisters.

Much has been written about the importance of sibling relationships: as our first relationships with peers, they are where we learn to be friends, to share, to negotiate. Basic Black explores sibling relationships in black families by sharing the joys and struggles of two sets of sisters from different eras.

Nicole and Shelley Stark, both in their 30s, talk about the intensity of their relationship and how their closeness has ebbed and flowed through the years. Nicole, who lives in Chestnut Hill and is younger than Shelley by five years, talks to Basic Black about Shelley’s big-sister role and how she continually struggles to make her own way in the world.

The O’Banyoun sisters—Eleanor Collins, Margaret Jackson, and Muriel Walker, all in their 80s—share the perspective of eight decades of sisterhood. They grew up in a time, they say, when families in general were closer than they are today. The three sisters have always lived within a few miles of each other in Roxbury and Dorchester, and see each other regularly. They talk to Basic Black about sibling rivalry and how the deaths of their other sisters have impacted family dynamics.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Social Issues
Race and Ethnicity
Chicago: “Basic Black; Sisters,” 04/27/1999, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 19, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_EB990836EFED46768E7F02889A4D52A1.
MLA: “Basic Black; Sisters.” 04/27/1999. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 19, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_EB990836EFED46768E7F02889A4D52A1>.
APA: Basic Black; Sisters. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_EB990836EFED46768E7F02889A4D52A1
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