Morning Show

BlackStar LIVE!

BlackStar Live! is our very own morning show, airing every day of the 2020 BlackStar Film Festival on our Facebook page.

Featuring co-hosts scholar-activist Dr. Yaba Blay, BlackStar’s own Maori Karmael Holmes, DJ Rich Medina, musician/actor/advocate Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, and filmmaker-artist Rashid Zakat — plus Special Correspondent Ike Ewell — the program will loosely consist of interviews with filmmakers, live performances, astrological updates, roundtable discussions of the day’s film programming, and other content interspersed throughout. Join us as we attend to the political, petty and creative urgencies of the day with humor, insightful critique, and delight.

Presented by:

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Produced in partnership with:

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On Air


Aug 20

9:15 AM ET
  • Episode 1: Unapologetic director Ashley O’Shay and film programmer and curator jeanelle augustin

Aug 21

9:15 AM ET
  • Episode 2: Through the Night director Loira Limbal and Stateless director Michèle Stephenson

Aug 22

9:15 AM ET
  • Episode 3: We Can’t Cop Cars Without Seeing Cop Cars director Fahamu Pecou and journalist Dani McClain

Aug 23

9:15 AM ET
  • Episode 4: Daughters Of director Shantrelle Lewis and researcher Mark Gonzales


Aug 24

9:15 AM ET
  • Episode 5: Pier Kids director Elegance Bratton and The Forty Year Old Version director Radha Blank

Aug 25

9:15 AM ET
  • Episode 6: Down a Dark Stairwell director Ursula Liang and How to Make A Flower: La Méthode MOBO director Louis Massiah

Aug 26

9:15 AM ET
  • Episode 7: Farewell Amor director Ekwa Msangi

Hosted By

Dr. Yaba Blay

Scholar, Activist

Dr. Yaba Blay is a scholar-activist, public speaker, and cultural consultant whose scholarship, work, and practice center on the lived experiences of Black women and girls, with a particular focus on identity/body politics and beauty practices. Lauded by O Magazine for her social media activism, she has launched several viral campaigns including Locs of Love, #PrettyPeriod, and #ProfessionalBlackGirl to her multi-platform digital community. In 2012, Dr. Blay served as a producer on CNN’s television documentary, Who is Black in America? and has since been named one of today’s leading Black voices by The Root 100 and Essence Magazine’s Woke 100. She has appeared on CNN, BET, MSNBC, BBC, and NPR, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, EBONY, Essence Magazine, Fast Company, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Colorlines, and The Root, to name a few. Her commentary is featured in A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond, a permanent installation exhibited in the National Museum of African American History and Culture; and she is the author of the award-winning (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race.

Maori Karmael Holmes

Curator, Filmmaker, Writer

Maori founded BlackStar in 2012 and serves as its Artistic Director and CEO. Recognized as one of Black Public Media’s 40 Gamechangers for 40 Years, she was on Essence Magazine’s 2019 Woke 100 List, and is a 2019 Soros Equality Fellow. She has organized programs in film at Anthology Film Archives, MOCA, The Underground Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. As a director, her works have screened internationally, including her feature documentary Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip-Hop (2006). She has also directed and produced works for, Visit Philadelphia, and singer-songwriter India.Arie. Her writing has recently appeared in The Believer, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, and How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance. Maori also serves as Mediamaker-in-Residence at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Curator-at-Large at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and a Creative Executive with Blackbird.

Rich Medina


Rich Medina is an elite international DJ who, in the thirty + years since he spun his first record, has turned his young love for music into a celebrated career as a platinum-selling record producer, recording artist, poet, journalist, and Ivy League lecturer. From the legendary nine-year-run of his Lil’ Ricky’s Rib Shack party at APT in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, to his globe-spanning, conscious-raising, dance-floor-shaking party Jump-N-Funk, a sonic tribute afrobeat and its iconic creator Fela Kuti, Rich stands without peer as a contemporary DJ of diverse range and taste. A sonic storyteller par excellence. But his art pushes past those boundaries. As a respected spoken word artist, he has performed on stages around the world, and his sonorous voice has been utilized by everyone from EA Sports to Nike. He’s an intellectual and public speaker who has lectured at TEDXPhilly and his alma mater Cornell, amongst others. And he’s a producer of note, crafting work with a range of artists, including Jill Scott, J Dilla, and Bobbito Garcia. In short, Rich Medina is the modern-day renaissance man—an artist and visionary who has built a compelling narrative on his own terms. And his journey continues.

Tariq Trotter

Musician & Actor

Tariq Trotter, also known as Black Thought, is the co-founder is the co-founder and lead MC/singer of The Legendary Roots Crew and a Grammy-winning writer, actor, and artist who is one of the most skilled, incisive, and prolific rappers of his time.

Rashid Zakat

Filmmaker and Artist

Rashid Zakat is a filmmaker and artist based in Philadelphia. He uses video, photography, design, audio and the web to encourage people to find as much beauty, joy and wonder as possible. Professionally Rashid has a 15 year long career as a director and cinematographer for non-fiction, experimental films and music videos. He has done work for Nike, Intel, Grammy Award Winning artist India.Arie, Carmelo Anthony, Black Thought of the Roots, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, NBC, Comcast, BlackStar Film Festival, Soul Train, Topic, WHYY, Philadelphia Contemporary, Mural Arts, Rashaad Newsome & BET to name a few.

His personal work includes short documentary, iPhone and traditional portrait projects, visual mixtapes, digital publications, video installations, open mics & dance parties that experiment with visuals. Obsessed with the internet and new modes of communication, Rashid routinely shares his media experiments on social platforms.

Special Correspondent

Isaac Ewell

Isaac Ewell has had a portfolio-career; he’s been a high school history teacher, curriculum designer, record executive, and corporate trainer, who, as an educational executive, invested millions of dollars in grant money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to help create several high-quality schools in low-income communities all across the country.

Most recently, after recognizing common threads of community, style, and substance across each of the different worlds he’s occupied, Isaac designed, developed and deployed Onehunted, a start-up tech company that uses experiential events, fresh editorial content, and an environmentally-conscious ecommerce platform, to build and sustain community — and forge authentic (keep it Onehunted -100) connections between people and products/brands. Onehunted empowers people to be smarter consumers to look good, do good, and feel good. They recently launched HUNTRS.

HUNTRS is a peer-to-peer e-commerce platform that allows men to hunt for (browse), buy and sell gently-used menswear and other items. HUNTRS seeks to redefine how men have traditionally shopped by creating a curated online consignment experience that connects a multidimensional tribe of men. The web app, encourages style-conscious and aspirational men to be smarter and more sustainable consumers.

Isaac is a graduate of Morehouse College and Harvard University, and he serves on the boards of Boys Latin Charter School of Philadelphia, Wissahickon Charter School, Jill Scott’s Blues Babe Foundation and Big Picture Learning.

Despite his many accomplishments, Isaac is most proud of his role as a dedicated husband and father. Oh yeah, and he’s an avid hip hop head!