For decades Black Greek letter organizations have served as one of the cornerstones of Black college life. Established at various HBCU’s across the south, what is known as The Divine Nine, these Black fraternities and sororities have a long-standing legacy and impact in the community.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the first African American sorority, was founded at a male-dominated Howard University in 1908. The organization has celebrated 113 years of service, sisterhood and influenced the community and beyond. To showcase the sorority’s creation, Comcast NBCUniversal has debuted a new film both created and narrated by well-known members of the organization and celebrates over 300,000 members worldwide.
“Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®” gives viewers an inside look into the organization’s founding through narration, interviews and rarely seen archival materials. Envisioned and erected by nine women, their desire for sisterhood and social impact made its mark on history and Black culture.
The documentary will also explore the sorority’s role in some of history’s most pivotal moments such as World War II and NASA, its importance in Civil Rights, Women’s Rights and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“Telling our own story is essential to preserving our history and uplifting the culture,” says Dr. Glenda Glover, Alpha Kappa Alpha International president and CEO. “Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s remarkable 113-year journey which began on the campus of Howard University is punctuated by stories of history makers, ceiling breakers, public servants and ordinary women who have changed the course of American history. Through this beautifully written and narrated odyssey, this film highlights in undeniable ways the vision, courage, tenacity, determination and power of Black women while putting to bed the age-old questions about the relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Divine Nine sororities and fraternities.”
The film comes from award-winning filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper, produced by Coffee Bluff Pictures, and is narrated by Phylicia Rashād. Known as one of the most regarded and well-known Black female organizations, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, has many prominent members such as Vice President Kamala Harris, Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou and filmmaker Ava DuVernay.
“This is an extraordinary time to look back at our past to serve our future,” says Draper. “A future where Black women are centered. Helming this documentary love letter to the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the generations of women that followed in their footsteps and to all Black women everywhere is an honor. This is an important history for all of us to know and understand.”
Airing on the newly-launched Black Experience on Xfinity, “Twenty Pearls” will be a part of a new effort to promote Black content. Endorsed by the African American Film Critics Association, the world’s largest group of Black film critics that gives annual awards for excellence in film and television, the channel will feature Black entertainment, movies, TV shows and news while entertaining, educating and uplifting. Displaying Black actors, writers, producers and directors, the channel will be investing millions of dollars in fostering and showcasing emerging Black content creators.
“We’re thrilled to work with award-winning filmmaker, Deborah Riley Draper, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to bring this exclusive premiere to the Black Experience on Xfinity channel, furthering our company-wide mission of investing in and showcasing authentic Black stories and culture,” says Keesha Boyd, executive director, multicultural video & entertainment for Xfinity Consumer Services. “We launched this channel to help facilitate the discovery of stories like ‘Twenty Pearls,’ while providing a platform for emerging Black content creators.”
The channel is available to Xfinity customers at no additional cost. Customers can view the documentary and other content on X1, Flex, and on-the-go with the Xfinity Stream app. “Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®” is now available for streaming.