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Jan 17, 2020 Fri 04:04PM


True First Series

Legends of African Descent and Their Untold Stories.

A people’s history that leaves no person of African descent behind.

History is the weaving of stories into the fabric of who we are as a people and a nation. We like to mark our journey with books, monuments, awards and commemorative plaques, setting in stone and ink the list of our collective achievements. Yet history is also written in the spaces between the mortar, the gaps that are left by those who decide how to structure the past. Until very recently, the gatekeepers who chose what to memorialize were almost exclusively men. And they were invariably white.

The True First project is a rescue effort. It is a passionate attempt to resurrect the men and women of African descent who were swept aside by the broad brush of history. These are the innovators, visionaries and creative minds that came before the people now credited with their accomplishments. They are also the leaders who were the first to break through the color barrier or reach milestones that had always been the exclusive domain of white privilege. The first African-American to be hired by the postal service, the mother of rock ‘n roll, the first Black man to run for President of the United States, the first Black Deputy Marshall. True leaders. True firsts.

This docudrama series sets the record straight. We’ve looked at what everyone else has taken for granted and turned it on it’s head. We’re finding people of African descent who have been erased from the historic record and what we’ve uncovered is genuinely fascinating.

True First is itself a true first. Each episode explores the life of a forgotten trailblazer of African descent who made an early and significant contribution to their craft or profession. Athletes, entertainers, pioneers and politicians all feature in a historical saga that spans from the birth of nations to the firsts of the new millennium. From the Wild West to Washington, their untold stories are at times heartbreaking, often astonishing, and always inspirational.


The True First series brings the achievements of men and women of African descent into the mainstream of our historical narrative. Its mission is to inspire, motivate and engage viewers in the untold stories of Black lives that changed the course of history. By setting the record straight, True First restores a more inclusive chronicle of the women and men who built our social, political and cultural institutions.


True First envisions a comprehensive accounting of the contribution that pioneers of African descent have made to the panoply of human achievement. Former slaves, political leaders, philanthropists and musicians are showcased in stories as varied as the lives they recount. By reviving these often-forgotten True Firsts, we can imagine a world where all innovators can claim their rightful place among the dreamers, artists and singular minds who have made us who we are – regardless of race, ancestry, gender or creed.

Food for thought...

We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn't a matter of political correctness. It's a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.

Barack Obama

A few of our episodes...

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe This musical legend’s first professional partnership was with her mother, a Baptist singer and evangelical preacher in rural Arkansas. By the age...READ MORE

Season One
Bessie Coleman
Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman As the child of Texas sharecroppers, Bessie Coleman had to walk four miles to her segregated school every day, never dreaming of the...READ MORE

Season Two
Winifred Atwell
Winifred Atwell

Winifred Atwell Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Winifred Atwell moved to London after the Second World War and studied piano at the Royal Academy of...READ MORE

Season Five
Robert L. Johnson
Robert L. Johnson

Robert L. Johnson Born in Mississippi in 1946, this farmer’s son would go on to become the first black billionaire in the United States. Johnson...READ MORE

Season Four
View our entire list of episodes.


Meet the creative minds behind the scenes of True First

Kweku Hayford
Executive Producer
Lenny McAllister
Production Consultant
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Meet the faces that tell the stories of True First

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