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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

The Blackest Questions

Entered in Contest or Promotion


Black History is American History. The contributions of Black people often go unnoticed, unrecognized and forgotten. theGrio set out to change that by creating The Blackest Questions, a Black history trivia and talk show featuring Black game-changers in sports, politics, entertainment, business, and beyond. 

Our host, Dr. Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, threw wildly popular invitation-only trivia parties at her home for her friends and professor peers. Our goal was to take that same party energy and turn it into a podcast.

Our goal was to be more than Black Jeopardy. Our objective was to take our podcast on an intellectual journey with a conversation about Black history, past and present, while getting to know our guests in an innovative, insightful way. 

The Blackest Questions video podcast dives deeper than any history class you took. It goes beyond inventors and the civil rights movement. Our goal was to create challenging questions that would strike thought-provoking conversations. 

TheGrio producing team does extensive research on every guest. We then use that information to create the most interesting, little-known Black history trivia questions.  

Our goal was to create a fun learning experience whether or not our guests answered the questions correctly or not. That started the challenge to make every question a great conversation starter that allows us to know our guests on an entirely different level as we celebrate, honor, and recognize Black History in every form.

Strategy and Execution

Trying to turn a trivia party into a podcast was a challenge. We were tasked with creating an intellectually stimulating conversation-starting podcast, but it had to be fun. We could not lose the party vibe. Dr. Greer is known to stump even professors and experts in the field, including Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch.

(Episode 52 Clip - Lonnie Bunch - George Edwin Taylor) 

To put our guests at ease and keep them from feeling intellectually inadequate or intimidated, we created an environment where, no matter their title, degrees, reputation, or professional accomplishments, it’s OK  to be wrong. Even in a competition, we will get wiser and still have a blast.

(The Blackest Questions Trailer - Watch here)

The truth is, in-depth Black history is rarely taught in schools. There is a real sense of embarrassment not to know your history. Our plan was to create a learning experience within the competition. 

(Episode 11 Clip - Black History is American History - Roy Wood)

We ask each guest five of the Blackest Questions. The questions get progressively harder each round. TheGrio producing team does extensive background research on each guest. We use the research in a second round of legwork to go deep into historical archives to create challenging and little-known Black history trivia questions.

The Q&A must not only be enlightening, but the questions must also lead to great conversation starters. Even if the guest gets the answer wrong, the answer leads to great conversation.

Whether guests get every answer right or wrong, they and the audience walk away from the experience a little smarter and much more proud of their heritage and the accomplishments of our unsung ancestors.  

(Episode 40 Clip - Black History is American History - Cullen Jones)

The questions are the heart of the Blackest Questions, and the answers are the show's soul. The answers inspire interesting and provocative conversations that are the soul of the show. Our guests have included   Black shark experts, civil rights leaders, Olympic athletes, members of Congress, comedians, historians, musicians, and celebrities. We get to know Black legends and rising stars personally as we celebrate, honor, and recognize Black History in every form.



At a time when Critical Race Theory, Black History, and African American Studies are under attack on local, state, and national levels, The Blackest Questions honors the contributions and achievements of Black Americans in a fun, unapologetic, and empowering way. 



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