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8 emerging BIPOC artists you should know

American Masters and Firelight Media present In the Making, a new documentary short film series following the lives and journeys of eight emerging BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) cultural artists who bring insight and originality to their artistic craft.

Featuring eight cinematic and character-driven shorts by emerging BIPOC filmmakers, most of whom graduated from Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab, In the Making explores the artistic process of up-and-coming creatives through non-fiction storytelling. Watch all eight films below:

Damon Davis: Apologue for the Darkest Gods

Filmmaker Elissa Blount Moorhead provides a look into the art of award-winning, post-disciplinary artist Damon Davis, the St. Louis native whose work spans illustration, painting, printmaking, music, film and public art that explores the African American experience.

Bunky Echo-Hawk: The Resistance

Filmmaker Ben-Alex Dupris explores how the reality and resistance of Native Americans inspires the work of Pawnee artist Bunky Echo-Hawk, igniting discussions about environmentalism and Native American rights, among other topics.


Anik Khan: Street Level

Filmmakers Sofian Khan and Joseph Patel explore the music of Anik Khan, the Bangladesh-born, Queens, New York-raised hip-hop artist whose music sketches the immigrant experience with rare poetic flare, incisive depth and a whole masala of influences at his fingertips.


Amyra León: Strange Grace

Filmmaker Malika Zouhali-Worrall provides a portrait of Amyra León, the musician, poet, author and activist who channels deeply personal experiences of pain and healing into raw, majestic, and often cathartic performances that celebrate love, Blackness and womanhood.


Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio: This is the Way We Rise

Filmmaker Ciara Lacy documents Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, a Kanaka Maoli wahine poet, activist and academic, and her continued work towards justice for Hawaii’s native population.


Maia Cruz Palileo: Becoming the Moon

Filmmaker Ligaiya Romero explores the life and work of Maia Cruz Palileo, the multi-disciplinary, Brooklyn-based artist who examines themes of migration and the permeable concept of home in her works, inspired by the oral history of her family’s arrival in the United States from the Philippines.


Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: The New Chief

Filmmakers Amitabh Joshi and Erik Spink spotlight Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, the Grammy-nominated, modern jazz musician from New Orleans who defies the expectations of jazz while challenging how music is taught in universities nationwide.


Vincent Valdez: The Beginning is Near

Filmmaker Ray Santisteban highlights Vincent Valdez, the San Antonio, Texas-born artist who emphasizes themes of social justice, memory and ignored or under-examined historical narratives in his work.


Production Credits

In the Making is a production of Firelight Media in association with THIRTEEN’s American Masters for WNET. Executive producers for Firelight Media are Stanley Nelson, Marcia Smith and Loira Limbal. Executive producer for American Masters is Michael Kantor.

Funder Credits

Support for In the Making is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Support for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, Judith and Burton Resnick, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, Seton J. Melvin, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Vital Projects Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, and the Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation.

Support for Firelight Media is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ford Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Nathan Cummings Foundation, NY Community Trust Van Lier Fellowships, Wyncote Foundation, Andrus Family Fund – a program of the Surdna Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.



PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.