If not for Black people, the United States would be a pretty boring place to live.
So much of our popular culture is rooted in the experience of African Americans that it’s not only impossible, but also frightening to imagine what the country would be like without them.
If there were no Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Michael Jordan, Robert Johnson, Toni Morrison, or Martin Luther King, there might be no America at all.
Sadly, it began with a systematic institution of profound brutality that still lingers across the republic. But in the subsequent struggle against these unfair circumstances, African Americans have and continue to play the most difficult and enduring role in making America great.
Their ancestors still need to be compensated for the effort, but that’s a story for another time.
During Black History Month, Reel Chicago will celebrate the contributions of African Americans from the Windy City by publishing “The Reel Chicago Black List.” The RCBL will be a series of profiles about creative African Americans — from advertising and entertainment to fine arts and production — that we’re lucky to have in our midst.
Colin Costello, our correspondent in Los Angeles, is the inspiration and driving force behind the RCBL. The son of an Irish American father and an African American mother, Colin deserves to be on the list, but took a pass when we offered to put him on it.
That won’t stop us from doing an unofficial quickie.
After graduating from Penn State, Colin moved to Chicago and spent more than a decade working for some of the country’s most prestigious advertising agencies. At the same time, he launched a screenwriting career that, five years ago, inspired him to Los Angeles.
He also found time to begin writing for Reel Chicago, a role that has increased ever since.
While establishing himself as the magazine’s voice on the West Coast, Colin continued writing, directing, and producing a number of shorts, as well as two feature films.
Today, Colin is an incomparable influencer, innovator, filmmaker, and writer. His words, as well as his knack for social media, have helped produce a consistent and widespread bump in Reel Chicago’s readership. We’re lucky to have him.
To see the official Reel Chicago Black List, click here.