Black Beyond America // Brilliant New Series Expands the Black Conversation


Black Beyond America is a docuseries created by Portia Bartley (feat left) that interviews various people throughout the African Diaspora about their experiences being black in and beyond The United States. 

Portia is a Director, Actress, Poet, and Writer based in Los Angeles, CA. Born and raised in London, England, she has studied in New York and Los Angeles where she obtained her BFA in Acting from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Being black and being from England, Portia experienced race in a different way than most African Americans do and after living and growing in The United States she realized she was not alone. 

“If you were to base your idea of black people off of what you see on just mainstream film and television you would really only have the belief that we were American, African, or from somewhere in the Caribbean. Yes we are all African descendants, but one of the beautiful things about being black is culturally we are everywhere. Growing up black in Brazil is not the same as growing up black in Australia or France or any other country in between.” Bartley says.

This groundbreaking series is just the beginning. Her first episode focused on British actors living in The United States and working in the entertainment industry and how the color of their skin and their nationality combine to inform their American experience. They also discuss the differences and similarities between themselves and the African American community in and outside of the industry.

“My main goal with this series is to educate. To highlight and celebrate our differences while also reigning in on our similarities. I really want to highlight a multitude of people that have already existed for generations. Because there is a spectrum of us that have always been there but in the grand scheme of things a lot of people just do not know about because they are not being reflected on the screen.”

The second installment of “Black Beyond America” will premiere on January 5th in Los Angeles, CA hosted by The Creative. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session led by Irish-Ghanaian writer Michelle Sam. Audience members will be able to interact and have meaningful conversation about being black in and beyond America.

“I know this series will not have all the answers but I hope it will spark important and crucial conversations. I really want to help broaden our ideas of what blackness is and the countless ways in which that could look.”

Darrin Bush