Profiled: The Black Man Delves into & Dismantles Stereotypes

Putting into focus the challenges faced by Black men of the past and present, Profiled: The Black Man also celebrates stories of triumph amid the difficulties. In each of its four episodes, the docuseries features a combination of historical footage, personal testimony and commentary from a raft of thought leaders to explore and combat enduring stereotypes about Black men. Series creator Trell Thomas came up with the idea for Profiled: The Black Man a couple of years ago with Tina Knowles-Lawson. OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network oversees the production of the series, which is made by A. Smith & Co. Productions for discovery+.

Executive producer Kristen V. Carter, who joined the team once the series was greenlit in 2021, was on board after only one discussion. “I was an immediate ‘yes’ because I wanted to be a part of an important and timely project that is moving the needle on conversations about Black men,” Carter tells TV Real Weekly. “I’ve worked on a lot of programming surrounding Black women over the years, and I’m excited to have worked on something that engages and salutes Black men.”

Carter had both personal and team goals for Profiled: The Black Man, including wanting the docuseries to be innovative, solution-oriented and impactful while also having a lot of heart. “Looking at larger goals, I wanted the series to be a talking piece that will spark discussions between families, friends, classrooms and more while respecting and authentically portraying the diversity of experience in being a Black man,” explains Carter.

In order to achieve these goals, the series uses testimonies “as a through line to create a bridge between the subject matter of each episode, helping us inform how we weaved in historical footage throughout,” says Carter. Each episode—“Black Men Are Dangerous,” “Black Men Are Absent Fathers,” “Black Men Devalue Black Women” and “Black Men Don’t Cry”—offers a “blend of the different devices in a way that creates a well-rounded narrative.”

“Shaka Senghor’s testimony was particularly moving, as he reflected on his life and shared how he engages and combats the stereotypes,” adds Carter. “He spent time behind bars in his early life and has gone on to become an accomplished author and speaker.”

With more and more factual content delving into matters of race and race relations, what sets Profiled: The Black Man apart, according to Carter, is how it looks at the past and present and envisions a future. “It also engages with history in a different way than most documentary series by not overwhelming people with facts and figures, but rather using key pieces of information to adequately illustrate where the stereotypes come from,” says Carter.  “We wanted to make sure that the truth was backed with history, facts and honest reflections—some that are known and not. Another interesting thing about the series is that it seeks to highlight Black joy by featuring stories of triumph and success in each of the four parts.”

Carter’s ultimate wish for Profiled: The Black Man is to help audiences understand that they can become part of the solution by reflecting on how they themselves engage in the stereotypes covered across the series. “I hope Profiled: The Black Man will spark discussion and move actions from fear to love,” Carter says.

When it comes to the role factual content, in general, can play in opening viewers’ hearts and minds, Carter believes that it’s critical. “Our fast-paced society can cause people to overlook reflecting on the past in a meaningful way,” she says. “It’s good practice to look back and see how things have changed or haven’t changed over the years.”

Profiled: The Black Man premiered on discovery+ on February 12. New episodes will roll out on the platform every Saturday through March 5.