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Callie Crossley steps down as TV host of ‘Basic Black’

Oscar nominee continues radio contributions at GBH 89.7 FM

Banner Staff
Callie Crossley steps down as TV host of ‘Basic Black’
Callie Crossley has hosted “Basic Black” since 2008. PHOTO : MEREDITH NIERMAN

Callie Crossley has stepped down as regular host of “Basic Black,” the longest-running public affairs show of its kind on television.

Crossley, host of the weekly program on GBH since 2008, left the host chair after the premier of its 56th season Oct. 20. The Academy Award nominee as producer of a segment of the “Eyes on the Prize” series about the civil rights movement will remain at the public television station, continuing to host her Sunday radio show “Under the Radar,” delivering her weekly commentaries and co-hosting “The Culture Show,” which debuts on Nov. 3, all on 89.7.

“Hosting ‘Basic Black’ has been an incredible journey and an unparalleled opportunity to shape vital discussions on the issues underpinning the lives of people of color,” said Callie Crossley. “After more than a decade with the program, I’m eager to pass the baton to the next host, who will continue the show’s important mission.”

In her last regular hosting appearance, Crossley led a panel discussion with Phillip Martin, GBH News senior investigative reporter; Renee Graham, Boston Globe columnist and associate editor; and Kim McClarin, author, journalist, professor and former host of the show. The panel celebrated Crossley’s years with the program, discussed some of her favorite “Basic Black” episodes and previewed upcoming ones.

“For over five decades, ‘Basic Black’ has been at the forefront of our mission to amplify the diverse voices and perspectives within greater Boston’s communities,” said Lee Hill, executive editor of GBH News. “The show is a cornerstone of GBH and public media’s commitment to covering and empowering communities of color. I want to congratulate Callie Crossley on her incredible achievements with the program and look forward to the show’s continued relevance and impact in shaping a more inclusive and informed society.”

The roster of hosts for the current season spans generations and experience. Rotating in the chair will be Martin; Paris Alston, co-host of GBH News’ Morning Edition; Crystal Haynes, an Emmy award-winning journalist and lecturer at Northeastern University; Kristen L. Pope, a trailblazing television host, journalist and multi-media strategist; and Tanisha Sullivan, a corporate attorney who serves as the president of the Boston branch of the NAACP. Additional hosts will be added as the season progresses.

Episodes at the start of the show’s season will focus on Hispanic and Latin Culture, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the role of community colleges in shaping opportunities for people of color. In later episodes, hosts are scheduled to lead conversations spanning health and financial empowerment, while amplifying the voices of Black men, women and children and raising issues important to historically marginalized communities. The show will explore the impacts of societal violence, avenues for self-improvement and COVID’s lingering effects.

Originally called “Say Brother,” the show was created in 1968 during the height of the civil rights movement as a response to the demand for public television programs reflecting community concerns. Executive Producer Delores Edwards has shaped the program since 2016. Kenrick Mercado serves as associate producer.

“Basic Black” airs on GBH 2 on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and can be found on the GBH News YouTube Channel, the GBH News website, as a podcast wherever you get your podcasts, and on Facebook, Instagram and X.

Basic Black, Callie Crossley
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