National Geographic Celebrates Black History Month

Photo of Brian Anthony Simmons performs “The Right To Dream.Brian Anthony Simmons of Living Voices performs “The Right To Dream’ as part of NOIR’s Black History Month celebration at National Geographic.

National Geographic staff celebrated Black History Month with events planned by the NOIR DC employee group to recognize the history, heritage, accomplishments and culture of African Americans.

NOIR is one of National Geographic’s Colleague Network & Resource Groups (CNRGs). The employee-led CNRGs, which are formed around shared identity, interests or pursuits, are supported by 21st Century Fox Global Inclusion and help foster an environment where all colleagues can thrive. NOIR was launched in September 2018 and is committed to empowering underrepresented communities and cultivating future black leaders.

Organized by Aneka Hylton-Donelson, NOIR’s events chair, the Black History Month events educated, empowered and encouraged the conversation of diversity and inclusion.

“Black History Month reminds us that we need to celebrate every month honoring and appreciating the sacrifices of those who came before us.“

Aneka Hylton-Donelson, Senior Producer, National Geographic Partners, and Events Chair, NOIR

Photo of NOIR Living Voices PerformanceBrian Anthony Simmons performs “The Right To Dream.’

Many audience members were brought to tears during a performance by Living Voices’ Brian Anthony Simmons, who portrayed a young black man from Mississippi during the civil rights movement. Brian combined a solo voice performance with archival film and sound as he turned history into a moving and personal journey. The performance was introduced by National Geographic Partners Chairman Gary Knell.

"I want to thank NOIR for bringing an important set of diverse voices to National Geographic."


NOIR also hosted a screening of "13th," an Academy Award-nominated documentary about racial inequality in the U.S. prison system, followed by a moderated open discussion. The event was opened by a special performance by the Duke Ellington Show Choir.

Photo of NOIR Lunch and Learn event panelNOIR Lunch and Learn Panelists (l-r) Denise Hart, Imani Davis, David Canada, and Aja Taylor.

Other events included a screening of "February One," a documentary about the Greensboro Four and the civil rights movement, and a Lunch & Learn panel discussion on “Fostering an Inclusive Workplace.”

“We are grateful for the support we’ve received at Nat Geo throughout our Black History Month celebration. NOIR, along with all of Nat Geo’s employee groups, aim to educate, celebrate and galvanize towards a truly inclusive workplace for all to enjoy and succeed.”

Karen Greenfield, SVP, Business & Production Operations, National Geographic Partners, and Co-Chair, NOIR

Throughout the month, NOIR also partnered with National Geographic’s medical services team to offer free blood pressure screenings to staff, recognizing that African Americans in the U.S. are more at risk for high blood pressure than other racial or ethnic groups.