Oscar-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg is developing a 10-part documentary series exploring the history of black entertainment from the 1800s through the present. “The View” host announced her next project last week during the Tribeca Film Festival screening of her debut documentary, “I Got Somethin’ To Tell You.”
An audience member asked Goldberg what her next non-fiction project would be after the success of “I Got Somethin’ To Tell You.” She responded by explaining the difficulties of creating her first documentary and how it inspired her to expand on the research of black entertainers. Goldberg said the “history of black entertainers, comedy and vaudeville has not been covered comprehensively onscreen” according to Real Screen.
“I Got Somethin’ To Tell You” focuses on the life of comedic pioneer Moms Mabley. The documentary was completely funded through Kickstarter. Goldberg expressed her gratitude to all that donated to her campaign.
“I salute documentary filmmakers… I was lucky I had Kickstarter,” she told the audience. The Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy-award winning comic also addressed the critics of her crowd-sourcing campaign, explaining how expensive it is to create projects like “I Got Somethin’…”
“I know it seems weird [that I struggled to raise money]… A lot of people, they said, ‘Pssh, you’re Whoopi Goldberg.’ I said, ‘Really? Why do you think I work so much? I’ve got family, and there’s only one pay check.”
Some of the stills in her Moms Mabley documentary cost $1,200 each. These expenses add up quickly.
“I said to them, ‘Who was the last person looking for that picture?’ They said, ‘Sorry but they’re $1,500 each.’ I said, ‘$1,500? A minute ago you told me they were $1,200!’ They said, ‘Sorry, we made a mistake.”
Her not-yet-titled series will not be funded through Kickstarter. Golberg will utilize her influence and resources to produce the 10-parts.
“I’m going to go to American Express and several other places to see if they’ll give me the money to make a 10-part documentary about black entertainment from the 1800s ’til now,” she said. Some of the performers she’ll feature include Pigmeat Markham and Peg Leg Bates, names that don’t often resonate in American cultural conscience.
Despite the financial challenges Goldberg faced with her first non-fiction project, she’s eager to start the series.
“It was a great adventure… I’m going to do the adventure again, I think,” she said.