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Jacqueline Stewart Becomes First Black Host On Turner Classic Movies


So if you watch TCM, I mean, you're not going there for something new. The channel's called Turner Classic Movies, after all.


But there is something new on TCM. The first African American host in the network's history, her name is Jacqueline Stewart. She's a professor of cinema studies at the University of Chicago. And she was just named the new host for Silent Sundays, the silent film marathon segment.

JACQUELINE STEWART: What I hope to accomplish is to show audiences the true diversity of early filmmaking, the contributions of people of color, the contributions of women. These are things that we don't normally think about when we're looking at the history of classic film.

GREENE: Now, Stewart points out that many of the films she'll be introducing on TCM would be considered problematic if they were made today. But she wants to embrace their complicated legacy and explore it with her audiences.

STEWART: That by coming onboard, what I have the ability to do is to get audiences to see some of these nuances that actually are features of these films - have been features of these films.

MARTIN: Stewart has already become a spokesperson of sorts for the pay-TV network, promoting TCM as a historical archive for silent films which aren't available on any streaming service.

STEWART: The presentation of films on TCM works as a kind of preservation. It's a way of keeping these films in the public eye and demonstrating their value many decades after they were made.

GREENE: Jacqueline Stewart begins her hosting gig at TCM this Sunday. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.