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82nd Peabody Awards Winners
Summer of Soul, My Name is Pauli Murray and Mayor – 82nd Peabody Awards Winners

The documentary Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson won the Arts award at the 82nd Peabody Awards. In the concert documentary film Summer of Soul, musician and debut director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson puts us in the front row of a seminal event that should be as legendary as Woodstock but had been relegated to the dusty and neglected storage bins of history: the Harlem Cultural Festival in the summer of 1969. The film weaves together interviews with attendees and cultural commentators for context with astonishing footage of festival performances from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, and many more.

Other documentary winners include Raoul Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes, My Name is Pauli Murray by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, Mr. SOUL! by Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard and David Osit’s Mayor.

The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors honored 30 programs representing the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and streaming media during 2021.

“Whether exposing injustice, detailing uncomfortable truths, or making us laugh uncontrollably, all of the winners demonstrated how to tell a compelling story,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody. “With an ongoing pandemic, political obstructionism, and senseless wars continuing to take and disrupt lives, these programs pushed past many obstacles to tell important stories that will stand the test of time. Peabody is proud to honor their incredible work.”

The Peabody Awards are based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.


“Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (Hulu / Searchlight Pictures / Onyx Collective)


“Exterminate All the Brutes” (HBO/HBO Max)
In our current moment of intense dispute and contestation, when the clash of narratives and history are reduced to disputes over truth and feelings, disinformation, and gaslighting, Raoul Peck’s documentary series is an uncompromising commitment to evidence, science, ethics, and morality. It asks viewers to consider the continuing impact of racial hierarchies, land seizure, and the plunder and profit of cultures throughout the world, placing important historical movements, narratives, and alliances on the global stage rather than leaving them merely as isolated national or local stories.

“High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” (Netflix)
Building on the research of food historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris, High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America charts the evolution of Black foodways with both clarity and awe. Taking viewers across the Atlantic from Benin to South Carolina and up the eastern coast of the United States, High on the Hog serves as a corrective to histories that have excluded Black people’s contributions from this country’s culinary records.

“In the Same Breath” (HBO/HBO Max)
Nanfu Wang’s beautifully realized film is a personal essay-cum-verité chronicle of the early months of the pandemic in Wuhan, China. A towering achievement, the documentary offers viewers unprecedented access to the frontline workers in Wuhan hospitals during the months when no one knew much about a novel coronavirus, with many of Wang’s camera operators opting for anonymity even in the film’s credits—a powerful reminder of the risk they took in capturing what state media carefully kept out of view.

“Mayor” (PBS)
How do you run a city when you don’t have a country? The documentary Mayor answers this question by following Musa Hadid, the charismatic and compassionate mayor of Ramallah, as he goes about his daily duties running the Palestinian, West Bank city of 60,000 people. Deadpan municipal humor, quiet outrage, and civic duty in the face of staggering injustice drive this engaging film from director David Osit.

“Mr. SOUL!” (PBS)
A joyful tribute to the local television program SOUL! and its creator, the impresario Ellis Haizlip, the documentary film Mr. SOUL! is a loving celebration of Black creative achievement and vitality in late twentieth-century America, capturing the majesty, confidence, and revolutionary force of Black artists, intellectuals, writers, and performers. The time between 1968 and 1972 was an extraordinary period in American broadcast television and cultural history, and Haizlip’s SOUL! was uncompromisingly and unapologetically Black, serving as a visual and sonic record of Black Americans at their most radical.

“My Name is Pauli Murray” (Amazon Prime Video)
A towering figure in mid-twentieth century law—Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall cited them as an intellectual influence—Pauli Murray finally gets their due in Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s My Name is Pauli Murray. Using Murray’s own words and excavating the personal history that informed the distinguished lawyer, poet, priest, and writer, Cohen and West have crafted an indelible portrait of a figure who deserves to be better known.

“Philly D.A.” (PBS)
The Philadelphia District Attorney at the heart of this Independent Lens docuseries is Larry Krasner, a criminal justice reform-minded lawyer who approached his role as a chance to rethink how the city of Philadelphia understood criminality. As Krasner ushers in a new era in the D.A office, facing blowback both from career staffers and local officials (including the increasingly combative police department), Krasner’s story becomes emblematic of the challenges facing those intent on restructuring a broken system.

“A Thousand Cuts” (PBS / GBH / FRONTLINE)
FRONTLINE’s A Thousand Cuts introduces viewers to Maria Ressa, the Nobel Prize-winning journalist who dared to champion press freedom in the face of President Rodrigo Duterte’s authoritarian crackdown on the news media in the Philippines. Directed by Ramona Diaz, the documentary takes us inside the escalating conflict between the government and Ressa’s online news site, Rappler, highlighting systems of oppression fostered by autocratic regimes and fueled by profit-driven social media networks.

“Bo Burnham: Inside” (Netflix)
“Dopesick” (Hulu)
“Hacks” (HBO/HBO Max)
“Reservation Dogs” (FX)
“Sort Of” (CBC/HBO Max)
“The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime Video)
“We Are Lady Parts” (Peacock and Channel 4)
“The Wonder Years” (ABC)

“Finn and the Bell” (Rumble Strip)
“Southlake” (NBC News)
“Throughline: Afghanistan: The Center of the World” (NPR)

“The Appointment” (ABC News)
“Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol” (The New York Times)
“Escaping Eritrea” (PBS / GBH / FRONTLINE)
“January 6th Reporting” (PBS NewsHour)
“NBC Bay Area: ‘The Moms of Magnolia Street’ & ‘No Man’s Land: Fighting for Fatherhood in a Broken System’” (NBC Bay Area)
“Politically Charged” (ABC15 Arizona)
“‘So They Know We Existed’: Palestinians Film War in Gaza” (The New York Times)
“Transnational” (VICE News Tonight)

Children’s & Youth
“City of Ghosts” (Netflix)

Institutional Winner
Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Career Achievement Award
Dan Rather

Peabody Award for Journalistic Integrity
TV Rain/Dozhd

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