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From Actor to Author: Karyn Parsons brings inspiring stories of Black history to young people


Karyn Parsons spent six years playing the ditzy character, Hilary, on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show was huge in the culture in the 1990s — it ran for six seasons beginning in 1990 and left an indelible mark on pop culture. Her character, Hilary, was — and still is — truly beloved by fans everywhere.

What fans didn't know is that during her time playing Hilary, Parsons was devoting quite a bit of her own personal time to writing short fiction, and learning about history — particularly inspiring and empowering stories of African American achievement. And, once she set acting aside in the early 2000s, and had her first child, Parsons decided it was time to take her passion for writing and history seriously and so founded a nonprofit calledSweet Blackberry. They would turn her stories about little-known African American figures, ones that she thought would pique the imaginations of young people, into short films and picture-books.

Sweet Blackberry has produced five videos and two picture books since 2005, and Parsons published her first young adult novel called "How High the Moon" in 2019. It's inspired by her mother's childhood stories of being a young person growing up in South Carolina during the time of Jim Crow.

Parsons will be on the Florida Gulf Coast University campus tomorrow, March 30th, for a presentation called “Journey of Unsung Heroes.” It starts at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to everyone. Click here to register.

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