September 24, 2021
Ode to Melvin Van Peebles
(1932 -2021)
"Actor, director, and writer Melvin Van Peebles was one of a kind and God broke the mold when he brought him to us. Go fly Mr. Van Peebles!!! There are some Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song's still to be made. Thank you for gracing us with your creativity, your brilliance, and your love for black people while you walked among us and touched us while on this earth."

Julieanna Richardson
President & Founder, The HistoryMakers

To watch the interview of Melvin Van Peebles, click HERE.
Interviews Added to
The HistoryMakers Digital Archive
The HistoryMakers is pleased to announce the complete interviews of physician-scientist and pathologist Dr. Vivian Winona Pinn, musician and music director Ray Chew, NBA player and general manager Wayne Embry, hair stylist and business owner Michael “Rahni” Flowers, and television executive Frances Harth, are now available for viewing on The HistoryMakers Digital Archive!
Dr. Vivian W. Pinn
Interviewed on July 22, 2013

Physician-scientist and pathologist Vivian Winona Pinn was the first African American woman appointed to chair a department of pathology in the United States when she was hired by Howard University College of Medicine in 1982. Three years later she became the first Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) in the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in 1994 she was named Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health at NIH. In 1989, Pinn was elected President of the National Medical Association after serving in many other capacities including as Speaker of the House of Delegates and Trustee. Since retiring from NIH in 2011, Pinn has continued working as a Senior Scientist Emerita at the Fogarty International Center. 

To view Dr. Vivian W. Pinn's interview, click HERE.
Ray Chew
Interviewed on July 12, 2013

Musician and music director Ray Chew has served as Music Director of ABC's Dancing with the Stars since 2014. Before that, he was Music Director for Fox's American Idol from 2010 to 2013. As a music arranger and multi-instrumentalist, Chew has worked with notable musicians including Gladys Knight, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. In 1974, Chew was given the opportunity go on tour with recording artist and Broadway star Melba Moore. In 1975 he was selected to produce music for Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1975 and arranged music for seven albums with the legendary duo over a twenty year period. In 1980, Chew became the musical director of the Saturday Night Live Band. In 1998, he co-founded Chew Entertainment with his wife, music executive Vivian Scott Chew. Chew and his wife also founded Power to Inspire, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve music appreciation among youths.

To view Ray Chew's interview, click HERE.
Wayne Embry
Interviewed on May 17, 2013 and August 18, 2017

Basketball executive Wayne Embry played for the NBA's Cincinnati Royals, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks over the course of his 11-year playing career as a center/forward. In 1972, Embry was named General Manager of the Milwaukee Bucks and became the first African American General Manager in NBA league history, as well as the first black general manager of a major U.S. sports team. From 1985 to 1992, Embry served as Vice President and General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He went on to become the first African American NBA Team President with the Cavaliers in 1994. Under the guidance of Embry, the Cleveland Cavaliers averaged forty-five wins and had nine playoff appearances over twelve seasons. Embry was appointed Senior Basketball Advisor to the General Manager for the Toronto Raptors in 2004, and then became the Senior Advisor to the President a year later. On January 26, 2006, Embry was named Interim General Manager for the Raptors. Embry has been a trustee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame since 1974 and has served on various senior-level committees for the NBA and USA Basketball. In recognition of his career both on the court and in the front office, he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a contributor to the sport in 1999.

To view Wayne Embry's interview, click HERE.
Michael “Rahni” Flowers
Interviewed on August 25, 2013

Hair stylist and business owner Michael “Rahni” Flowers opened Van Cleef Hair Studio in Chicago in 1981 and 7 years later purchased the salon’s present location. First Lady Michelle Obama has been a regular client of Flowers since she was 18 years old until her move to Washington D.C. Flowers had the distinct honor to style the First Lady, and the ladies of the First Family, for the 2009 Inauguration. Flowers has styled various other celebrities, including Kerry Washington, Marilyn McCoo, Nancy Wilson, Regina Taylor, Sinbad, and Phyllis Hyman. Other notable Chicago clients include Allison Payne, Carol Mosley-Braun, Merri Dee and Muriel Clair. In 2010, Flowers received a L.E.O. Award from Pivot Point International for success in field of the professional beauty.

To view Rahni Flowers' interview, click HERE.
Frances Harth
Interviewed on August 23, 2013

Television executive Frances Harth is the Vice President of Program Development and Syndication for National Productions at Window To The World Communications, Inc. (WTTW) in Chicago. In this position, Harth has developed programming for national public television and served as Executive Producer of the show “David Broza at Masada;” the documentary series, “Retirement Revolution;” and the reality show “Retirement Revolution: The New Reality.” Harth also created and served as Executive Producer of two national PBS shows: “The Americas’ Family Kitchen with Vertamae Grosvenor,” and “MindBody Connection with Les Brown.” Harth authored The Americas’ Family Kitchen with Vertamae Grosvenor (1996); as well as opinion articles for ELANCYL magazine. In addition, Harth has been invited to lecture on topics including feminism and women’s rights at the Colorado Black Women for Political Action, as well as other civic groups in Chicago.

To view Frances Harth's interview, click HERE.