“Dark Passages” The story of American Slavery presented by Tanya and Philip Hart

Courtesy Edna Sims

Courtesy Edna Sims

The complex story of American slavery is now at the forefront once again with Hollywood airing movies on slavery, such as WGN-TV’s series “Underground”, the remake of “Roots” miniseries aired on History Channel, A&E and Lifetime simultaneously, Colson Whitehead’s novel “Underground Railroad” is a New York Times bestseller and coming to the big screen,  “The Birth Of A Nation” on October 7, 2016.

Tanya and Philip Hart, educators and media content creators have been at the forefront in informing, entertaining and educating audiences for nearly four decades.  Now with the thirst for factual information on the history of American slavery the Harts are offering their documentary film “Dark Passages”.  Originally broadcast on BET and available from PBS Video, this 60 minute documentary film hosted and narrated by Tanya Hart  tells the story of the Atlantic slave trade beginning at “The Door Of No Return” on Gorée Island in Dakar, Senegal, and concluding with a visit to Alex Haley’s (‘Roots’) ancestral home in The Gambia.   

Play Preview Link Here:

Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. and Academy Award nominee Margaret Avery  provide dramatic readings of slave narratives which along with a host of historians provide factual information on the slave trade and its historic impact.

“The story of the Atlantic slave trade is an American story and deserves telling and retelling so we all fully understand how Africans helped build America.” Tanya & Philip Hart, Hollywood, CA.

About Dark Passages

For over 250 years millions of Africans were captured and purchased in West African ports by European merchants looking to expand the New World workforce.   The slave ships carried these African captives on a dangerous and slow journey across the Atlantic Ocean.  Disease and starvation were common in the confined compartments and may died on the voyage.  After arriving in the U.S., Caribbean Islands and South America, slaves were forced to participate in the labor-intensive harvesting of sugar, tobacco, coffee and cotton items that would be sold in Europe.

The triangular Atlantic trading route – or Middle Passage – became an important and profitable exchange of goods.  Through interviews, slave narratives, and dramatizations, “Dark Passages” travels from West African to Virginia to chronicle the historical effects of the Atlantic slave trade.  “Dark Passages” was produced by Tanya Hart and Valerie Whitmore-Guscott.

About Tanya & Philip Hart

Tanya Hart has a long relationship with both PBS and BET which began during her years on the air in the Boston television market.  Tanya Hart has won four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and other recognition for her television, radio, and film content over the years. Philip Hart has been recognized with a Notable Non-Fiction Children’s Trade Book Award, and other awards for his films, books, and urban development projects.

Together the Harts have several films, books, CDs, and radio documentariesavailable for purchase from PBS Video, Lerner Publishing Group, CDBaby, Amazon and several streaming services such as iTunes and Spotify.

Whether through films, books, music or documentaries the Harts continue to spotlight African American achievements..  The Harts are recipients of the Diversity in Media Award from The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors.

For more info:, and


Playing a Theremin with accomplished Artist and Musician Edward Sussman

Theremin instrument

Theremen Musician Edward Sussman tunes his instrument as it warms up.

The Theremin is the only musical instrument you can play without touching. Artist and Entrepreneur, Edward Sussman, Los Angeles is an accomplished Theremin musician. He also founded The Pure Imagination Co., a self-made, creative and artistic company. He has been involved in all facets of the entertainment industry and house-craft. “We take great pride in our work, our clients and our clients’ needs and input,” he said. Sussman also takes great pride in his passion for playing the Theremin. Over the past two decades, the Theremin has had a major resurgence and has been surfacing in numerous rock bands performances, Youtube videos, and on the classical concert circuits.

Musical Muse artist.

Artist Edward Sussman holds up one of many of is sculptured music instruments he sells at

“The Theremin uses radio frequencies with two antennas, one for pitch and one for volume,” explained Sussman. “It was invented more than 100 years ago by a Russian named Leon Theremin. He believed he could do something with the AM radio pitches and whistle sounds when he tried to tune an AM radio. After analyzing everything he discovered that he could build an apparatus that would sound like a woman singing. Or like something from outer space,” he said.

During his time in the United States, he was called Leon Theremin and the instrument took on his name. It consists of a box-like body with two antennas: one is a straight vertical rod which controls the pitch (usually on the right for right-handed players), the other is a horizontal loop (usually on the left) shaped somewhat like a cane handle which controls the volume. The pitch and volume of the note are controlled by the distance of the hands from the antennas which generate an electromagnetic field.

“Moving the hand closer to the pitch antenna causes the pitch to raise,” said Sussman. “and moving the hand closer to the volume loop decreases the volume and eventually silences the instrument. Your distance to the pitch antenna tunes the Theremin. Any motion of the body or any solid object in the playing fields will affect the note. This field extends outward about two feet in any direction from the antenna. Thereminists generally need to be a little bit away from any other performers or listeners, who might interfere with the radio signals. There have been many different designs, and Moog Music remains the longest continuous builder of Theremins and their instruments are the most used by Thereminists around the world.

Theremin instrument

Edward Sussman is a Theremin Musician and Artist who of miniature sculptures.

Sussman also is a technical craftsperson or specialist for themed entertainment, major studio projects, commercials and aerospace, including McDonald Douglas Aviation (Boeing Aerospace), where he worked as a model shop fabricator and improved his creative engineering skills. For four years he performed fabrication of display and concept models for the military and airline marketing. Additionally, he created in miniature the assembly line processes and plant layouts for line production of DC-10/MD11 and C-17 aircraft. Later he worked for Walt Disney Imagineering for nearly two years on concept model fabrication and sculpting. (For the full story visit: