WQED Presents Childhood Lost: The Adultification of African American Girls


PITTSBURGH – Adultification: it’s a disturbing phenomenon that’s happening across the country – and with notable impact right here in the Pittsburgh region. Adultification is a term used to describe the perception that African American girls are more adult, more aggressive, more sexually aware and less in need of support and care than their white counterparts.

It’s an issue that can have lifelong, generational implications from lost educational opportunities, to the threat of sexual violence and a direct link to the school-to-prison pipeline for African American girls. 

Childhood Lost: The Adultification of African American Girls is a thirty-minute documentary that seeks to raise public awareness around this important issue. The documentary premieres Thursday, November 19 at 8:00 pm and will rebroadcast on Monday, November 23 at 7:30 pm.

WQED’s website  www.wqed.org/childhoodlost will also feature a series of short video vignettes, featuring African American girls from the documentary and behind-the-scenes stories.

The documentary is part of a multiplatform initiative. WQED has partnered with local community leaders Amachi Pittsburgh and FashionAfricana and media partner Public Source to provide educational resources, encourage community conversation, share coverage and celebrate the lives of African American girls.

FashionAfricanaa leader in African-inspired art and aesthetics, is producing a mixed-media installation, FREE TO BE ME: A Portrait Series Celebrating Black Girls that will feature local Black girls in a positive, life-affirming photography exhibit both virtually and in the windows of downtown’s Pittsburgh Public Theater at 621 Penn Avenue. The Public Theater installation will be viewable from November 6 to November 20, 2020. To view the on-line exhibit, visit: www.FashionAfricana.com .

Amachi Pittsburgh serves children of incarcerated parents and at-risk youth. Amachi will host a virtual panel discussion featuring community leaders and hosted by Executive Director Anna E. Hollis at 8:30 pm, immediately following the documentary broadcast. Amachi will also publish a resource guide with information on issues important to African American girls. To register for the discussion, visit:  https://amachipittsburghinc.salsalabs.org/WQEDPanelSignUp/Index.html

Public Source   The award-winning public media outlet launched its “I Am A Black Girl and…” project to explore the intersecting factors that impact the lives of Black girls and women in our region. WQED will share stories and links across our web platforms.

Childhood Lost: The Adultification of African American Girls was written and produced by Minette Seate, and also features the camera and editing work of Dave Forstate, Frank Caloiero, Paul Ruggieri and editor Amy Grove.

Childhood Lost: The Adultification of African American Girls was made possible with funding from The Heinz Endowments and major support from UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital; and additional funding from Xfinity and Comcast’s Keystone Region; Point Park University; Oakland Catholic High School; and Urban Pathways 6-12 Charter School.


About WQED

WQED was an experiment in educational community-supported television that was the forerunner to PBS. Today, WQED is a multimedia powerhouse that is as much a part of Pittsburgh as the three rivers. WQED is  WQED-TV (PBS); WQED World; WQED Create; WQED Showcase; WQED PBS KIDS Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online at  www.wqed.org/fm ; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org) and WQED Education (www.wqed.org/edu).