The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), the nation’s only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to media content about the Black experience, has announced the passing of Nonso Christian Ugbode. Ugbode served as NBPC’s Director of Digital Initiatives and had worked at the organization since 2006. He died on Monday at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan after a long illness.
“Christian’s unwavering commitment to the importance of black voices plus his knowledge and understanding of the rapidly changing technology is what drove NBPC’s growth and expansion in digital media. He will be fondly remembered as an extraordinary friend to Black storytellers,” said NBPC Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz. “His contributions to the field, to NBPC and on a more personal level to me and my family, will be felt for generations to come.”
A member of NBPC’s executive team, Ugbode spearheaded the group’s website www.blackpublicmedia.org, a resource for producers and the place for quality Black web series and content. He was also a writer and a producer. His film about Black painters, Colored Frames aired on public television in 2011. The New York University graduate also served as co-executive editor at Mostly Public Radio (MPR), a satirical socio-political commentary podcast.
“Christian was a visionary, always at home in the world of creativity and ideas. He entered public media at precisely the moment that the system was shifting to a new, digital world that promised inclusivity and innovation. And Christian was on the front lines of that transformation. Whether his colleagues know it or not, his contributions continue to create opportunities for makers of color on every platform,” said the organization’s former Executive Director Jacquie Jones. “But more than anything for us, Christian was our brother. The hole that’s been left by his passing can never be filled. We loved him.”
“Christian was a brilliant storyteller and an outstanding leader in the digital media space for NBPC and public media as a whole. His contributions always elevated any discourse, program idea, strategy or content.” stated NBPC Director of Programs and Acquisitions Kay Shaw. “We will miss his knowing smile, intellect and generous spirit.”
Ugbode was 34.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced by Ugbode’s family. For updates, visit the NBPC website www.blackpublicmedia.org or check Twitter (@BLKPublicMedia) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BlackPublicMedia).
This post was curated by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire, an award-winning news blog covering news of the African Diaspora.