in conversation with Will Packer
discussing his new book,
“Black Magic: What Black Leaders Learned from Trauma and Triumph”
— $38 includes a a copy of the book with a signed bookplate*
(* we only ship to US addresses)
— Complimentary to view
Chad Sanders is a writer, director, actor, and musician based in New York City. Previously, Chad worked at Google and YouTube and as a tech entrepreneur. He has since written and cowritten TV series and feature films with collaborators Spike Lee, Morgan Freeman, and Will Packer. Chad’s op-ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times, SLAM magazine, and Teen Vogue. Before living in New York, Chad lived in Berlin, London, Oakland, and Atlanta. Chad is a graduate of Morehouse College. He was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Will Packer has produced or executive produced a wide range of movies that have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide at the box office films he has produced over the past decade. Packer’s most recent film, “The Photograph,” debuted in February 2020. His films include “Girls Trip,” “Night School,” “Little,” “What Men Want,” “Ride Along 2,” “No Good Deed,” “Think Like a Man Too,” “Ride Along,” “Think Like a Man,” “Takers,” “Obsessed,” “Breaking In” and “Stomp the Yard.” Packer also served as an executive producer on the megahit “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic of the rap group NWA.
His episodic scripted and unscripted series include “The Atlanta Child Murders,” a docuseries that appeared on Investigation Discovery; “The Disappearance of the Millbrook Twins,” (Oxygen); and “Shark Trip: Eat. Prey. Chum.,” (Discovery) and the original comedy series “Bigger” (BET+). Packer served as the executive producer of “Roots,” a remake of one of the most celebrated TV programs of all time, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination. He has also executive produced such prime time programming as the unique dating series “Ready to Love” (OWN), “Ambitions” (OWN), “Truth be Told” (NBC), “Uncle Buck” (ABC) and “Being Mary Jane” (BET).
“Chad has the unique ability to turn his experiences and the experiences of others into a guidebook that will inspire many healthy discussions. This is Chad’s superpower.” – Morgan Freeman, actor
“Daring, urgent and transformative. Not only did the stories and interviews in Black Magic forever change how I think about leadership and culture, they challenged me as a parent, friend and citizen. This book will be required reading in our organization.” – Brené Brown, bestselling author of Dare to Lead
“I remember the day I realized I couldn’t play a white guy as well as a white guy. It felt like a death sentence for my career.”
When Chad Sanders landed his first job in lily white Silicon Valley, he quickly concluded that to be successful at work meant playing a certain social game. Each meeting was drenched in white slang and the privileged talk of international travel or folk concerts in San Francisco, which led Chad to believe he needed to emulate whiteness to be successful. So Chad changed. He changed his wardrobe, his behavior, his speech—everything that connected him with his Black identity.
And while he finally felt included, he felt awful. So he decided to give up the charade. He reverted back to the methods he learned at the dinner table, or at the Black Baptist church where he’d been raised, or at the concrete basketball courts, barbershops, and summertime cookouts. And it paid off. Chad began to land more exciting projects. He earned the respect of his colleagues. Accounting for this turnaround, Chad believes, was something he calls Black Magic, namely resilience, creativity, and confidence forged in his experience navigating America as a Black man. Black Magic has emboldened his every step since, leading him to wonder: Was he alone in this discovery? Were there others who felt the same?
In moving essays, Chad dives into his formative experiences to see if they might offer the possibility of discovering or honing this skill. He tests his theory by interviewing Black leaders across industries to get their take on Black Magic. The result is a revelatory and very necessary book. Black Magic explores Black experiences in predominantly white environments and demonstrates the risks of self-betrayal and the value of being yourself.