Season eight of “AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” opens with an unflinching portrait of life as an immigrant as concerns about illegal immigration and refugees reach a fever pitch in America and across the world. The documentary series leads off Monday, January 18, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on WORLD Channel with director Ditte Haarløv Johnsen’s “Days of Hope.”
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The season premiere follows three African immigrants who brave it all for a better life in Europe. Jussie Smollett (pictured), star of the hit FOX TV show “Empire,” serves as eighth season host for the series, which is produced by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and co-presented by American Public Television (APT).
Watch last season’s “Sound of Torture” here:
“AfroPoP” takes on important issues facing the global Black community. Episode 1 of the series, “Days of Hope,” puts a face—or three—on the immigration issue, showing the lengths to which brave souls will go to better their lives and their families’ dire circumstances.
NBPC Director of Programs and Acquisitions and AfroPoP Executive Producer Kay Shaw explains, “The scale and sheer numbers of immigrants from Mexico and Central America as well as the Syrian refugee crisis overshadow any conversation about immigration from other communities of color, where the human rights concerns are just as critical.”
“The opportunity to broadcast a beautifully told story about the plight of West Africans facing the same risks and challenges is a reminder that the issue is global, multi-faceted, and multi-racial.”
New episodes of the five-part series premiere weekly through February 15. The show continues with Directors Jérôme Guiot and Thierry Teston’s Pan! Our Music Odyssey (January 25), a joyful celebration of the melodious steel drum. The film explores the magical instrument from its development in Trinidad to its celebration around the world as bands from across the globe gather to compete in the ultimate steel band competition: Panorama.
Pablo García Pérez de Lara and Marc Serena’s “Tchindas” (February 1) transports viewers to São Vicente in Cape Verde. There we meet Tchinda, a transgender woman who is so cherished that her name has become synonymous with LBGT people in the area. The documentary follows the celebrated character, out and proud since 1998, as she and her cohorts prepare for the beloved annual carnival.
N’Jeri Eaton and Mario Furloni’s “First Friday“ (February 8) heads to Oakland, Calif., a city with a reputation as one of the most dangerous in America, to explore how the city works to rebrand itself through its successful First Fridays monthly street festival. The murder of a young Black man sends the city reeling, though, threatening the very survival of this community celebration, and perhaps, the town’s very renaissance.
A shorts program (February 15) celebrates youth and the hope they both possess and inspire with films from the west and east coasts of Africa. Nosarieme Garrick’s “My Africa Is” is set in the bustling, modern city of Nairobi, introducing viewers to dynamic youth envisioning a new Kenya, with designers, inventors, and musicians changing the face of their communities through innovation and entrepreneurship.
Terence Nance and Blitz the Ambassador’s “Native Sun” helps viewers see Ghana through the eyes and dreams of an 8-year-old in search of his father.
“AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” is produced by Angela Tucker and directed by Duana Butler. The series is produced with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowment for the Arts.
For details on “AfroPoP,” visit www.blackpublicmedia.org. APT distributes the series to the full public television system in February 2016. Viewers may find out when and where to watch, including additional air dates for each of the episodes, by checking local listings or online at www.APTonline.org.
Watch “AfroPoP’s “Boys of Summer here:
ABOUT THE HOST
Jussie Smollett stars as “Jamal Lyon” on the hit series “Empire” from producer/director Lee Daniels. His role allows him to blend his acting, singing and songwriting skills in the high-octane family drama, which is a historic hit on FOX. Smollett’s feature film credits include “The Mighty Ducks,” Rob Reiner’s “North,” and Alex Haley’s “Queen” (alongside Halle Berry and Danny Glover). He also appeared in the telefilm “A Little Piece of Heaven,” opposite Cloris Leachman, and starred with his five real-life siblings in the network comedy “On Our Own.” Smollett recently appeared on “Revenge” and “The Mindy Project,” and was seen in the independent film “Ask Me Anything.” He received rave reviews for his portrayal of “Magnus,” a gay medical student hosting his college friends in New York City, in the 2012 film “The Skinny.”
Smollett will be seen next in the new WGN thriller “Underground” in 2016, and he is currently recording his album, described as a mix of pop and soul with alternative hip-hop beats.
ABOUT THE PRESENTERS
The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) is committed to enriching our democracy by educating, enlightening, empowering and engaging the American public. We support diverse voices by developing, producing and distributing innovative media about the Black experience and by investing in visionary content makers. NBPC provides quality content for public media outlets, including, among others, PBS and PBS.org, and BlackPublicMedia.org as well as other platforms, while training and mentoring the next generation of Black filmmakers. Founded in 1979, NBPC produces the “AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” documentary series and manages NBPC 360, a funding and training initiative designed to accelerate the production of important Black serial and interactive content.
AMERICAN PUBLIC TELEVISION:
American Public Television (APT) has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations since 1961. In 2015, APT distributed one-third of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles in the United States. Among its 300 new program titles per year, APT programs include prominent documentaries, news and current affairs programs, dramas, how-to programs, children’s series, and classic movies. “America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated,” “Rick Steves’ Europe,” “Doc Martin,” “Nightly Business Report,” “Midsomer Murders,” “Vera,” “NHK Newsline,” “Lidia’s Kitchen,” “Globe Trekker,” “Simply Ming,” and “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home” join numerous documentaries and performance programs popular with public television viewers. APT licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. Entering its 11th year, Create® TV—featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming—is distributed by APT. APT also distributes WORLD™, public television’s premier news, science and documentary channel. To find out more about APT’s programs and services, visit APTonline.org.
The WORLD Channel delivers the best of public television’s nonfiction, news, and documentary programming to U.S. audiences through local public television stations and streaming online at worldchannel.org. WORLD reached 35.8 million unique viewers 18+ last year (55 percent adults 18-49) and over-indexes in key diversity demographics.* Online, the WORLD Channel expands on broadcast topics and fuels dialogue across social media, providing opportunities for broad and diverse audience interaction (*Source: Nielsen Local Buyer Reach Scorecard 01/14-12/14). WORLD is programmed by WGBH/Boston, in partnership with American Public Television and WNET/New York, and in association with the American Public Television and National Educational Telecommunications Association. Funding for the WORLD Channel is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding for America ReFramed is provided by the MacArthur Foundation.