By Mellany P
Season 12 of series focused on stories on today’s global black experience
premieres at 8 p.m. ET/ 10 p.m. PT on Monday, January 20,on WORLD Channel
NEW YORK (January 9, 2020) — AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange returns this month for its 12th season, exploring stories of modern life in the African Diaspora with a slate of documentaries journeying through Brazil, Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa, the U.S., Liberia and beyond. Premiering on WORLD Channel at 8 p.m. ET/ 10 p.m. PT on Monday, January 20, 2020, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the season opens with Joel Zito Araújo’s My Friend Fela,an exploration of music, liberation and the enduring ties of the Pan-African family. New episodes of AfroPoP — which remains the nation’s only public television documentary series dedicated to life, art and culture from across the African Diaspora — will debut every Monday through February 17. Executive produced by Black Public Media (BPM), the seriesis co-presented by distributor American Public Television (APT), which will release it to public television stations nationwide on February 6, 2020.
Episode onebrings viewers new insight into two of the founders of the Afrobeat music genre. My Friend Fela examines the often-complicated life of the Nigerian icon and Afrobeat titan Fela Kuti through the memories of his friend and official biographer Carlos Moore, the musician’s friends, wives and bandmates. Araújo explores pan-African politics and other forces that influenced Kuti’s life and his genre-shaping music. The film will be immediately followed by Birth of Afrobeat by Opiyo Okeyo, a hybrid live-action/animated short film capturing legendary drummer Tony Allen during a 2017 performance as he recounts how he and Kuti helped lay the groundwork for what would become Afrobeat.
“This season of AfroPoP will bring stories that introduce audiences to new and unsung trailblazers in the Diaspora and provide new viewpoints on stories and lives we thought we knew,” said Black Public Media’s Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz, an AfroPoP co-executive producer.
The line-up continues with Amina(January 27), director Kivilcim Akay’s documentary following a 29-year-old Senegalese immigrant living in Turkey, working to reconcile the ever-growing rift between her dreams of reuniting with her daughter and finding a career in modeling with the harsh realities of her life; Shamira Raphaëla and Clarice Gargard’sDaddy and the Warlord (February 3), a captivating look at Gargard’s trip to postwar Liberia to uncover the truth about her father’s work and involvement with the infamous war criminal Charles Taylor; and Gilda Brasileiro: Against Oblivion (February 10), directors Viola Scheuerer and Roberto Manhães Reis’sprofile of one woman’s quest to challenge a culture wishing to ignore its ties to slavery after she discovers documents exposing an illegal 19th century slave-trading post in the Brazilian rainforest.
The season finale (February 17) is Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela by Thomas Allen Harris, a deeply personal documentary exploring the bonds between fathers and sons. Harris delves into the life of the man who raised him, B. Pule Leinaeng (“Lee”) — a foot soldier of the African National Congress — and the legacies Lee and his comrades created as they led lives of exile in their fight to free South Africa. Capping off a night exploring the fight for liberation will be Spit on the Broom by Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, an experimental short on the United Order of Tents, a clandestine organization of black women organized in the 1840s during the height of the Underground Railroad.
In addition to their television broadcasts, the films of AfroPoP season 12 will also be available for streaming on worldchannel.org beginning on the day of their broadcast premiere.
AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is co-executive produced by Leslie Fields-Cruz and Angela Tucker. The program is produced and directed by Duana C. Butler with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.