AfroPoP X brings to U.S. audiences a collection of documentary films focusing on issues including the arts, immigration, heritage, social justice and more—all examined through the lens of the African Diaspora. The series premieres on WORLD Channel at 8 p.m. ET (10 p.m. PT) on Monday, January 15—Martin Luther King Jr. Day. New episodes will air weekly through February 12. The show is produced by Black Public Media (formerly known as National Black Programming Consortium). Co-presented by distributor American Public Television (APT), AfroPoP will be released by APT to public television stations across the U.S. in February 2018.
Best known to television fans for his role as Micah on “Queen Sugar,” the award-winning series from Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, Ashe has been acting since his stage debut at 10 as the young Simba in the national tour of The Lion King. He has also garnered film and television roles including 2016’s Custody with Viola Davis and Are We There Yet?
“As we celebrate 10 years of AfroPoP, Season 10’s films remind us not enough has changed for people of African descent globally. Immigration is still a challenge, inequitable treatment of women of color is still an issue, and inequitable distribution of resources is just as pervasive–even when the need is great and resources are available,” said BPM Director of Programs and Acquisitions and AfroPoP Executive Producer Kay Shaw.
“BPM is committed to continuing to bring to the American public these stories and others that celebrate the art, culture and creativity people of African descent for another 10 years.”
In 2007, with a plethora of films about the Black experience in need of distribution, BPM decided to create a series to show the full breadth of Black life. AfroPoP premiered on public television in 2008 with celebrity host Idris Elba and remains the nation’s only public television documentary series on contemporary life, art and culture across the African Diaspora. It has since aired 47 feature documentaries and several nonfiction and fiction shorts, providing a platform for filmmakers of color to tell their diverse stories. Anika Noni Rose, Wyatt Cenac, Gabourey Sidibe, Anthony Mackie, Yaya DaCosta, Jussie Smollett and Nikki Beharie, along with Ashe, have each served as AfroPoP hosts.
NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: ENTERTAINMENT PUBLICIST KEN REYNOLDS’ B-DAY PARTY WAS ALL THAT AND MORE (WATCH)
This season of the nation’s only public television documentary series on contemporary life, art and culture across the African Diaspora includes:
Black Panther Woman, Rachel Perkins’ moving documentary on Marlene Cummins, a member of the Australian Black Panther Party and her personal story of activism, art and addiction, including her coming forward with her own #MeToo moment from the movement (January 15); a shorts program consisting of Marco Williams’ Lonnie Holley: The Truth of the Dirt, Michael Fequiere’s Kojo and Jessica Beshir’s He Who Dances on Wood (January 22); Between 2 Shores, Mariette Monpierre’s gripping documentary about two Dominican women fighting to bring their children with them to their new lives in Guadeloupe, highlights a struggle faced by many immigrants today: family reunification (January 29); Ten Days in Africa, Regi Allen’s humorous and insightful look at his trip to West Africa to explore the differences and similarities between Africans and African-Americans, a special encore broadcast from the first year of AfroPoP (February 5); and Fatal Assistance, award-winning filmmaker Raoul Peck’s scathing indictment of global aid policies that failed Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake’s aftermath. Peck was a recent Oscar nominee for I Am Not Your Negro, which was funded in part by BPM.
“AfroPoP is celebrating 10 years and still going strong. That is a testament to the great work BPM has done to curate and give voice to talented storytellers, and a validation that the series continues to serve viewers from across the country who value the diverse, educational, artistic and sometimes challenging programming that the program champions and celebrates,” said APT Director Business Development & International Sales Tom Davison. “APT is proud to have been with BPM from the get go and to partner with our colleagues at WORLD Channel to bringAfroPoP to public television audiences nationwide.”
“WORLD Channel is proud to celebrate 10 years of AfroPoP with our partners at Black Public Media and APT. Sharing diverse and unique stories from around the globe is core to our channel’s mission, and AfroPoP’s new season of films will continue to provide our audiences with a lens through which to view and better understand important narratives,” said WORLD Channel Executive Producer Chris Hastings. “We are so very proud that WORLD Channel is a part of the program’s continued distribution to public media.”
AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is produced by Angela Tucker and directed by Duana Butler with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowment for the Arts.
Nicholas L. Ashe stars as Micah West in the critically acclaimed OWN series Queen Sugar, directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma) and executive-produced by Oprah Winfrey. His harrowing performance in the current season has resulted in critical praise and attention from industry professionals and fans. Earlier he played Viola Davis’s son in the courtroom drama Custody, which premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
Ashe made his acting debut at age 10 in the role of Young Simba in the national tour of The Lion King. Onstage, he is perhaps best known for his Lincoln Center debut opposite Marin Ireland in Abe Koogler’s world-premiere production of Kill Floor, receiving glowing reviews from the New York Times for his pivotal role. Ashe also played the role of Junior in Manhattan Theatre Club’s critically acclaimed production of Choir Boy (directed by Trip Cullman), reprising the role at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
Ashe is also a talented vocalist, pianist and composer. Under the tutelage of renowned playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, he has developed original stories and music of his own. In 2015, he created a scholarship for young artists in his hometown of Freeport, Long Island.
Ashe collaborated with Cierra Glaude on a short film titled Last Looks, which had its world premiere at the 2017 Urbanworld Film Festival.
About Black Public Media:
Black Public Media (BPM), formerly the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), is committed to enriching our democracy by educating, enlightening, empowering and engaging the American public. The nonprofit supports diverse voices by developing, producing and distributing innovative media about the Black experience and by investing in visionary content makers. BPM 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, BPM produces the AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange documentary series and manages the 360 Incubator + Fund, a funding and training initiative designed to accelerate the production of important Black serial and interactive content.
About American Public Television:
American Public Television (APT) is the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations. For more than 10 years, APT has annually distributed one-third or more of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles in the U.S. Founded in 1961, among its 250 new program titles per year, APT programs include prominent documentaries, performance, news and current affairs programs, dramas, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies.
America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, AfroPoP, Rick Steves’ Europe, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television, Front and Center, Doc Martin, Nightly Business Report, Midsomer Murders, A Place to Call Home, Lidia’s Kitchen, Globe Trekker, New Orleans Cooking with Kevin Belton, Simply Ming and P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home are a sampling of APT’s programs, considered some of the most popular on public television. APT licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. Entering its 13th year, Create®TV — featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming — is distributed by American Public Television. 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.
About World Channel:
The World Channel delivers the best of public television’s nonfiction, news and documentary programming. The channel features original content by and about diverse communities to U.S. audiences through local public television stations and streaming online at worldchannel.org. WORLD reached 33.3 million unique viewers 18+ last year (52% adults 18-49) and over-indexes in key diversity demographics. WORLD is programmed by WGBH/Boston, in partnership with American Public Television and WNET/New York, and in association with PBS and National Educational Telecommunications Association. Major Funding for the WORLD Channel is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For more information about The WORLD Channel, visit www.worldchannel.org.
Cheryl L. Duncan