The Birth of AfroBeat

Filmmaker Opiyo Okeyo's hybrid live-action/animated short, The Birth of AfroBeat, about legendary Nigerian percussionist Tony Oladipo Allen, combines the best of documentary storytelling with the enchantment of animation. The film is animated by Mel Roach.

Allen, who died in May 2020, was a longtime collaborator and friend of renowned musician and social justice advocate Fela Kuti. In 2017, he was invited to the United States to executive produce the band Chicago Afrobeat Project. During his visit, he recounted how he and Kuti laid the groundwork for what would become the Afrobeat sound. The film illustrates his story.

The Birth of AfroBeat was featured in BPM's Season 12 of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Experience. For that series, the short was paired with feature-length documentary, My Friend Fela,  by Joel Zito Araújo. To watch both films, scroll through the list of AfroPoP Season 12 offerings below and select the My Friend Fela  program. The AfroBeat short follows the feature-length film.

 

Sparking a Revolution from Within

Black Public Media hosted a community conversation on April 11, 2022 about the new film, "Revolution from Afar." Program partners Black Public Media, Maine Film Center, Maine Public Television, and Indigo Arts Alliance are excited to host this virtual panel discussion, featuring director Bentley Brown, artists Khadega Mohammed, Nyamuon aka “Moon” Nguany Machar, and moderator Hana Baba, as we engage questions of identity, art, activism, and the work of individual and communal efficacy.

AfroPoP Season 12 | Trailer

Season 12 brings you stories from modern life across the African diaspora. This season's slate features films from Brazil, Nigeria, Turkey and Senegal.

AfroPoP Season 14 Trailer

Black Public Media’s 14th season of AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is a celebration of trailblazers, pioneers, and everyday excellence. Across five episodes, the new season features the broadcast premieres of "Everything: The Real Thing Story," "She Had a Dream," "Downstream to Kinshasa, Restitution?" "Africa’s Fight for Its Art" and "Revolution from Afar."

Shorts Collection – AfroPop Season 13 | Full Episode

This episode features three short films. "Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business" is the portrait of an artist who's pushed boundaries for 70 years and shows she isn’t done yet. "Elena" follows one of the thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent whose citizenship was stripped by the government in 2013 as she fights to have her citizenship reinstated. And "Man of the People" is a political thriller surrounding the legacy of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.

BAKOSÓ: AfroBeats of Cuba – AfroPop Season 13 | Full Episode

This documentary follows Havana-based DJ Jigüe as he goes on a journey to connect with his African roots in his hometown of Santiago, where he discovers Bakosó and finds a connection with its diasporic origins.

Professional Black Girl – AfroPoP Season 13 | Full Episode

This documentary is an original video series and online movement created to celebrate everyday Black womanhood, and to confront “respectable” expectations of how we should “behave.”

Mama Gloria – AfroPoP Season 13 | Full Episode

This documentary is an intimate profile of Gloria Allen, a 75-year-old Black trailblazing transgender activist who started a charm school for homeless trans youth and is now aging with joy and grace.

Finding Sally – AfroPoP Season 13 | Full Episode

A personal investigation into the mysterious life of the director’s aunt Sally, an Ethiopian aristocrat turned communist rebel who disappeared during the Ethiopian Revolution.

AfroPoP Season 11 | Trailer

Season 11 of the trailblazing series highlights diverse issues, including social justice, politics, LGBTQ identity, fashion and violence against women.

Afropop Season 10 | Trailer

AfroPoP X brings to U.S. audiences a collection of documentary films focusing on issues of the arts, immigration, heritage, social justice and more

AfroPoP Season 5 – Stolen | Filmmaker Chat

In their journey to tell a story of modern-day slavery they themselves become the story. Directed by Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw, listen to the inspiration behind their journey.

Opiyo Okeyo and Mel Roach

Opiyo Okeyo is an writer, filmmaker, and founder of Rest In Beats, a production house creating projects that emphasize legacy and intergenerational dialogue in music. Opiyo began his career with Discovery Channel and has worked with MTV, The Players' Tribune, Condé Nast Entertainment, among others. Birth of Afrobeat is his directorial debut.

Mel Roach is an Australian animator and writer. Her cartoon short Rocket Dog (2013) has attracted nearly 2 million views on You Tube and is in development as television series.

Opiyo Okeyo, Producer, Director, Editor and Cinematographer

David Glines, Producer

Eric Trosset, Producer

Mel Roach, Animation

Michael Gabriel, Cinematographer

Matt Giordano, Re-recording Mixer

Tony Allen, Music

Lee Rosevere, Music

Kasiemba, Music

Chicago Afrobeat Project, Music

 

 

 

 

AFROPOP S10E03 - BETWEEN 2 SHORES

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