For 15 years, AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange has featured contemporary stories reflecting the spirit, ingenuity and resilience found among people across the African diaspora. Season 15 of the broadcast series is a celebration of the arts. In addition, we're pleased to introduce our new AfroPoP Digital Shorts series, which also features an eclectic assortment of films and filmmakers. Black Public Media is proud to present these stories to the American public.
Season 15 of AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange kicks off on Monday, April 3, 2023, and will feature a new film each week throughout the month of April. Across five episodes, viewers will encounter dynamic people whose work in the arts has shaped our world in extraordinary ways.
Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters
An AfroPoP Special Presentation
This documentary, by Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz, traces the history and legacy of Bill T. Jones' "D-Man in the Waters." Emerging in the age of AIDS, the 1989 ballet gave physical manifestation to the fear, anger, grief, and hope for salvation that Jones and his colleagues experienced as AIDS took the life of their beloved co-founder Arnie Zane and other troupe members.
Photos from AfroPoP Season 15 Special Presentation, "Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters"
Experience a guided tour of the life and indomitable spirit of international music icon and activist Angélique Kidjo. This film, by Claire Duguet, features archival footage of the globally recognized artist appearing with superstars Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz, Youssou N’dour, Ziggy Marley, Philip Glass, and Peter Gabriel across several decades; as well as cameo appearances by contemporary music stars including Alicia Keys and Yemi Alade.
Still from "Queen Kidjo," by Claire Duguet.
Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts
Bill Traylor was a unique American artist with a remarkable and unlikely biography. This illuminating documentary, by Jeffrey Wolf and Daphne McWilliams, offers a compelling narrative about a man who, despite the hardships of legalized racism, produced a body of work exhibited in today’s leading museums and collections worldwide.
Art by Bill Traylor
The Sound of Masks
Mapiko is a traditional masked dance performed by the Makonde men of Northern Mozambique. Sara de Gouveia’s film follows Atanásio Nyusi, a compelling storyteller and legendary Mapiko dancer, taking us on a visually dramatic journey through Mozambique's past (including Mapiko’s role as a tool to challenge colonization during the Mozambican War of Independence) and its vibrant present.
Still from "The Sound of Masks" by Sara de Gouveia.
Rewind & Play
Improvisational pianist and composer Thelonious Monk is among the 20th century’s most revered jazz luminaries. This film by Alain Gomis, features raw footage from an interview the artist gave to French state television in 1969. It shows Monk in the grip of a violent factory of stereotypes, offering an unfiltered glimpse at the racial indignities some artistic geniuses are asked to endure.
Still from "Rewind & Play" by Alain Gomis.
AfroPoP XV Events Calendar
The weeks leading up to the AfroPoP Season XV premiere will include an assortment of online activities celebrating AfroPoP's 15 years of dynamic Black storytelling from around the globe. Check this calendar often, as additional programs may be added.
- THROWBACK THURSDAY — Check out our Throwback Thursday shout outs from producers and directors whose work has contributed to AfroPoP's success over the years.
- AFROPOP DAILY FACTS on IG — Starting Monday, March 13, BPM will countdown the 15 days before season release by releasing a different AfroPoP fact each day on Instagram.
- AFROPOP ARTIST CHAT EXCLUSIVE — Starting March 30, check out our exclusive online chat between Rosalynde LeBlanc (Can You Bring It director) and dancer choreographer Bill T. Jones. The conversation is available on the BPM YouTube channel and website, and on the WORLD channel website.
- AFROPOP ARTIST CHAT EXCLUSIVE 2 — On Friday, April 7, the BPM YouTube channel will release another exclusive artist chat, this time featuring international music icon Angélique Kidjo, who is the focus of Claire Duguet's documentary Queen Kidjo. That same day, BPM will release an online playlist of hit recordings by Kidjo and other artists who have either inspired or been inspired by her, including Miriam Makeba, Salif Keita, Fela, and Yemi Alade.
- MoAD & BPM AFRICAN DIASPORA FILM CLUB — joins the AfroPoP celebration on Sunday, April 16, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET, by hosting a virtual event moderated by California Newsreel Co-director Cornelius Moore. The virtual conversation, featuring LeBlanc and her filmmaking partner Tom Hurwitz, will focus on the making of Can You Bring It. Film Club events are pay-what-you-can and registration is required.
In celebration of AfroPoP XV, we've invited several of the producers and directors whose work has been featured in the series over the years to give a shout out and share their reflections in response to the prompt, "Why I love AfroPoP." Follow us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook to see who else is contributing.
Lucina Fisher, Director of Season 13's Mama Gloria
AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is a co-presentation of
Funding for AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is provided by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
In celebration of our 15th season, Black Public Media is proud to introduce AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange - Digital Shorts, a series of short films shedding light on a variety of topics from a Black perspective. AfroPoP Digital Shorts are available to stream all year long on YouTube.
The shorts series premieres in February 2023 and will showcase a new digital short every third Monday of the month. The series features nonfiction and narrative shorts and includes the work of seasoned as well as emerging filmmakers.
For regular updates on the series, visit this website, follow us on social media, and subscribe to our newsletter and YouTube channel.
Still from AfroPoP Digital Short, "Black Folk Don't...Go Green."
Watch Episodes From Previous AfroPoP Seasons
Queen Kidjo – AfroPoP Season 15 | Full Film
Rewind & Play – AfroPoP Season 15 | Full Film
This film by Alain Gomis, features raw footage from a disturbing interview acclaimed American jazz musician Thelonious Monk gave to French state television in 1969.
Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters – AfroPoP 15 | Full Film
This documentary, by Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz, traces the history and legacy of Bill T. Jones' "D-Man in the Waters."
The Sound of Masks – AfroPoP 15 | Full Episode
Sara de Gouveia’s film follows Atanásio Nyusi, a compelling storyteller and legendary Mapiko dancer, taking us on a visually dramatic journey through Mozambique's past.
Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts – AfroPoP Season 15 | Full Film
Bill Traylor was a unique American artist with a remarkable and unlikely biography.
Revolution from Afar – AfroPoP Season 14 | Full Film
"Revolution from Afar" introduces Sudanese-American poets and musicians who engage in performances and conversation around third culture identity and the revolution in Sudan, from which they have been physically cut off.
Restitution? Africa’s Fight for its Art – Afropop Season 14 | Full Film
"Restitution? Africa’s Fight for Its Art" explores the troubling story of the African artwork that fills European museums, and whose return is now being demanded by their countries of origin.
Downstream to Kinshasa – AfroPoP Season 14 | Full Film
For two decades, disabled victims of the Six-Day War in the Democratic Republic of Congo have fought for recognition and the compensation they was promised. This is their story.
She Had A Dream – AfroPoP Season 14 | Full Film
A young Black Tunisian woman is a committed activist who speaks her mind and decides to run for political office.
Everything: The Real Thing Story – AfroPoP Season 14 | Full Film
This film revisits the history of the 1970s-'80s Black British band, The Real Thing, which broke barriers while singing about social conditions of the times.
AfroPoP Season 15 Trailer
Public Television's longest-running series devoted to showcasing content about the Black experience across the African diaspora is back for it's 15th season!
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.
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