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AfroPoP

BPM’s signature series of documentary films from across the African diaspora.

Commissioned Shorts

Shorts commissioned by Black Public Media that discuss a variety of topics that affect the Black community.

More BPM-Supported Films

BPM-funded films broadcast on PBS’ POV, Independent Lens, American Masters, America Reframed, American Experience, NOVA, and special presentations.

Duration: 01:23:54

Razing Liberty Square

Liberty City, Miami, was home to one of the oldest segregated public housing projects in the U.S. Now with rising sea levels, the neighborhood’s higher ground has become something else: real estate gold. Wealthy property owners push inland to higher ground, creating a speculators’ market in the historically Black neighborhood previously ignored by developers and policy-makers alike.

Duration: 00:07:11

The Forgotten Ones

A poignant story of one man’s 40-year struggle with homelessness in the heart of Hollywood.

Duration: 00:15:56

WELL

WELL depicts the story of one Black American family through 50 years as they fight to stay healthy amidst three different crises. Through the Tuskegee Experiment, the Flint Water Crisis, and now COVID-19, the family has survived endless obstacles to their health. After losing a loved one to COVID-19, the family must reckon with the harm and distrust that has permeated their family for decades.

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Duration: :56:20

Everything: The Real Thing Story

Dubbed “The Black Beatles,” the British band, The Real Thing, broke barriers while singing about social conditions of the times. The film features surviving members and recording artists reflecting on the importance of the pioneering group

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Duration: :54:23

She Had a Dream

Ghofrane, a young Black Tunisian woman, is an activist who speaks her mind. The film follows her path into politics in a country seeking to forge a new identity while shining a light on the often insurmountable prejudices faced by Black women.

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Duration: :53:38

Downstream to Kinshasa

In 2000, thousands in Kisangani were killed or injured – the surviving victims of the Six-Day War have since been fighting for recognition and compensation. Tired of unsuccessful pleas, they embark to Kinshasa to voice their claims.
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Duration: :54:56

Restitution: Africa's Fight for its Art

Recount the story of the African artwork that fill Europe’s museums, and whose return is now being demanded. The film invites us to reconsider our cultural heritage and the role of museums in reinventing our relationship with Africa
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Duration: 59:18

Revolution from Afar

After the fall of Omar al-Bashir, Sudanese abroad pleaded for peaceful transition. Artists, whose families had left Sudan, perform in support of the revolution. The film is a conversation around identity, belonging and an uncertain future.
Duration: 58:28

Mama Gloria

Mama Gloria is a feature documentary about 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. It is the story of a mother’s love – the love that Gloria’s mother had for her and the love that Gloria has for her chosen children.
Duration: 56:40

Finding Sally

Finding Sally tells the incredible story of a 23-year-old woman from an upper-class family who became a communist rebel with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party. Idealistic and in love, Sally got caught up in her country’s revolutionary fervor and landed on the military government’s Most Wanted List. She went underground and her family never saw her again.
Duration: 57:50

Professional Black Girl

Covering everyday topics like hairstyles and hair care, personal fashion and style, Professional Black Girl (PBG) features a curated selection of episodes from the popular web series. Every story is like a conversation with a woman you know, whether it is your homegirl, your sister, your auntie, or your mama.
Duration: :58:12

Film Shorts

Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business: There’s no stopping the legendary artist Betye Saar, even at age 93. Pushing boundaries for 70 years, this portrait of artist Betye Saar shows she isn’t done fighting inequality in her personal and powerful work. Inside her LA studio, Saar talks about collecting objects, African American history, art as a weapon, and making people think.
Duration: :55:31

Bakosó: Afrobeats of Cuba

What does “Está Rico” by Marc Anthony, Will Smith & Bad Bunny have in common with “Made For Now” by Janet Jackson x Daddy Yankee? They both high-jacked AfroBeats and did not give the genre’s origin props. Bakosó is a film that does the opposite, following DJ Jigüe to his hometown of Santiago de Cuba to find inspiration from the new sounds.
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Duration: :1:26:44

The Ultimate Cultural Exchange

The 15th season of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange spotlights the power Black art has to reflect realities, restore spirits, celebrate triumphs, issue calls to action, and unite people across the African diaspora and around the world.

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Duration: :1:26:44

Episode 1: Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters

Trace the history and legacy of the 1989 ballet, “D-Man in the Waters.” It gave physical manifestation to the fear, anger, grief, and hope that Bill T. Jones and colleagues experienced as AIDS took the life of Arnie Zane and other troupe members. A film by by Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz.
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Duration: 56:43

Episode 2: Queen Kidjo

A guided tour of the life and spirit of international music icon and activist Angélique Kidjo. Featuring archival footage of the artist with Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz, and Ziggy Marley, the film also includes appearances by Alicia Keys and Yemi Alade. A film by Claire Duguet.
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Duration: 56:44

Episode 3: Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts

Born into slavery in 1853, Bill Traylor spent most of his life working the land in Alabama. This film is a compelling narrative about a man who, despite the hardships of legalized racism, produced a body of work exhibited in museums and collections worldwide. A film by Jeffrey Wolf.
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Duration: 56:44

Episode 4: The Sound of Masks

Mapiko is a traditional masked dance performed by the Makonde men of Northern Mozambique. Follow Atanásio Nyusi, a storyteller and legendary Mapiko dancer, as the film takes us on a visually dramatic journey through Mozambique’s past and its vibrant present. A film by Sara CF Gouveia.
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Duration: 56:43

Episode 5: Rewind & Play

In a 1969 interview, Thelonious Monk, one the 20th century’s most revered jazz luminaries, is seen in the grip of a violent factory of stereotypes. The film offers an unfiltered glimpse at the racial indignities some artistic geniuses are asked to endure. A film by Alain Gomis.
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Duration: 2:22

Meet Jei (they/them)

Janelle “Jei” Lawrence (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. They are an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College and Point Park University as well as an ASL and musical theatre teacher at Harvest Collegiate High School, where they chair the arts department. They are a regionally recognized composer and playwright and love to spend their available time meditating in nature.
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Duration: 2:28

Meet Brit (he/him) & Sharon (she/her)

BRIT FRYER (he/him) is a Brooklyn-based queer and trans filmmaker from Chicago. His process-based nonfiction films use the act of creating to imagine futures that aren’t here yet. His most recent documentary, THE SCRIPT explores the shared language that trans communities grapple with in order to access medical care.
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Duration: 2:10

Meet Maya (she/they)

DR. MAYA (she/they) is a transmasc pediatric dentist in Southern New Jersey. They work with kids ages 4 to 17. Their work is, predictably, very medical – a reminder to floss, a cavity filling. But sometimes their work concerns the quality of their patient’s experience as it relates to gender – after all there’s more than one way to protect a smile.
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Duration: 1:00

Why Vote? BE HEARD!

Hear what actor Erika Alexander and comedian/radio personality Brian Babylon have to say about voting in 2020. This is one of several videos featured in Black Public Media’s new BE HEARD! campaign.
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Duration: 1:00

Listen BE HEARD!

Instead of all the partisan rancor, political analysts Shermichael Singleton and Jehmu Greene suggest Americans need more listening.

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Duration: 1:00

Reparations BE HEARD!

Hear what actor Gabourey Sidibe and Ohio State Senator Nina Turner have to say about why reparations matters and how it might be administered. (Hint: It’s not what you might think.) This is one of several videos featured in Black Public Media’s new BE HEARD! campaign.
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Duration: 3:00

Covid Conversations Episode 1 of 4

Funding for this digital series is possible due to funding provided by the National Network to Innovate for COVID-19 and Adult Vaccine Equity (NNICE). The NNICE is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of their National Partnering for Vaccine Equity Initiative.
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Duration: 2:50

Covid Conversations Episode 2 of 4

Funding for this digital series is possible due to funding provided by the National Network to Innovate for COVID-19 and Adult Vaccine Equity (NNICE). The NNICE is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of their National Partnering for Vaccine Equity Initiative.
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Duration: 2:59

Covid Conversations Episode 3 of 4

Funding for this Digital Series is possible due to funding provided by the National Network to Innovate for COVID-19 and Adult Vaccine Equity (NNICE). The NNICE is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of their National Partnering for Vaccine Equity Initiative.
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Duration: 2:54

Covid Conversations Episode 4 of 4

Funding for this digital series is possible due to funding provided by the National Network to Innovate for COVID-19 and Adult Vaccine Equity (NNICE). The NNICE is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of their National Partnering for Vaccine Equity Initiative.
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Duration: 2:54

COVID CONVERSATIONS Episode 4 of 4

Funding for this digital series is possible due to funding provided by the National Network to Innovate for COVID-19 and Adult Vaccine Equity (NNICE). The NNICE is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of their National Partnering for Vaccine Equity Initiative.
Duration: 1:22:29

Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes

Experience the groundbreaking sounds of bebop pioneer and virtuoso composer Max Roach, whose far-reaching ambitions were inspired and challenged by the inequities of the society around him.

Duration: 1:25:13

Hazing

An Evanston, Illinois rookie alderwoman led the passage of the first tax-funded reparations bill for Black Americans. While she and her community struggle with the burden to make restitution for its citizens, a national racial crisis engulfs the country. Will the debt ever be addressed, or is it too late for a reparations movement to finally get the big payback?
Duration: 1:25:13

The Picture Taker

An Evanston, Illinois rookie alderwoman led the passage of the first tax-funded reparations bill for Black Americans. While she and her community struggle with the burden to make restitution for its citizens, a national racial crisis engulfs the country. Will the debt ever be addressed, or is it too late for a reparations movement to finally get the big payback?
Duration: 1:24:45

Storming Caesars Palace

After losing her job as a hotel worker in Las Vegas, Ruby Duncan joined a welfare rights group of mothers who defied notions of the “welfare queen.” In a fight for guaranteed income, Ruby and other equality activists took on the Nevada mob in organizing a massive protest that shut down Caesars Palace.
Duration: 1:25:13

The Big Payback

An Evanston, Illinois rookie alderwoman led the passage of the first tax-funded reparations bill for Black Americans. While she and her community struggle with the burden to make restitution for its citizens, a national racial crisis engulfs the country. Will the debt ever be addressed, or is it too late for a reparations movement to finally get the big payback?
Duration: 1:23:04

The Neutral Ground

The Neutral Ground documents New Orleans’ fight over monuments and America’s troubled romance with the Lost Cause. In 2015, director CJ Hunt was filming the New Orleans City Council’s vote to remove four confederate monuments. But when that removal is halted by lawsuits and death threats, CJ sets out to understand why a losing army from 1865 still holds so much power in America.
Duration: 1:25:44

Outta the Muck

Wade into the rich soil of Pahokee, Florida, a town on the banks of Lake Okeechobee. Beyond its football legacy, including sending over a dozen players to the NFL (like Anquan Boldin, Fred Taylor, and Rickey Jackson), the fiercely self-determined community tells their stories of Black achievement and resilience in the face of tragic storms and personal trauma.
Duration: 60:00

Fannie Lou Hamer's America

“Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave?” With those words at the 1964 Democratic Convention, Fannie Lou Hamer changed the course of Civil Rights forever. By working in the cotton fields of Mississippi from the age of six, Fannie Lou Hamer was keenly aware of the racial injustices that forced her family to labor so much while earning so little.
Duration: 56:43

The American Diplomat

Discover the legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey whose dances center on the Black American experience with grace, strength and beauty. Featuring previously unheard audio interviews with Ailey, interviews with those close to him and an intimate glimpse into the Ailey studios today.
Duration: 1:22:35

Let the Little Light Shine

National Teachers Academy (NTA) is considered a beacon for Black children: a top-ranked, high-performing elementary school in the fastest growing neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. As the neighborhood gentrifies, a wealthy parents’ group seeks to close NTA and replace it with a high school campus. How will NTA’s community fight to save their beloved institution?
Duration: 1:53:01

Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands

Discover an international singer who captivated royalty in Europe and defied the conscience of 1939 America. Watch rare archival footage and hear audio recordings exploring her life and career from the Metropolitan Opera to the State Department.
Duration: 56:43

Ailey

Discover the legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey whose dances center on the Black American experience with grace, strength and beauty. Featuring previously unheard audio interviews with Ailey, interviews with those close to him and an intimate glimpse into the Ailey studios today.