The acclaimed documentary series AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, which examines art, daily life, and culture throughout the African diaspora, is celebrating its 15th season.
With a deep dive into Black art, the award-winning series presents an entire season centered around a single theme for the first time. From Benin to France to Mozambique and the United States, viewers get to tap into Black culture and life through the lens of internationally recognized artists.
Co-produced by Black Public Media (BPM) and WORLD Channel, the 15th season of the documentary series highlights the stories of Black artists, including the pioneering choreographer/dancer/director Bill T. Jones, international recording star and activist Angélique Kidjo and iconic jazz musician Thelonious Monk.
“When we created AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, it was our hope that we would be able to bring stories of modern Black life to public media audiences and help augment viewers’ ideas of what Black life is and can be,” said BPM executive director and AfroPoP executive producer, Leslie Fields-Cruz in a press release.
“Witnessing the series reach its 15th season, a landmark that is the result of the work and drive of so many people over the years, is an awe-inspiring and humbling moment that fills me with great gratitude,” she added.
The series, which shines the spotlight on all corners of the African diaspora, launched in 2008. This new season which premiered on April 3, will feature weekly episodes through May 1 on WORLD Channel.
Here is more on a few of this season’s films you don’t want to miss!
International music superstar and activist Angélique Kidjo’s career and global impact are explored in this illuminating work. The film follows Kidjo as she reflects on her journey from her roots in Benin to her reign as a global African music legend. The movie takes viewers behind the scenes with Angélique as she sings, records, and recalls her groundbreaking musical career. Celebrities from the music world, including Alicia Keys, Yo-Yo Ma, Yemi Alade, Ziggy Marley, and others, reflect on her legacy and impact.
Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters
“D-Man in the Waters,” a classic ballet by renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones, was studied by Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz. The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company presented the groundbreaking work of art for the first time in 1989 in response to the tragic effects the AIDS crisis had on its members and friends. Decades later, former company member turned dance professor LeBlanc — and Jones — work to bring the dance to life with contemporary students born well after the height of the global health crisis.
The Sound Of Masks
The Mapiko, a traditional masked dance performed only by male residents of the Makonde village in northern Mozambique, is shown by director Sara CF de Gouveia and prize-winning dancer Atanásio Nyusi, who sought to preserve the practice. This in-depth examination of the Mapiko tradition offers a view into Mozambique’s colonial past and liberation fight and also pays tribute to Nyusi, who passed away in 2022.