February is Black History Month, and new content celebrating Black stories in TV and film is on the way.
During Black History Month, many channels will air specials and non-fiction programs that highlight black leaders in politics, entertainment and social justice. PBS will premiere specials about civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer and singer Marian Anderson, while Starz will premiere a feature-length documentary about Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
Additionally, the Smithsonian Channel will launch a four-part miniseries tracing the origins and exploring the legacy of slavery around the world. Along with new documentaries and docuseries, streaming channels like Tubi will offer hundreds of hours of film noir to watch, as well as original fiction programming.
See the full list of Black History Month programs below. (This list will be updated as more titles are announced).
“Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power” (February 1, Starz) — This feature-length documentary follows the career of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, known for her racial justice activism and her work with the Black Panther Party and who opposed the authorization of military force after 9/11. Besides Lee, interviewees include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cory Booker, Alice Walker, John Lewis, Van Jones, Ayanna Pressley, Lisa Blunt Rochester and Danny Glover. Abby Ginzberg is directing and producing with executive producer Jonathan Logan, consulting producer Shola Lynch and impact producer Joslyn Rose Lyons. Greenwich Entertainment distributes.
“Our Kind of People” (February 2, Tubi) –– The first season of the Fox original series will be added to Tubi’s library in February. The Lee Daniels-produced show is inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham’s 1999 book, “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class,” and is set in the traditionally Black Martha’s Vineyard town of Oak Bluffs. The series stars Yaya DaCosta (“Chicago Med”), as a single mother attempting to launch a hair care line for a black woman who learns a dark secret from her mother’s past. The series was created by Karin Gist (“Gray’s Anatomy”) and also stars Morris Chestnut (“The Resident”). In addition to ‘Our Kind of People’, Tubi will stream thousands of hours of black cinema during Black History Month, with titles such as the award-winning documentary ‘I am Not Your Negro’, ‘Sorry to Bother You”, “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Bessie” with Queen Latifah.
“Screen Queens Rising” (ABC, February 3) — ABC News’ “Soul of a Nation” will return with “Screen Queens Rising,” a special that will explore the rise of pioneering black actresses in American entertainment and culture in recent years. Hosted by ABC News Live Prime anchor Linsey Davis and ABC News senior national affairs correspondent Deborah Roberts, the special will include interviews with Tessa Thompson, Halle Berry, Debbie Allen, Jackée Harry, Marla Gibbs and Regina. Lobby. An “In the Kitchen” discussion moderated by “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin will also be featured. “Soul of a Nation Presents: Screen Queens Rising” airs on ABC on Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. ET.
“X/onerated – The Murder of Malcolm X and 55 Years of Justice” (ABC, Feb. 3) – “Soul of a Nation” will also feature “X/onerated – The Murder of Malcolm X and 55 Years to Justice,” which profiles Muhammad Abdul Aziz, who was wrongfully convicted of 1965 assassination of Malcolm X Featuring an interview with Aziz (conducted by ABC News’ “Nightline” co-anchor Byron Pitts), the special will trace the assassination of Malcolm X, Aziz’s decades behind the bars and the new joint investigation that ultimately led to Aziz being exonerated in November 2019. 2021. “X/onerated” will also include interviews with lawyers, activists and relatives of Aziz and Malcom X – as well than the late Khalil Islam, who was also wrongfully convicted of the assassination of Malcolm X and posthumously exonerated. “X/onerated” airs on ABC on February 3 at 9 p.m. ET.
“Howard High” (February 4, Tubi) –– Based on a 2020 TV miniseries of the same name that also airs on Tubi, “Howard High” is a musical drama that follows a group of high school students who enter a contest with a rival school to save their arts program. Produced by Footage Films and directed by Christopher B. Stokes, “Howard High” stars Chrissy Stokes (“Southland”), Anthony Lewis (Madea’s Farewell Play) and R&B singer Keith Sweat. An original soundtrack will be released the same day on all digital platforms.
“A Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story” (February 7, Smithsonian Channel) – This four-part documentary series explores the legacy of slavery around the world as prominent black actors, celebrities and influencers, including Debbie Allen, Valerie Jarrett, Lorraine Toussaint, Soledad O’Brien, CCH Pounder, Senator Cory Booker, Marc Morial and Dulé Hill set out on a journey to confront his personal connection to slavery and its lasting impact today. “One Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story” follows the British version of the series called “1000 Years A Slave”. “A Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story” is produced by Courtney B. Vance’s Angela Bassett and Bassett Vance Productions. The MTV Entertainment Studios and Smithsonian Channel project is also produced by Uplands Television Ltd and Channel 5. The limited series, which will be narrated by Courtney B. Vance, is set to debut every Monday in February in the United States and Canada at 8 p.m. pm ET. /PT, and will also be released in Latin America later this year.
“American Masters: Marian Anderson: The Whole World In Her Hands” (February 8, PBS) – This two-hour special follows the life and career of internationally acclaimed singer Marian Anderson, from the Metropolitan Opera to her time as a Goodwill Ambassador for the US State Department, with archival footage and rare audio recordings.
“Just a Mortal Man – The Jerry Lawson Story” (February 10, PBS and World Channel) — This new documentary will delve into the life of Jerry Lawson, “The King of A cappella”. Lawson founded and sang The Persuasions, which paved the way for other bands like Boyz II Men, Pentatonix and Take 6. “Just a Mortal Man – The Jerry Lawson Story” is directed and produced by Miles Merritt and Gail Kempler of Santa Fe-based M/K Productions, NM Miles Merritt and Staci Griesbach are executive producers, with Hope Kelley serving as associate producer.
“American Reckoning” (February 15, PBS) – This feature-length documentary delves into the civil rights era and racist violence while following the still-unsolved 1960s murder of Wharlest Jackson, a local NAACP leader in Natchez, Mississippi, and the the Jackson family. The documentary is directed and produced by Brad Lichtenstein and Yoruba Richen. In partnership with Retro Report, “American Reckoning” will air on Frontline (PBS), Youtube and stream on the PBS video app.
“Pass the Mic” (February 16, Tubi) –– Produced by Fox Alternative Entertainment, this two-hour musical documentary will look into the careers of three of the most popular musical artists working today: Lizzo, Lil Nas X and Kendrick Lamar.
“Fannie Lou Hamer’s America: A Special Cropped in America” (February 22, PBS) –– From World Channel, Black Public Media and American Documentary, this special tells the story of Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi-born sharecropper who became a leader in the civil rights movement and co-founder of the Democratic Freedom Party. The special tells Hamer’s story through recordings of his speeches and interviews, as well as never-before-seen archive footage and family photos, and was produced in part by his great-niece Monica Land. It airs at 9:00 a.m. ET. Other Black History Month programs on PBS include the Independent Lens special “Owned: A Tale of Two America’s” (February 7), three episodes of the Henry Louis Gates Jr. series “Finding Your Roots (February 8, 15 and 22). ) and the Frontline special “An American Reckoning” (February 15). Additionally, PBS will rerun content this month, including all four parts of the 2021 Muhammad Ali miniseries.