THE APOLLO, directed by Oscar® and Emmy® winner Roger Ross Williams, chronicles the legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater, covering the rich history of the storied performance space over its 85 years. What began as a refuge for marginalized artists emerged as a hallowed hall of black excellence and empowerment.
The Black Kung Fu Experience focuses on how Ron Van Clief, Dennis Brown, Tayari Casel, and Don Hamby became respected masters in a subculture dominated by Chinese and white men. Their stories illustrate how kung fu is a unique crucible of the black experience, and demonstrate that the legacy of kung fu is less about flash and style, and more about community, identity, and cross-cultural bridges.
In 2013 in Sanford, Florida, vigilante George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin. As a result, the struggle against police violence flared up under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and turned into one of the biggest grassroots movements in the United States. This film interviewed co-founder Patrisse Cullors about the various forms of violence against black citizens, and why resistance is essential.
This one-hour verité documentary shows a day in the life of a successful barbershop on Harlem’s 125th Street. The film shows the vital role community barbershops play as a forum for black men to discuss any topic, whether controversial or banal, sacred or profane, political or personal, in an environment of heated debate and/or male fellowship.
James Baldwin was at once a major 20th-century American author, a civil rights activist, and a prophetic voice calling Americans, black and white both, to confront their shared racial tragedy. This film biography of Baldwin’s life captures the passion of his beliefs with stirring excerpts from his novels and striking archival footage dating from the Harlem Renaissance through to the author’s commentary on civil rights to his writing retreats in Istanbul and Europe.
Once reserved for African royalty, kente cloth has become a familiar pattern in American culture. Narrated by Tony Award-winning actress Ann Duquesnay, this program traces how kente cloth crossed the Atlantic from the West African Republic of Ghana at the beginning of the civil rights movement to literally become part of the fabric of American life.
Emancipation ended slavery but only to replace it with an American form of apartheid, euphemistically known as Jim Crow, used to keep African Americans as second-class citizens. This four-part series constitutes a major cinematic achievement covering the years between Reconstruction and Civil Rights.
Winner of numerous awards, most notably the Nobel Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison made it possible for a new generation of African-American writers to have a voice in the mainstream literary dialogue. Her evocative, multilayered tales illuminate the black experience and have the power to change how readers look at American history. In this program, Morrison explains her statement that “American literature is incoherent without the contribution of African-American writers.”
This inspiring documentary examines the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps—the Tuskegee Airmen. These 450 black men fought the Nazis in World War II and, back in America, they fought prejudice, bigotry, and racism. Extraordinary airmen, they remain today the only fighter group never to have lost one of their bombers to enemy fire. Trained by the segregated military system, their successes led to the integration of the United States armed forces.
The Tuskegee Airmen tells the dramatic, true story of the first African-American fighter pilots, the Red Tails. Through action-packed computer animations, historical reenactments, and dynamic archival sequences, audiences are taken on an immersive journey to witness the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen.