Viewers will take a journey of hope as the public television series AfroPoP: The Ultimate Exchange returns for its eighth season on WORLD Channel this winter. The documentary series’ travel companions are diverse and brave souls from three continents and the Caribbean. The program premieres on WORLD Channel on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18, at eight p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT—check local listings—with new episodes premiering weekly through Monday, February 15. AfroPoP is produced by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and co-presented by American Public Television (APT). APT distributes the series to the full public television system in February 2016.
“With each season of AfroPoP, we introduce audiences to new places, people, and perspectives to expand their understanding of the African Diaspora today. Season eight’s stories are just as beautifully and poignantly told but will take audiences closer to the emotional and spiritual heart of the people, places and cultures of Trinidad, East and West Africa and even here in the U.S. and Europe,” said NBPC Director of Programs and Acquisitions Kay Shaw. “Audiences should get ready for a very special journey.”
“WORLD Channel is excited to help showcase Season 8 of AfroPoP with our partners at APT.,” said WORLD Executive Producer Chris Hastings. “With our mission to bring audiences diverse and unique stories from around the world, AfroPoP’s films of the African Diaspora are a critical addition to WORLD’s offerings.”
As immigration and refugee concerns dominate the news, AfroPoP takes on migration and asylum head on. The series begins its journey on the Saharan shores of the Atlantic Ocean as an African immigrant sets off to Europe with buoyant expectations of a better life. Director Ditte Haarløv Johnsen’s Days of Hope (January 18) is a nuanced look at the unflinching courage of three West African migrants who cross the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean in a search for opportunity and safety.
The next stop is the Caribbean with Pan! Our Music Odyssey (January 25), a joyful celebration of the melodious steel drum. Directors Jérôme Guiot and Thierry Teston explore the magical instrument from its development in Trinidad to its celebration around the world, as bands from across the globe gather to compete in the ultimate steel band competition: Panorama.
Heading to São Vicente in Cape Verde, we meet Tchinda, a transgender woman who is so cherished that her name has become synonymous with LBGT people in the area. Pablo García Pérez de Lara and Marc Serena’s Tchindas (February 1) follows the important character, out and proud since 1998, as she and her cohorts prepare for the beloved annual carnival.
The festivities continue as AfroPoP travels to Oakland, California—a city with a reputation as one of the most dangerous in America—as it works to rebrand itself through its successful First Fridays monthly street festival. The murder of a young Black man sends the city reeling, threatening the very survival of this community celebration and, perhaps, the town’s very renaissance. First Fridays (February 8) by N’Jeri Eaton and Mario Furloni follows six Oakland figures as their lives connect one Friday at this showcase of art and culture.
The journey ends with the ultimate expression of hope—our youth—with shorts from the west and east coasts of Africa (Monday, February 15). Nosarieme Garrick’s My Africa Is, set in the bustling, modern city of Nairobi, introduces viewers to dynamic youth envisioning a new Kenya—designers, inventors and musicians changing the face of their communities through innovation and entrepreneurship. Terence Nance and Blitz the Ambassador’s Native Sun helps viewers see Ghana through the eyes and dreams of an eight-year-old in search of his father.
AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is produced by Angela Tucker and directed by Duana Butler. The series is produced with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowment for the Arts.
For details on AfroPoP, visit www.blackpublicmedia.org. To find out when and where to watch, including additional air dates for each of the episodes, check your local listings or go to www.APTonline.org.