‘AfroPoP’ Opens with ‘Black Panther Woman’ on MLK Day

The 10th anniversary season of the documentary series AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange opens with Rachel Perkins’ Black Panther Woman, a look back at the Black Panther Party in Australia, and a legacy tarnished by #MeToo charges from one of the women involved in that movement. AfroPoP X is hosted by actor Nicholas L. Ashe, who stars in the hit OWN TV series Queen Sugar. AfroPoP, the nation’s only public television series of contemporary stories about Black life, art and culture around the globe, premieres on WORLD Channel at 8 p.m. ET (10 p.m. PT) on Monday, January 15 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The show is produced by Black Public Media (formerly known as National Black Programming Consortium) and co-presented by distributor American Public Television (APT).

The film chronicles the life of Marlene Cummins, who was an uneducated teenager in 1972 when she became involved with Australia’s Black Panther Party, joining with nine other young Aboriginal people in the Black Power struggle inspired by the American Black Panther party. Over the course of a year, the group led protests and community programs, and she began a relationship with the head of the chapter. But internal and external struggles arose, devastating her. To protect the movement, she remained silent for more than four decades about her #MeToo moment, the rape she suffered at the hands of two indigenous leaders. In Black Panther Woman, she opens up about the abuse and the addiction that followed. Cummins also travels to the United States for an international gathering of Black Panthers, reflecting on the global struggle. The film took the Jury Special Prize at the 2015 Festival du Film Océanien (FIFO) and the International Indigenous Award at the 2015 Wairoa Maori Film Festival.

“Marlene’s courage and commitment to making a difference in her community despite the abuse she suffered is an all-too-familiar story of women globally,” said BPM Director of Programs and Acquisitions and AfroPoP Executive Producer Kay Shaw. “We are so fortunate that she consented to tell her story with such honesty. As her openness is helping her recovery, we hope it will help other women confront their pain to begin their healing.”

The five-week series continues with Marco Williams’ Lonnie Holley: The Truth of the Dirt, Michael Fequiere’s Kojo and Jessica Beshir’s He Who Dances on Wood (January 22); Between 2 Shores (January 29), Mariette Monpierre’s gripping documentary about two Dominican women fighting to bring their children with them to their new lives in Guadeloupe, highlights a struggle faced by many immigrants today: family reunification; Ten Days in Africa (February 5), Regi Allen’s humorous and insightful look at his trip to West Africa to explore the differences and similarities between Africans and African-Americans, a special encore broadcast from the first year of AfroPoP; and Fatal Assistance (February 12), award-winning filmmaker Raoul Peck’s scathing indictment of global aid policies that failed Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake’s aftermath. Peck was a recent Oscar nominee for I Am Not Your Negro, which was funded in part by BPM.

New episodes of the series will air weekly through February 12, with APT releasing the program to public television stations across the U.S. in February 2018. Films will also be streamed the day after their broadcast premiere on all station-branded PBS platforms, including worldchannel.org, PBS.org, and on PBS apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast.

AfroPoP is produced by Angela Tucker and directed by Duana Butler with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.
To find out more about the series, visit www.blackpublicmedia.org. For viewing information, check local listings or www.APTonline.org. For details about Black Panther Woman, visit Facebook (@blackpantherwomandocumentary).

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