Queen Kidjo will hold court during season 15 of the award-winning documentary series AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange. French director Claire Duguet’s film about the internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo — available at midnight on Monday, April 3, on WORLDChannel.org, WORLD Channel’s YouTube channel and Black Public Media’s YouTube channel, the PBS App and other streaming platforms — will premiere as episode two of the series on WORLD Channel on Monday, April 10, at 8 p.m. ET. Coproduced by Black Public Media (BPM) and WORLD Channel, AfroPoP is distributed and copresented by American Public Television (APT). An accompanying AfroPoP Artist Chat with Kidjo, called one of the 100 most influential women in the world by Forbes Afrique and the BBC, and among the TIME 100 most influential people of 2021, will stream on Black Public Media’s Instagram account (@blackpublicmedia) and YouTube channel as an accompaniment to the film.
In Queen Kidjo, the five-time Grammy® winner reflects on her birth in Benin and successful musical career there, her inspiration from singers James Brown, Miriam Makeba and Bella Bellow, and her launch into superstardom where she brought African music to the world. The dynamic film depicts the boundless energy of Kidjo and her impact on the music landscape and the world through her artistry and activism around issues of equality and women’s rights. Whether cutting a rug with President Barack Obama or performing a tribute to Harry Belafonte at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Kidjo’s musical gifts and vitality — which have influenced many generations — are on display. The film includes appearances by Yemi Alade, Chris Blackwell, David Byrne, David Donatien,Peter Gabriel, Alicia Keys, Yo-Yo Ma, Ibrahim Maalouf, Ziggy Marley, Youssou N’Dour, and more sharing memories and reflections about the African songstress.
Ahead of the new season of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange,Kidjo sat down with series director-producer Denise A. Greene for a lively conversation about art, activism and the staying power of her career.
“Every album is a new beginning. Every show is a new show because every day is not the same. We accept that yesterday is different from today and that’s how I live my life,” said Kidjo. “That’s how I pursue my career, always open for opportunities and always open to learn something on a daily basis, to discover something new and to keep this tradition of transmission and storytelling where I come from … because our life is a journey.”
Season 15 of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange premieres on WORLD Channel beginning Monday, April 3, at 8 p.m. ET with Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz’s Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters, a film about celebrated choreographer-director Bill T. Jones and the seminal dance he created in response to the devastation of the AIDS crisis.
Queen Kidjo is followed on Monday, April 10 at 8 p.m. ET, by Jeffrey Wolf’s Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts, a portrait of an extraordinary self-taught octogenarian artist. Born into slavery in 19th century Alabama, Traylor, whose prolific work was largely overlooked by the art world during his lifetime, captured southern Black American life and customs as one century gave way to the next. The film airs on Monday, April 17, at 8 p.m. ET.
Rounding out the season on WORLD Channel at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 24, and Monday, May 1, respectively, are Sara CF de Gouveia’s The Sound of Masks, which follows a Mozambican dancer working to keep the traditional masked dance of Mapiko alive; and Alain Gomis’s Rewind & Play, which brings viewers into a French state television studio and a flagrantly disrespectful 1969 interview of jazz icon Thelonious Monk.
Season 15 will be released at midnight on April 3 for streaming on WORLDChannel.org; WORLD Channel’s YouTube channel; Black Public Media’s YouTube channel. Queen Kidjo and the rest of the documentaries will also stream on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS app; iOS; Android; Roku streaming devices; Apple TV; Android TV; Amazon Fire TV; Samsung Smart TV; Chromecast and VIZIO.
On May 1, APT will release the season for broadcast via public television stations across the country. Check local listings.