PBS Celebrates Black History Month With Special Programs & New Website

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What’s up Music Movie Family?  Last February, I shared a few of my favorite movie and tv program recommendations in honor of Black History Month.  But this year, PBS has it going on with its plan to celebrate Black History Month with special programs and a new Black Culture Connection website that connects PBS programming to digital resources (find out more at http://www.pbs.org/black-culture/explore/black-history-month-facts-and-films/#.UQswT79fCSo).  The schedule lineup is as outlined below, and most films listed will also be available via streaming video on the PBS website.

PIONEERS OF TELEVISION – In the episode “Miniseries,” premiering Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 8:00-9:00 pm EST, hear “Roots” stars LeVar Burton, Louis Gossett, Jr., Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, John Amos, Georg Stanford Brown and Ed Asner talk about the epic broadcast.

LIFECASTERS – premiering Thursday, February 7, 2013, 9:00-10:00 pm EST (check local listings), unites fiction and documentary film-makers to tell stories of Americans who use their strength, creativity and determination to reach their goals – a bit later in life. In one segment, Oscar-nominees Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert observe African-American dancer Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, one of the oldest female professional dancers still practicing in the U.S.

Whitney M. Young, Jr. was one of the most celebrated, and controversial, leaders of the civil rights era. In INDEPENDENT LENS “The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights,” premiering Monday, February 18, 10:00-11:00 pm EST, follow his journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League.

In AMERICAN MASTERS “Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll,” premiering Friday, February 22, 2013, 9:00-10:00 pm EST, discover the life, music and influence of African-American gospel singer and guitar virtuoso Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973).  One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Tharpe may not be a household name today, but the flamboyant superstar, with her spectacular playing on the newly electrified guitar, had a major influence on black musicians, including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Isaac Hayes and Etta James, and on white stars such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

In MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA, a PBS film about the modern American Women’s Movement, premiering Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 8:00-11:00 pm EST, one segment explores stories of how 1960s Civil Rights leaders helped inspire the pioneers of the modern American Women’s Movement. In addition, the film tells the stories of many groundbreaking African-American women, such as Barbara Smith, who started Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press to give women inroads into publishing, civil rights activist Diane Nash, & Yale-educated lawyer Eleanor Holmes Norton, a civil rights veteran who now serves in the House of Representatives.

Gwen Ifill interviews Berry Gordy, founder in 1959 of Motown Records, which became the most successful African-American-owned enterprise in the United States, in AN EVENING WITH BERRY GORDY, airing in February 2013 (check local listings). Gordy’s celebrated life as entrepreneur, songwriter, record producer, movie director and producer has left an indelible influence on music & films nationally and internationally. Performing tribute songs, that represent the old and new school Motown, are Valerie Simpson (Ashford & Simpson) and R&B musician KEM. Gordy’s son, Stefan Gordy, known to the music world as Redfoo  &  one half of the hip-hop musical group, LMFAO, will be in attendance.

In addition to the above, PBS will air encore programming to include:

AMERICAN MASTERS “Cab Calloway: Sketches” –  February 2013 (check local listings). Explore the life of this pioneering jazz legend, who charmed audiences with his bravado and showmanship.

BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA – February 2013 (check local listings).  Travel with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he uncovers Latin America’s African roots.

FREEDOM RIDERS: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE – February 2013 (check local listings).  Find inspiration in the story of the young civil-rights activists who journeyed through the Deep South in 1961.

INDEPENDENT LENS “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” – February 2013 (check local listings).  Take a cinematic and musical journey into the black communities of America, 1967-1975.

INDEPENDENT LENS “Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” – February 2013 (check local listings).  Learn why this unconventional revolutionary paid dearly for her instant fame.

INDEPENDENT LENS “More Than a Month” – February 2013 (check local listings).  Find out why an African-American filmmaker wants to end Black History Month.

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE WILLIAM STILL STORY – Friday, February 15, 2013, 10:30-11:30 pm EST.  Hear the story of William Still, a free black man who accepted delivery of “human cargo” on the Underground Railroad.

SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME – Friday, February 22, 2013, 10:00-11:30 pm EST.  Explore the story of labor practices and laws that effectively created a new form of slavery in the South. Laurence Fishburne narrates.

Alright family, don’t say you couldn’t find anything to watch! 😛  And if you’re looking for that program & movie list from last year, click here: https://musicmoviesthoughts.com/2012/02/02/in-honor-of-black-history-month/. Lastly, you can begin the celebration on Friday, February 1st, by watching the NAACP Image Awards, which will air live at 8 pm EST on NBC.  This year’s program will be hosted by actor/comedian/talk show host Steve Harvey, with in-house announcer (and Mr. smooth talking insurance salesman himself) Dennis Haysbert.  And speaking of Mr. Haysbert, who supported LUV?  Remember the motto: support independent film (especially opening weekend 😉 ).

Until next thought, Thomasena



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