02/01/23: Black History Month Highlights

Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday February 1, 2023

Black History Month Matters

Black History Month commemorates the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans, and their integral role in shaping the country and its culture. While Chris Rock once joked that being Black is only “in” in February, and that “Black History Month is the shortest month of the year, and the coldest – just in case we want to have a parade,” the monthlong event represents what is ideally an all-year-long dedication.

You may have seen the videos that circulated the Internet in September of children reacting to the trailer of “The Little Mermaid” live action film starring Halle Bailey. Or watched “The 1619 Project” from the New York Times and Nikole Hannah-Jones on Hulu, in which the legacy of slavery is reframed in modern America. The significance of remembering, portraying and allying with a culture can remind viewers and listeners about the meaning behind, and reason for, Black History Month. TV may be a business, but consumers increasingly choose companies that align authentically with their values and further contribute to the culture, and the intentionality of TV programming for Black History Month can inspire engagement beyond the 28-day limit.

Cynopsis’ special report offers a selection of highlights of what’s coming up in February, as well as what networks look for when they program for Black History Month.

By Charlotte Dulany

 

AspireTV

Black Movie Magic

February 3: “My Other Mother” at 9p, “Steps of Faith” at 11p 

February 10: “The Bounce Back: at 9p and 11p

February 17: “Grandma’s House” at 9p, “Between Sisters” at 11p

February 24: “The Love Letter” at 9p, “Falling in Love Again” at 11p

Black History Month Marathons – Every Sunday 5p-8p

February 5: “6 Minutes to Glory…The HBCU Experience”

February 12: “Butter + Brown”  

February 19: “World Wide Nate”  

February 26: “G. Garvin Live!”  

Bounce TV

Black History themed films will air every Friday night in February at 8p, with Black History titles throughout the day.

February 3: “The Rough” and “Pride”
February 10: “Devil in a Blue Dress” and “Crooklyn”
February 17: “Higher Learning” and “1 Angry Black Man”
February 24: “Beauty Shop” and “I Can Do Bad All By Myself”

Bounce XL, E.W. Scripps (OTT Network, Samsung Plus channel 1061)
“The Big Bounce”: February 2 at 8p; February 15 at 10p
“Bounce Celebrates Black History”: February 1 at 8p; February 7 at 11p; February 10 at 6p; February 15 at 7p; February 19 at 4:30p; February 21 at 12a; February 23 at 9p; February 25 at 12p
“Everybody Loves Chris Rock”: February 4 at 12a
“Michelle Obama: Life After The White House”: February 16 at 8p; February 25 at 12a
“The Black Emperor of Broadway”: February 2 at 12a; February 18 at 1p; February 26 at 1p

“Bounce TV and BounceXL honor the Black community everyday – it’s more than just a month. That’s why this year, Bounce TV will kick off its 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop celebration to recognize Hip Hop’s importance in Black history and its everlasting impact across the globe, featuring Roxanne Shante and Grandmaster Flash talking about the importance of Hip Hop as a cultural moment and why it should be viewed as Black history. In addition, both Bounce TV and BounceXL have curated line-ups of movies and specials that celebrate the many facets of Black life and contributions of Black Americans, past and present.” – Cheryle Harrison, GM of Bounce TV

FOX News Media

FOX News Media will run vignettes profiling Black individuals throughout the month across the network and our platforms, entitled: “America Together – Celebrating Diversity” beginning February 1.

“AT FNM we hope to provide exposure to and education about those who have made significant contributions to American lives – past, present, and future – as Black Americans. It’s important for us to leverage our platforms and their global reach to give space for diverse voices and experiences not just during Black History Month, but every day and month in the year.” – Marsheila Hayes, VP, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Fox Corporation

FOX

“Back to School with Gus Johnson”: Saturday, February 18 at 7p
From the broadcast booth to Harvard lecture room, the documentary begins with his childhood in Detroit, studies at Howard University, the rise of his broadcasting career, and his recent return to academia at Harvard.

Fuse

As part of its “All In with Black History Month” programming, Fuse will air a block each Wednesday of “My Wife and Kids,” one of the longest-running Black American sitcoms of the early 2000s, starring Damon Wayans and Tisha Campbell: February 1, 2-4p; February 8, 7-10p; February 15, 3-5p; February 22, 3-6p

Fuse will also air a block of episodes of “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” on Thursdays at 8p.

Shades of Black
The Fuse channel dedicated to Black representation will air special Black History Month programming between 10:00 am-3:00 pm every Wednesday:

February 1
11:30a – 3p
“Good Hair” (documentary)
“Dear White People” (film)

February 8
11:30a – 3:30p
“More Than A Game”(documentary); “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners”(documentary)

February 15
10a – 1p
“JustUs(documentary); “Fresh Dressed” (documentary)

February 22
12:30p – 3:30p
“The Women of Brewster Place” (miniseries)”

“Fuse’s core mission of elevating and celebrating underrepresented voices means we focus on diversity year-round. For example, 100% of our original series feature people of color. In addition to airing special programming, we also like to turn Black History Month on its head and celebrate Future Black History – identifying tomorrow’s superstars today, with emerging artists, actors, activists, political figures, and other notables.” – Marc Leonard, Senior VP, Head of Content and Marketing at Fuse Media

INSP

“Buffalo Soldiers”
February 11 at 9p PT
Starring Danny Glover, Timothy Busfield and Carl Lumbly, “Buffalo Soldiers” follows an all-Black US Cavalry Troop unit that pursues an Apache leader in the New Mexico territory shortly after the Civil War.

“INSP attracts an intensely loyal audience that largely looks to INSP for classic Westerns throughout the schedule. Given limited opportunities to deviate from this dominant branding, we support Black History Month Largely through stories with African-American elements and talent featured in our classic programming. In particular, this year we will be highlighting the film, ‘Buffalo Soldiers,’ starring Danny Glover.” – John Roos, Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications and Research, INSP

LATV

LATV will celebrate Black History and Afro-Latino history, featuring special programming on Premium LATV shows including Cultura Shock, The Q Agenda, Shades of Beauty and Blacktinidad. Content across these shows will focus on empowerment, education and celebration throughout the month.

February 6 at 7p: “Cultura Shock”
February 16 at 7p: “The Q Agenda”
February 24 at 7:30p:“Shades of Beauty”
February 10 at 7p: “Blacktinidad”

LATV joins in the observance of Black History Month through programming that reflects the creativity, experience, and expression of the black creators because there is still so much to learn and so much work to be done. We take this month to reflect, learn and recommit to our values of providing opportunities and a platform for black creators year-round. – Andres Palencia, CEO, LATV

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MagellanTV

Documentary streamer MagellanTV curated a playlist of documentaries and docuseries that highlight Black luminaries and important moments in Black history. The below titles are available 24/7 on the streaming service for subscribers.

“Toni Morrison: Black Matters” (free for non-subscribers)
“The Fight for the Black Middle Class”
“For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots”
“Jayhawkers: The True Story of Phog Allen and Wilt Chamberlain”
“A Ripple of Hope”

“Exploration, education and entertainment are core tenets of all MagellanTV content, and our Black History Month playlist is no exception. The series and films we’re featuring spotlight some of the most crucial moments and extraordinary individuals throughout history, and we’re proud to host these titles on our platform.” – MagellanTV Managing Director Greg Diefenbach

NBC

February 18 at 11a: “Harlem Globetrotters: Play It Forward”

“As we expand our impact with the Globetrotters on and off the court…..it’s important that we stay true to our mission of bringing families closer together and creating memories worth repeating. Extensions like “Play it Forward” are helping us to do just that.” – Keith Dawkins, President, Harlem Globetrotters and Herschend Entertainment Studios

Netflix

February 15: “African Queens: Njinga”
Narrated by executive producer Jada Pinkett Smith, the documentary series explores the lives of prominent and iconic African Queens. The first season will cover Njinga, the 17th Century warrior queen of Ndongo and Matamba, in modern day Angola.

“Black History Month is all year round for me – but I’d like to think that for all of us, it’s a time to discover something perhaps you didn’t know about the black diaspora. We know there are events and people in black history that have been forgotten or are little known, so it’s always exciting when we get to reveal those stories. ‘African Queens’ is one such story.” – Executive Producer Maxine Watson

NFL Network

NFL Network and its digital platforms have produced three features for Black History Month, as they relate to the impact of race on sports in America.

February 7 at 3p: “A True American Hero: The Rise of the Black Cowboy”
February 7 at 8p: “The Jimmy Raye Project”
February 21 at 12p: “The Godfather and the Gunslinger”

“Black History Month programming that broadens the lens on the varied and rich aspects of Black history and culture, not just stories of overcoming struggle and hardships, or focusing on the same well-known names and stories. We look for programming that celebrates achievements past and present that show the contributions of the Black community to the arts, science, politics, and humanity.” – Angela Ellis, VP of Entertainment & Initiatives, NFL Media

Noggin

“Rhymes Through Times” – Currently streaming
In this animated children’s series, familiar characters introduce African American history through original music.

Noggin is Nick Jr.‘s learning platform for kids ages 2 to 7, so we look for Black History Month kids’ programming that celebrates Black culture and historical figures – like our animated musical series Rhymes Through Times. Not only does Rhymes Through Times showcase heroes who may not have made it into our children’s textbooks, it also embraces a social justice approach that focuses on building kids’ social and emotional skills – like celebrating diversity, discovering identity, and inspiring the next generation of upstanders.”

Paramount+/SHOWTIME

The first is a series titled “Boys in Blue,” currently streaming on SHOWTIME. It will remain available The second series is “Stand,” which will premiere on Friday, February 3.

“Boys in Blue” (four-part docuseries) – currently streaming
February 3 at 9p: “Stand,” an examination of the life of basketball star and social justice activist Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

As a part of Paramount Global’s Content for Change initiative, ‘Boys in Blue’ continues the company’s mission to harness the power of storytelling to challenge stereotypes, shift perceptions and create meaningful change. The complex relationship between the young, predominantly Black high school athletes and their police officer football coaches and mentors examined in ‘Boys in Blue’ represents the epitome of what Content for Change hopes to share with viewers. Content for Change aims to break down the narratives that allow for racism and hate to exist through a diversity of representation in programming and production.” – A spokesperson for Paramount+ and SHOWTIME

PBS

February 8 at 9p: NOVA “Star Chasers of Senegal”
February 14: “Ritual” on PBS
February 24 at 9p: “The Magic of Spirituals” on PBS, PBS.org and PBS App
February 28 ta 8p: “Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future” on PBS, PBS.org and PBS App

“While PBS is committed to providing programs year-round that are diverse and reflect the many audiences we serve, we are also proud to commemorate these special moments of cultural celebration across our platforms and initiatives. The Block Party streaming collection is one such example of how our diverse content is showcased beyond heritage months. This February, audiences can enjoy a mix of music, history and science programming featuring Black voices and creators. These stories include new episodes of “FIGHT THE POWER: How Hip-Hop Changed the World” on Tuesday nights and a new science documentary from NOVA called “Star Chasers of Senegal,” which follows scientists as they gather crucial data for NASA’s satellite program and premieres Wednesday, February 8.” — Sylvia Bugg, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS

Raycom Sports

“A Tribute To Jackie Robinson”
The special will air on a repeated basis from noon to 6p on weekends between Saturday, February 4, and Sunday, February 26 on all Gray stations, OTT channel Origin Sports, CBS-TV O & O’s and many other station groups, including Sinclair.

What do you look for in Black History Month programming?
“Original content and analysis on major topics of Black American history and/or a celebration of pioneers for Black equality, liberation and progress. Inspirational themes and personalities always make for the most compelling programming.” – Jim Moskovitz, creator, writer Executive Producer and President of JOY-CPW

The Africa Channel

“African Royale”: The reality series will air on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9p throughout February.
“The Rising”: The documentary series celebrating the contributions of Black athletes will air on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8p, and Sundays at 7p throughout February
“The History of Africa”: The series will air on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10p, and Saturdays and Sundays at 8p.

“Each February we look for relevant BHM programs that introduce new stories that reflect the wide diversity of today’s Black American audience and a more expansive look at Black history, through the lens of Black and bi-racial Americans. As a new generation of the Black Diaspora makes America their home, we are just as interested in exploring their journeys as they write a new history. This is best exemplified in The Africa Channel’s new original reality series – ‘African Royale’ – featuring a Nigerian-American heiress who struggles to create a legacy and find her voice and identity as both an American and an African under the shadow of her father’s royal lineage.” – Karen Juve, VP of Programming & Production, The Africa Channel Inc.

The Impact Network

The Impact Network will roll out a selection of films under the umbrella of “Celebrating Black Heroes,” rotating Monday-Friday from 7-8p, and Saturday 9-11p.

“Black History Month is always an exciting time for us at Impact TV. As the premiere 100% founded and operated African-American independent enriching lifestyle network, we get a chance to put a spotlight on the greatness of our culture and community beyond the narratives often portrayed in mainstream media. When it comes to Black History content we look to go beyond the struggles and into the strides that African-Americans have made. That’s why we call it Black Hero Month at Impact because we aim to celebrate Black Heroes and Heroic moments of then, today and tomorrow. We also believe that every day of every month is an opportunity to celebrate our culture and our community which is why we will bring engaging and inspiring content throughout the year and not just one month per year.” – Royal W. Jackson, Executive Vice President of Impact Network

TheGrid Network

February 1: TheGrid Network: “The Journey of LA Mass” at 7p, 10p
February 8: TheGrid Network: “Black History in Music” at 7p, 9p
February 22: TheGrid Network: “Carl Jackson Presents” at 7p, 9p
February 22: TheGrid “Cosmopolitan: Marvin” at 7p, 9p
“TheGrid Network looks for BHM programming that endorses spiritual growth and compelling storytelling that connects our past to our future.” – Leah Cohen, Producer, Carl Jackson Entertainment

TheGrio

TheGrio with Eboni K. Williams and theGrio with Marc Lamont Hill
An interview with living history makers and Black change agents will air every weeknight at 6:40p and 7:40p. Williams’ segment will speak with living history makers, while Hill’s segment will feature Black historymakers who are the firsts in their respective fields.

What do you look for in Black History Month programming?
“Stories that empower because a well-informed community best determines its own interests.” – TheGrio

The Television Syndication Company, Inc.

“Everyday Heroes: Celebrating Black History Month” – January 30-February 26

“The Television Syndication Company and Gameday Productions are proud to bring this important look at the impactful contributions African-Americans have made throughout our history. The special comes with two opportunities for the local station with a sponsorable :10 Local Billboard and 2:30 minute segment to sponsor your own local hero with all revenue to the station.” – Cassie Yde, President, TVS

TV ONE

 

TV One celebrates Black History Month all-month long with a tribute to Black sitcoms that feature weekend marathons of classic sitcoms spanning four decades. Hosted commentary will be provided by comedian and actress Kym Whitle every Saturday from 9a-3p on TV One.

 

Decades 70s to 2000s:

70s: “What’s Happening,” “The Jeffersons,” “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times”; Airdate: Saturday, February 4

80s: “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World”; Airdate: Saturday, February 11

90s: “Living Single”; Airdate: Saturday, February 18

2000s: “One on One,” “The Parkers,” “Girlfriends” and “The Bernie Mac Show”; Airdate: Saturday, February 24

 

Thursdays Are For Lovers – Love is in the Air on TV One!

TV One will kick off the night with its new original series “Asking For A Friend” on February 9th at 8p. Think dating show, but juicier!

 

CLEO TV –  “New Soul Kitchen with Chef Jernard”

“New Soul Kitchen” (hosted by Award Winning TV Host/Celebrity Chef, Jernard Wells) brings viewers more downhome recipes with a healthy twist in the series’ new, 30-minute format. Airdate: Wednesdays at

 

“Black History Month isn’t just about our past; it’s an opportunity for conversations about the future. When considering programming, we look to projects that show not only our sacrifice but also our triumphs. We aim to protect our stories and tell them authentically, while also promoting our culture and shining a light on the next generation of Black leadership.” – Austyn Biggers, SVP of Programming & Production, TV One Networks

Vevo

“Black History Month: Legends of the ‘60s and ‘70s”: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5a, 10a, 4p and 9p
“Black History Month: Legends of the ‘80s”: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6a, 11a, 3p and 8p
“Black History Month: Legends of the ‘90s”: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8a, 11a, 5p and 10p
“Black History Month: Legends of the 2000’s”: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5a, 10a, 2p and 7p
“Black History Month: Today’s Pop Superstars”: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7a, 2p, 6p and 10p

“For Black History Month, Vevo is spotlighting the artists that helped put modern Black music on the map, as well as the artists that continue carrying the torch today, across our entire network. Each viewing block on Vevo’s linear channels is deliberately programmed to also incorporate context, such as genre, daypart, and mood. That way, the music videos aired are relevant to the viewer at the specific time of viewing, while also celebrating and representing the various contributions by Black artists.” – Jordan Glickson, VP, Music & Talent, Vevo

Audible

Joining Queen Latifah, Brit Bennet and Ghetto Gastro are works by bestselling author Kennedy Ryan and from Orion Pictures’ critically acclaimed film “Till.”

February 2: “Unity in the Community”; “In the Cut with Ghetto Gastro”; “Some People Have Real Problems”
February 16: “Till Today”
February 9: “Coming Home”

“This new slate exemplifies Audible’s commitment to Black creators and listening audiences. We’re deeply invested in being an entertainment company that can offer multicultural storytelling across genres – this February, listeners can find a nourishing food podcast with established and acclaimed culinary collective Ghetto Gastro, an uplifting listen about community activism with Queen Latifah, and an immersive short story from one of the most acclaimed fiction writers today, Brit Bennett, performed by the brilliant Tessa Thompson.” – Zola Mashariki, Head of Audible Studios

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