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Racial identity, fashion and more in spotlight as ‘AfroPoP’ season closes with shorts program

Still shot from 'Dressed Liked Kings'

The 11th season of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange closes with a collection of shorts exploring the diversity of the black diaspora. Featuring the short films black enuf* by Carrie HawksSwimmin’ Lesson by Shahari Moore and Christine List and Dressed Like Kings by Stacey Holman, the collection will give audiences a look at topics ranging from racial identity, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and men who compete in a weekly dress-off in South Africa. The season finale of AfroPoP, which remains the nation’s only public television series dedicated to contemporary story of black life, culture and art from across the globe, airs on WORLD Channel at 8 p.m. ET (10 p.m. PT) on Monday, February 18.

The program is hosted by Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black), produced by Black Public Media (BPM) and co-presented to public television stations by series distributor American Public Television (APT).

The shorts program begins with Carrie Hawks’ animated documentary entitled black enuf*. Written, animated and directed by Hawks, black enuf* is Hawks’ own story of being a “queer oddball” on a search for acceptance and identity. While grappling with expanding ideas of blackness, sexuality, and self-esteem, Hawks takes audiences on a moving and humorous journey through personal experience and those of family members. From self-love in black enuf*, the shorts collection moves to paternal love with Swimmin’ Lesson by co-directors Christine List and Shahari Moore. Swimmin’ Lesson is a poetic, fictionalized account of one man’s remembrances of life with his family before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, offering a rare look at the sensitivity and emotional life of black men.

The episode concludes with Stacey Holman’s Dressed Like Kings,an exploration of a South African subculture known as oswenka (“to swank”) where working-class men don their finest clothing in a competition for the title of “best dressed.” Will this decades-old tradition and source of self-esteem be able to withstand changing social tides?

“The short films presented in this finale episode showcase the diversity of experiences and perspectives throughout the African Diaspora, as well as the wide range of storytelling style, form and technique used by the filmmakers. This episode will take viewers on an emotional ride filled with humor, melancholy and celebration,” said series producer and director Duana C. Butler. “In a season saluting social and political change-makers, this closing episode intimately explores and investigates identity and culture as lived by individuals of African descent.”

This season of AfroPoP also included Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba!, a look at the iconic South African singer-activist, by Mika KaurismäkiMama ColonelDieudo Hamadi’s film following the female leader of a police force charged with protecting women and children abuse victims; The Faces We Lost, director Piotr Cieplak’s moving portrait of Rwandans working to use photographs to help keep alive the memories of those lost during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi; and While I Breathe, I Hope by Emily Harrold, which follows Bakari Sellers’2014 campaign for lieutenant governor of South Carolina.

The films of this season are also available for streaming beginning on the day of their broadcast premiere on all station-branded platforms, including worldchannel.org, PBS.org, and on PBS apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. AfroPoP is also available on local public television stations across the nation via APT (check local listings).

AfroPoP co-executive producers are Leslie Fields-Cruz and Angela Tucker. The program is produced and directed by Duana C. Butler with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.

To find out more about AfroPoP, visit www.blackpublicmedia.org. For viewing information, check local listings or www.APTonline.org



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