Korla is the amazing story of John Roland Redd, an African American from Columbia, Missouri who migrated to Hollywood in 1939 and reinvented himself as a musician from India. As one of early television’s pioneering musical artists, Korla Pandit’s life was one of talent, determination, ingenuity and racial passing, a story not fully realized until after his death in 1998.
Their journey to the The Bahamas begins in Nassau, the capital city, during the annual Junkanoo celebrations that take place between Boxing Day (December 26th) and New Year’s Day. During this period the city explodes with vibrant color and celebratory music, as revelers dressed in elaborate costumes parade down the streets dancing to the African-rooted rhythms of Bahamian music. The energy is infectious and the Music Voyager team find themselves wanting to learn more about the roots of Junkanoo and what it tells about the history and people of The Bahamas. They visit the Junkanoo Museum, try on a traditional costume, and even join in a rehearsal, trading licks with the Colours marching band. An exploration of Junkanoo takes them into the mysteries of the past, yet also demonstrates how the people of today’s Bahamas are working to keep their own unique traditions going strong far into the future.
Learn how two musical geniuses, producers Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall, created the first black-owned record label in Florida. Explore the early days of 1960s soul music in Miami, the pioneers of that era and their lasting contributions to the broader American musical landscape.
Sixty years ago, while pursuing their dreams of careers in classical dance, Delores Brown, Joan Myers Brown and Raven Wilkinson confronted racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity in segregated mid-century America. In 2015, three young black women also pursue careers as ballerinas, and find that many of the same obstacles their predecessors faced are still evident in the ballet world today. Through interviews with current and former ballet dancers along with engaging archival photos and film, the one-hour documentary uses the ethereal world of ballet to engage viewers on a subject that reaches far outside the art world and compels viewers to think about larger issues of exclusion, equal opportunity and change.
Learn how D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film The Birth of a Nation unleashed a battle still waging today about race relations and representation, and the power and influence of Hollywood. This program features commentary by Spike Lee, Reginald Hudlin, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and others.
Trekker Zoe Palmer visits the spectacularly beautiful Caribbean islands of St. Lucia, Martinique and Montserrat. Surrounded by stunning rainforests, mountains and volcanoes with a hybrid of English, African and French heritage, these islands deserve their reputation as one of the top tourism spots in the world.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores America’s changing racial landscape-celebrating how far we have come toward equality and asking why we still have so far to go. Features conversations with Attorney General Eric Holder, activist DeRay Mckesson and television producer Shonda Rhimes.
Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. takes a personal journey through the last 50 years of African American history, charting the incredible progress made – as well as the obstacles that remain. The program features conversations with Jesse Jackson, Nas and Donna Brazile.
Discover the story of Althea Gibson (1927-2003), who emerged as the unlikely queen of the segregated tennis world of the 1950s. She was the first African American to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals (precursor of the U.S. Open) – a decade before Arthur Ashe. The documentary explores her mentoring by boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, former New York City mayor David Dinkins and others. Interviewees include Dinkins, Wimbledon champion Dick Savitt and all-time great Billie Jean King.
Around 800 BC, Kush, a little-known subject state of Egypt, rose up and conquered Egypt, enthroned its own Pharaohs and ruled for nearly 100 years. This unlikely chapter of history has been buried by the Egyptians and was belittled by early archaeologists, who refused to believe that dark-skinned Africans could have risen so high. Now, in the heart of Sudan, archeologists are finding indisputable evidence of an advanced African society with powerful armies, vast reach and spiritually driven imperial aspirations to rival the Egyptians’.