Jussie Smollett Hosts ‘AfroPop’.

J ussie Smollett will host the eighth season of the public television show AfroPoP: The Ultimate Exchange. The Empire star will emcee the popular show about contemporary art, life and culture across the African diaspora as it
premieres on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—
Monday, January 18—at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT
on WORLD Channel. New episodes premiere weekly through February 15.

Previous hosts of AfroPoP include Idris Elba, Anika Noni Rose, Wyatt Cenac, Gabourey
Sidibe, Anthony Mackie and Yaya DaCosta.

“AfroPoP’s engaging, real-life tales add to the collection of rich Black stories that
audiences are clamoring for, and I wanted to
be a part of bringing them to national
attention,” said Smollett. “Jussie is an
immense talent with a huge heart and a
global perspective on issues, making him the perfect choice as host of the series,” said
NBPC director of programs and acquisitions
and AfroPoP executive producer Kay Shaw. “The range and diversity of the content
presented appeared to have really resonated
with him and he was an informed host,
contributing his knowledge of the issues
addressed in the documentaries.”

The five-week series takes viewers on a journey of hope through three continents
and the Caribbean. Episodes include: Director Ditte Haarløv Johnsen’s Days of Hope (January 18), a nuanced look at the unflinching courage of three West African
migrants who cross the Sahara desert and
Atlantic Ocean in a search for opportunity
and safety in Europe. The timely
documentary (given current headlines about
immigration and refugees) follows the brave souls as they hope for a better life for
themselves and their families. Will they find
a dream or encounter a nightmare? Directors Jérôme Guiot and Thierry Teston’s Pan! Our Music Odyssey (January 25) is a joyful celebration of the melodious steel
drum. The film explores the magical
instrument from its development in Trinidad
to its celebration around the world, as bands
from across the globe gather to compete in
the ultimate steel band competition: Panorama. Pablo García Pérez de Lara and Marc Serena’s Tchindas (February 1) transports viewers to São Vicente in Cape Verde. There
we meet Tchinda, a transgender woman who
is so cherished that her name has become
synonymous with LBGT people in the
area. The documentary follows the
celebrated character, out and proud since 1998, as she and her cohorts prepare for the
beloved annual carnival. N’Jeri Eaton and Mario Furloni’s First Friday (February 8) heads to Oakland, California—a
city with a reputation as one of the most
dangerous in America—as it works to
rebrand itself through its successful First
Fridays monthly street festival. The murder of
a young Black man sends the city reeling, threatening the very survival of this
community celebration and, perhaps, the
town’s very renaissance. A shorts program (February 15) celebrates
youth and the hope they both possess and
inspire—with films from the west and east
coasts of Africa. Nosarieme Garrick’s My Africa Is, set in the bustling, modern city of Nairobi, introduces viewers to dynamic
youth envisioning a new Kenya: designers,
inventors and musicians changing the face
of their communities through innovation
and entrepreneurship. Terence Nance and
Blitz the Ambassador’s Native Sun helps viewers see Ghana through the eyes and
dreams of an 8-year-old in search of his
father.

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