AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange


AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, the award-winning series, focuses on independent documentaries and short films about contemporary life, art and culture from the African diaspora. The 15th season spotlights the power Black art has to reflect realities, restore spirits, celebrate triumphs, issue calls to action and unite people across the African diaspora and around the world.

Starting April 1, watch Mondays on WORLD (check your local listings) with all four films streaming online, YouTube and the PBS app.


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About Season 16

AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange rebrands as the public media home for both documentary and narrative films about the global Black experience. This season showcases real-life stories about fights for criminal and environmental justice in America, and shines a spotlight on Kenya, with two prize-winning narrative films on redemption and resilient joy.

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    In 1993, Danielle Metz was labeled a drug kingpin and sentenced to triple life in California, many miles away from New Orleans and her two children. Metz's sentence was commuted 23 years later. Now back home, she is stepping into a different reality. The film traces Metz's journey in confronting the wounds of incarceration, and to finding purpose, love and unification with her two grown children.

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    Supa Modo

    Jo, a witty 9-year-old terminally ill girl, is taken back to her rural village of Maweni to live out the rest of her short life. Her only comfort during these dull times are her dreams of being a superhero, which prove to be something her rebellious teenage sister Mwix, overprotective mother Kathryn and entire community believe they can fulfill.

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    Kati Kati

    When Kaleche wakes up in the middle of the wilderness, she has no idea why or how she got there. She makes her way to Kati Kati where she meets a motley crew living under the leadership of Thoma. As Kaleche strikes up a quick friendship with him, she discovers that Thoma is a very special person at this mysterious place: Kati Kati is inhabited by the souls of dead people waiting for redemption.

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    Freedom Hill

    Princeville, NC sits atop wet, swampy land along the river. In the 1800s, the land was deemed uninhabitable by white people. After the Civil War, this indifference left it available for freed enslaved Africans. Once called ‘Freedom Hill,’ it was gradually established as an all Black town. But the town has been inundated with flooding...and with each flood, a little more of the small town erodes.

About Season 15

Public television's longest-running series devoted to showcasing content about the Black experience is back for its 15th season! AfroPoP’s five episodes feature stories that celebrate the art, culture and creative of people of African descent. Poignantly told, each reminds us that, despite the hardships people of African descent face globally, our spirit of ingenuity burns bright.

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    Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters

    Filmmakers Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz trace the history and legacy of choreographer-dancer-director Bill T. Jones’ ballet, “D-Man in the Waters.” Emerging in the age of AIDS, the 1989 ballet gave physical manifestation to the fear, anger, grief, and hope for salvation that Jones and colleagues experienced as AIDS took the life of their beloved co-founder Arnie Zane and other troupe members.

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    Queen Kidjo

    Experience a guided tour of the life and indomitable spirit of international music icon and activist Angélique Kidjo. This film features archival footage of the globally recognized artist appearing with superstars Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz, Youssou N’dour, Ziggy Marley, Philip Glass, and Peter Gabriel; as well as cameo appearances by contemporary music stars including Alicia Keys and Yemi Alade.

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    Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts

    Born into slavery in 1853, Bill Traylor spent most of his life working the land in rural Alabama. He began drawing and painting in his later years, often with found materials. This film, by Jeffrey Wolf and Daphne McWilliams, is a compelling narrative about a man who, despite the hardships of legalized racism, produced a body of work exhibited in today’s leading museums and collections worldwide.

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    The Sound of Masks

    Mapiko is a traditional masked dance performed by the Makonde men of Northern Mozambique. Filmmaker Sara de Gouveia’s film follows Atanásio Nyusi, a compelling storyteller and legendary Mapiko dancer, taking us on a visually dramatic journey through Mozambique's past (including Mapiko’s role as a tool to challenge colonization during the Mozambican War of Independence) and its vibrant present.

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    Rewind & Play

    Improvisational pianist and composer Thelonious Monk is among the 20th century’s most revered jazz luminaries. This film by Alain Gomis, features raw footage from an interview the artist gave to French state television in 1969. It shows Monk in the grip of a violent factory of stereotypes, offering an unfiltered glimpse at the racial indignities some artistic geniuses are asked to endure.

Season 14

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    Everything: The Real Thing Story

    Against a backdrop of prejudice and political turmoil in the 1970s, The Real Thing was the first all-black British band to hit #1 in the UK pop charts. Dubbed "the Black Beatles" by the British tabloids, their incredible story takes them from the tough streets of Toxteth, an inner-city area of Liverpool, to the bright lights of New York as Britain's pioneering million-selling soul and funk band.

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    She Had a Dream

    A young Black Tunisian woman, a committed activist who speaks her mind, embodies Tunisia's current political upheaval. As a victim of racial discrimination, she decides to go into politics. Following her extraordinary path, through her attempts to persuade both close friends and complete strangers to vote for her, her campaign reveals the many faces of a country seeking to forge a new identity.

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    Downstream to Kinshasa

    A harrowing documentary about the victims of the Six-Day War in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For two decades, the victims have been fighting with authorities in the city of Kisangani for the recognition of this bloody conflict and demanding compensation. Tired of unsuccessful pleas, they finally voice their claims in the capital Kinshasa, after a long journey down the Congo River.

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    Restitution? Africa’s Fight for Its Art

    The troubling story of the African artwork that fills European museums, and whose return is now being demanded by their countries of origin. Through the burning question of their possible restitution, the film invites us to reconsider both our cultural heritage and museums’ role in reinventing our relationship with Africa.

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    Revolution from Afar

    A crop of young poets and musicians advocating in support of the revolution in Sudan that followed the 2019 toppling of the dictator Omar al-Bashir and military takeover of the country. Gathering in Brooklyn and Denver, these vibrant young people, whose families left Sudan years earlier reflect on their identity and how can they best help the Sudanese people an ocean away.

Season 13

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    Mama Gloria

    Mama Gloria is a feature documentary about Gloria Allen, a 75-year-old Black trailblazing transgender activist who started a charm school for homeless trans youth and is now aging with joy and grace. It is the story of a mother’s love – the love that Gloria’s mother had for her and the love that Gloria has for her chosen children.

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    Finding Sally

    Finding Sally tells the incredible story of a 23-year-old woman from an upper-class family who became a communist rebel with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party. Idealistic and in love, Sally got caught up in her country’s revolutionary fervor and landed on the military government’s Most Wanted List. She went underground and her family never saw her again.

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    Professional Black Girl

    Covering everyday topics like hairstyles and hair care, personal fashion and style, Professional Black Girl (PBG) features a curated selection of episodes from the popular web series. Every story is like a conversation with a woman you know, whether it is your homegirl, your sister, your auntie, or your mama.

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    Film Shorts

    Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business: There's no stopping the legendary artist Betye Saar, even at age 93. Pushing boundaries for 70 years, this portrait of artist Betye Saar shows she isn't done fighting inequality in her personal and powerful work. Inside her LA studio, Saar talks about collecting objects, African American history, art as a weapon, and making people think.

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    Bakosó: Afrobeats of Cuba

    What does “Está Rico” by Marc Anthony, Will Smith & Bad Bunny have in common with “Made For Now” by Janet Jackson x Daddy Yankee? They both high-jacked AfroBeats and did not give the genre’s origin props. Bakosó is a film that does the opposite, following DJ Jigüe to his hometown of Santiago de Cuba to find inspiration from the new sounds.

About Season 12

AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange explores stories of modern life in the African Diaspora with a slate of documentaries journeying through Brazil, Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa, the United States, Liberia and beyond. The films of season 12 will introduce audiences to new and unsung trailblazers in the Diaspora, and provide new viewpoints on stories and lives we thought we knew.

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    My Friend Fela and Birth of Afrobeat

    A new perspective on the Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, MY FRIEND FELA is told through conversations with his close friend and official biographer, African-Cuban Carlos Moore. The accompanying live-action animated short, BIRTH OF AFROBEAT, tells how Nigerian drummer Tony Allen and his partner Fela Kuti created the Afrobeat genre.

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    AMINA follows the journey of an African immigrant woman living in Istanbul and Turkey, and the cultural challenges she faces as she pursues her dreams.

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    Daddy and the Warlord

    DADDY AND THE WARLORD follows a daughter’s captivating quest to understand why her father collaborated with three corrupt government leaders in Liberia and the infamous war criminal Charles Taylor.

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    Gilda Brasileiro: Against Oblivion

    GILDA BRASILEIRO tells the story of one woman’s fight to expose the history of an illegal 19th century slave-trading post in the Brazilian rainforest, where hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved.

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    Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela and Spit on the Broom

    TWELVE DISCIPLES OF NELSON MANDELA tells an intimate tale about an African-American family, the anti-apartheid movement, and the quest for reconciliation between a father and son. The accompanying experimental short SPIT ON THE BROOM highlights The United Order of Tents, a secret organization of black women founded during the height of the Underground Railroad.

About Season 11

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK actress Danielle Brooks will help guide audiences as they journey through AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange’s slate of documentary and short stories on contemporary life, art and culture in the African Diaspora. Season 11 of the trailblazing series highlights diverse issues, including social justice, politics, LGBTQ identity, fashion and violence against women.

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    Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba!

    MAMA AFRICA: MIRIAM MAKEBA! traces the life and music of the South African singer and anti-apartheid activist, the voice and the hope of Africa. Using rare archive footage of her performances and interviews, MAMA AFRICA introduces a new generation to the music and fascinating life of the woman who stood for truth and justice, fought for the oppressed and campaigned tirelessly against apartheid.

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    Mama Colonel

    Colonel Honorie Munyole, more commonly known as “Mama Colonel,” works for the Congolese police force and heads the unit for the protection of minors and the fight against sexual violence. Having worked for 15 years in Bukavu, she is transferred to Kisangani, where she finds herself faced with new challenges. Mama Colonel addresses the issue of violence towards women and children in the DRC.

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    The Faces We Lost

    THE FACES WE LOST is a moving documentary about the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and the efforts of those who remain to remember the loved ones they lost. The film follows nine Rwandans, who guide viewers through their experiences and remembrances of loved ones using photographic images, or in some cases, lamenting the absence of any evidence to help them keep their loved ones’ memories alive.

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    While I Breathe, I Hope

    What does it mean to be young, Black, and a Democrat in the South? WHILE I BREATHE, I HOPE unravels this question through the experiences of South Carolina politician Bakari Sellers. Follow Sellers on his 2014 bid for lieutenant governor, through the 2015 Charleston shootings, and to the present as he takes on a national role on CNN and considers his future in Trump’s America. (Director's Cut)

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    Short Films

    An eclectic selection of three short programs: black enuf*, an animated story about belonging and self-love while exploring expanding ideas of black identity; SWIMMIN' LESSON, a poetic and moving tale of one young father's recollection of his son's fate during Hurricane Katrina; and DRESSED LIKE KINGS, a look at the South African pageant where men compete in formal wear for "Best and Freshest."

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