Today marks the start of Black History Month, with the broadcast and cable networks and streamers planning a slew of TV series, movies, news programming, documentaries, specials and more to roll out over the course of February to celebrate, educate and entertain.
Deadline has compiled a list of programming highlights that touches on some of the myriad ways outlets are commemorating the occasion, from live coverage of the NAACP Image Awards on BET to the documentary series Lincoln’s Dilemma on Apple TV+ and everything in between.
Check out below for some of the content (all times ET) and keep checking back as we add to the list.
ABC News is presenting two primetime specials February 3 from its Soul of a Nation series. Soul of a Nation Presents: Screen Queens Rising (8-9 p.m., ABC), explores how Black actresses, a historically overlooked and under-valued group in Hollywood, have begun to ascend to the top echelons of entertainment and American culture, and the iconic moments and roles have paved the way. Hosted by ABC News Live Prime anchor Linsey Davis and ABC News senior national affairs correspondent Deborah Roberts, it will feature interviews with Tessa Thompson, Halle Berry, Debbie Allen, Jackée Harry, Marla Gibbs and Regina Hall. The special also includes the return of the “In the Kitchen” discussion moderated by The View‘s Sunny Hostin.
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Following is Soul of a Nation Presents: X / o n e r a t e d – The Murder of Malcolm X and 55 Years to Justice (9-10 p.m., ABC) profiles Muhammad Abdul Aziz, who was wrongfully convicted of Malcolm X’s assassination, in the first TV interview since his exoneration in November 2021. The special retraces Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination, Aziz’s decades behind bars and on parole, and the impact on Aziz’s family who is also interviewed. There is also an interview with the investigators who A. Peter Bailey, a Malcolm X friend who was at the Audubon Ballroom on the day of the assassination. The special also includes interviews with those who conducted the joint reinvestigation that ultimately led to Aziz‘s exoneration, as well as Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz.
Other programming throughout the month will be featured on GMA, World News Tonight with David Muir, Nightline, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, GMA3: What You Need to Know, The View and Tamron Hall.
ABC, meanwhile, is launching a two-pronged campaign under the “Imagine Tomorrow” brand that will run across broadcast and social throughout the month. It includes “black-ish on Black History,” centering on the Black history content comedy has covered during its eight-year run, and “History In The Making,” which will spotlight Black history and narratives through the lens of Abbott Elementary.
Here’s a peek at “black-ish on Black History”:
Phat Tuesdays (Feb. 4), a three-part documentary directed by Reginald Hudlin, premieres on Prime Video and tells the story of how Guy Torry launched an all-Black comedy night at The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip, putting comics like Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Steve Harvey, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Hart. The move came in the 1990s, when Black comedians were shut out of mainstream clubs, and Phat Tuesday became the hottest club in Los Angeles, attracting the likes of Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Prince, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and Mike Tyson. Interviews with Anthony Anderson, Tiffany Haddish, Steve Harvey, Regina King and more.
Jeffrey Wright narrates the four-part series Lincoln’s Dilemma (Feb. 18), which premieres on the streamer ahead of Presidents Day weekend. Featuring the voices of Bill Camp as Abraham Lincoln and Leslie Odom Jr as Frederick Douglass, the series is a 21st century examination of a complicated man and the people and events that shaped his evolving stance on slavery. Adapted from historian David S. Reynolds’ book Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times, Dilemma features interviews with journalists, educators and Lincoln scholars, as well as rare archival materials. Directed by Jacqueline Olive and Barak Goodman and produced by Jelani Cobb.
The network’s Black History Happens Now campaign will include a lineup of films, original drama and comedy series, specials highlighted by the 53rd NAACP Image Awards (Feb. 26, 8 p.m.) and the cable premiere of the Oscar Best Picture Moonlight (Feb. 12). New episodes are in the works for the month featuring Tyler Perry’s BET+ originals The Oval, Ruthless, Bruh and The Sistas along with movies including A Madea Family Funeral, What Men Want, Hustle & Flow, the Friday films, Boyz N the Hood, Precious, Are We There Yet?, White Chicks and Barbershop 2 among others.
BET+ will help celebrate its More Than a Month programming slate with the premiere of Real Husbands of Hollywood: More Kevin, More Problems (Feb. 10) starring Kevin Hart, Nick Cannon, Nelly, JB Smoove, Robin Thicke, Boris Kodjoe and Duane Martin, as well as a catalog of original shows including The Ms. Pat Show and First Wives Club and classics like The Jamie Foxx Show, Martin, The Wayans Bros and The Parkers.
On BET.com, editorial features throughout the month include The Future of Black Hollywood, highlighting 20 up-and-coming Black actors, actresses, producers and directors; an exclusive interview with Harry Belafonte; a celebration of Harriet Tubman’s 200th birthday; and content teamed with Color of Change including op-eds and history lists. More details here.
The first edition of CBS News’ revival of the longtime series CBS Reports on the company’s rebranded CBS News Streaming Network is Trayvon Martin: 10 Years Later (Feb. 25). It features CBS Morning‘s Gayle King anchoring the special exploring the impact of the death of Martin, a teenager shot dead in Florida. It is produced by the CBS News Race and Culture Unit and will air across CBS News and Stations’ broadcasts and platforms as well as on the Smithsonian Channel (Feb. 26) and on BET (Feb. 28, 8 p.m.).
CBS News will also lean on via dedicated programming on CBS Evening News With Norah O’Donnell, CBS Mornings, CBS Saturday Morning, Face the Nation, CBS Sunday Morning and 48 Hours, the latter of which will report on Katrina Cooke Brownlee, one of an elite group of Black women to reach the highest ranks of the NYPD detective force after being shot 10 times by her ex-fiancé, a man with a badge (Feb. 26).
On CBS and Paramount+ in February, The Talk (2 p.m. Mon-Fri) is launching weekly series called “Making Black History Now,” which will shine a light on individuals breaking down barriers and blazing new paths. Each week, the hosts will talk to a special guest about their journey and historical impact. The first segment includes an interview with Victor Glover Jr., the first African-American astronaut to live and work at the International Space Station.
The Loyola Project (Feb. 8, 9 p.m.) premiering on CBS Sports Network tells the story of the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago’s historic 1963 basketball season. At the height of the civil rights movement, the Ramblers broke racial barriers and changed college basketball forever. The team is reexamined by current Loyola basketball player Lucas Williamson.
Custom brand creative in February will feature an original poem performed by student Noah McKay to celebrate the contributions Black and brown athletes have had on professional sports and the integral role that sports play for Black and brown youth. It will run on CBS during sports, news and entertainment programming as well on CBS Sports Network, CBS Sports HQ and CBS Sports’ digital and social properties.
C-SPAN’s in the Classroom Podcasts released its Black History Month podcast on Jan. 30, sharing resources that can be used with students. The episode features Ka’mal McClarin, PhD, Region 1 Program Coordinator for National Underground Network to Freedom, National Park Service gives his perspective. Other video resources available feature President Barack Obama, National Park Service Chief Historian Turkiya Lowe, Michigan State history Professor Pero Dagbovie, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president and CEO Bob Kendrick, and Purdue University associate professor of political science and African American studies Nadia Brown.
The streaming service has launched a “Black Voices” hub with year-round programming spotlighting the African American community. New originals across curated series (titles like OWN/Discovery+’s The Great Soul Food Cook Off and Remix My Space with Marsai Martin are already streaming), documentaries, and specials include:
The four-part docuseries Profiled: The Black Man (premiering Feb. 12), which examines the origins of the stereotypes that have permeated society and impacted the lives of Black men in America. Commentary includes from executive producer Tina Knowles-Lawson, civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson, activist Tamika Mallory, Sway Calloway and Billy Porter.
The three-part docuseries Uprooted (Feb. 18) tells the story of Keith Warren, who was 19 when his body was found hanging from a tree in 1986. The police ruled it a suicide at the scene. The tree was cut down, his family was not informed for over six hours, no autopsy was performed and no criminal investigation was ever opened. Keith’s sister, Sherri, has spent the last 34 years investigating her brother’s death.
Other originals include Love & Marriage Huntsville, Black Love, Dr. Mercy, Home Grown, Family or Fiancé, Burger Truck Brawl, Where Do We Go From Here?, (In)visible Portraits, Super Soul, Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall, The Legacy of Black Wall Street, OWN Spotlight: Oprah + 100 Black Fathers, Reno My Rental, Ghost Brothers: Lights Out and Doubling Down with the Derricos.
Fox and Fox Entertainment’s free streaming site Tubi are teaming via the #TVForAll campaign the digital documentary Making History in Hollywood, which will bow on Tubi and features Fox talent Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Resident), Brian Michael Smith and Sierra McClain (9-1-1: Lone Star), Dulcé Sloan (The Great North), Kyla Pratt (Call Me Kat), and Karin Gist and Debbi Morgan (Our Kind of People), as they discuss triumphs and personal experiences working in Hollywood and spotlight notable figures who inspired them.
Another digital series launching on Fox’s social handles is Black History is Personal, which features videos with Our Kind of People’s Joe Morton and Morgan, The Big Leap‘s Simone Recasner and Next Level Chef‘s Nyesha Arrington.
Fox will also debut a special Black History Month anthem, written and performed by Tisha Campbell Martin and Dani Wright and produced by PK. It will be shared all month across local Fox stations and Fox digital. Here it is:
See below for additional Tubi plans.
HBO’s Black Voices collection, like the Black Voices spotlight page in-app, will include a free sampling of the HBO Original documentary A Choice of Weapons: Gordon Parks. Additional free titles on HBOMax.com include the debut episode of the docuseries Being Serena; the series premiere of Insecure; the documentary film King in the Wilderness; and the Season 2 openers of Max Originals Love Life and South Side.
Among the highlights are debuts of HBO’s Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches (Feb. 23), Dreamland: the Burning of Black Wall Street and Oscar Micheaux: The Superhero of Black Filmmaking alongside legacy titles like Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Bessie and more. HBO Max’s Kimi starring Zoë Kravitz (Feb. 10) is also part of the collection.
HBO Max Scene in Black will host Twitter watch parties every week throughout the month celebrating nostalgic programming available on the platform.
The streamer’s Strong Black Lead brand is highlighting movies and shows throughout the month, and will focus on highlighting Black creativity behind the camera with the social series Strong Black Lens, featuring Black photographers/cinematographers like David Lee (The Harder They Fall, Ma Rainey, Da 5 Bloods, She’s Gotta Have It) Juan Veloz (Gentefied), Kwaku Alston (A Great Day In Hollywood), Flo Ngala (Madame CJ Walker) and others.
Black-created titles debuting in February include Erax and Season 2 of Raising Dion (Feb. 1), Ms. Pat: Y’all Wanna Hear Something Crazy? (Feb. 8), Only Jokes Allowed (Feb. 9), Season 2 of Love Is Blind (Feb. 11), Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy (Feb. 16), Race: Bubba Wallace (Feb. 22) and A Madea Homecoming (Feb. 25).
As part of its Content for Change initiative, the streamer is amplifying Black creators and talent via its Black Voices Collection, which includes comedies The Ms. Pat Show and Key and Peele; documentaries Dream Team and Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier; dramas The Game and The Good Fight; and family series Sister, Sister and The Neighborhood and more.
PBS’ slate of programming and digital content kicks off with premiere from the pubcaster’s American Masters, American Experience and Frontline verticals.
From American Masters comes the premiere of Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands (Feb. 8, 9 p.m.), a documentary about the life, career and legacy of the African American contralto and civil rights pioneer in her own words using rare archival interview recordings. American Experience premieres The American Diplomat (Feb. 15, 9 p.m.), about three Black diplomats who broke racial barriers at the U.S. State Department during the Cold War. And Frontline, teaming with the Retro Report, will air “American Reckoning” (Feb. 15, 10 p.m.), a look at the civil rights era through rare footage filmed more than 50 years ago in Natchez, Mississippi, and the still-unresolved killing of local NAACP leader Wharlest Jackson.
Other premieres include Fannie Lou Hamer’s America: An America Reframed Special (Feb. 22, 9 p.m.), a portrait of the life and legacy of the Mississippi-born sharecropper-turned-civil rights leader, produced in part by Hamer’s great-niece Monica Land. Airdates have also been set for encores of Ken Burns’ Muhammad Ali, episodes of Finding Your Roots and titles including John Lewis: Get In the Way and American Masters’ Stanley Nelson-directed Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool among many others. Broadcast programs are also available for streaming on the PBS Video app.
In some markets, PBS from February 1-7 will showcase Through the Banks of the Red Cedar, following the daughter of Minnesota Vikings football great Gene Washington as she uncovers the story of the first integrated college football team in America; and Just a Mortal Man: The Jerry Lawson Story, about the original lead singer of the famed a cappella group The Persuasions.
The streaming service’s Black Cinema will show a new movie daily during the month at 8 p.m. Documentary fare will include I Am Not Your Negro, Michelle Obama: Hope Becomes Change, Obama: Building the Dream, The Obamas: Believe, Jackie Robinson My Story and Muhammad Ali: The Greatest via Pluto TV Documentaries and Pluto TV History.
Content will also be available via Pluto from the BET Her, Showtime Selects and BBC Kids channels, and themed videos in the Pluto TV Music category via Vevo’s genre channels.
The LGBTQ-forward streaming network’s plans this month include the premiere of Saturday Church, starring Pose‘s MJ Rodriguez. It the story of 14-year-old Ulysses, a shy and effeminate boy, who finds himself coping with new responsibilities as “man of the house” after the death of his father. Also, One Life to Blossom follows the life of Black transgender activist Blossom C. Brown when she undergoes her dream of getting face feminization surgery all within a year before making nationwide headlines at the 2019 CNN LBGTQ+ Town Hall.
In honor of Black History Month, Showtime Documentary Films is premiering the three-part docuseries everything’s gonna be all white, (February 11, all episodes plus a special at 12:01 a.m. on-demand, 8 p.m. part 1 debut on Showtime), which explores the history of race in America from the perspective of people of color. Directed by Sacha Jenkins, the docuseries includes insights from the likes of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Dr. Nell Irvin Painter, Jemele Hill, Amanda Seales, Favianna Rodriguez, Tamika Mallory, Styles P, Margaret Cho and Dr. Nick Estes. The episodes are punctuated by vignettes featuring roommates Radical Rhonda and Mad Chad, a Black female and white male, whose brutally honest takes illuminate the frustrations each side feels in being heard by the other. A bonus episode featuring Jenkins in conversation with a diverse group of young artists and activists on hot-button topics, and a special musical performance by Jenkins and his band The 1865.
Turner Classic Movies host Jacqueline Stewart will be joined by special guests each Sunday during the month for a collection of films honoring Black History Month, including the U.S. premiere of the Francesco Zippel documentary Oscar Micheaux: The Superhero of Black Filmmaking (Feb. 13, 9:30 p.m.). Micheaux (1884-1951) was considered the first major African American filmmaker, with more than 40 movies (both silent and sound) to his credit.
Two other silents included in the TCM salute were produced by the Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia and feature all-Black casts: 1926’s Ten Nights in a Barroom (Feb. 7, 12:15 a.m.) and 1929’s The Scar of Shame (Feb. 28, 12:15 a.m.). Other titles in the series include the 1943 musical Stormy Weather (Feb. 13, 8 p.m.), 1963’s Lilies of the Field (Feb. 6, 8 p.m.), 1963’s Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (Feb. 20, 10:30 p.m.), the 1968 Agnes Varda short Black Panthers (Feb. 27, 11:30 p.m.), Spike Lee’s 1992 Malcolm X (Feb. 27, 8 p.m.), 1994’s Freedom on My Mind (Feb. 6, 10 p.m.) and Ava DuVernay’s 2014 Selma (Feb. 20, 8 p.m.).
Fox Entertainment’s free streaming service will debut two Tubi Originals to celebrate Black History Month: the musical drama Howard High (Feb. 4), directed by Christopher B. Stokes and based on the 2020 miniseries, and the documentary Pass the Mic (Feb. 16) which spotlights the careers of Lil Nas X, Lizzo and Kendrick Lamar. Tubi will also exclusively stream the first season of Fox’s Our Kind of People for free beginning February 2.
Other titles available include the doc I Am Not Your Negro and features Sorry to Bother You, Bessie, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Jacksons: An American Dream.
Comcast and NBCUniversal’s cable unit celebrates the Black community’s contributions to American culture with movies, specials, documentaries, TV shows and more on its Black Experience on Xfinity channel and on-demand. Special collections in AAFCA, content picked by the African American Film Critics Association; Black Voices Black Stories, movies, TV shows and specials themed around social justice, activism and the history of racism in America; HBCU Experience, content with an emphasis on Black college life and student-themed content; and Be in the Know, a collection of content centering on Black community news.
Other featured content will be films including Stomp the Yard, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning and Spike Lee’s School Daze and Get on the Bus. There also will be free previews during February for TV One, Cleo TV, Aspire TV, Black & Sexy TV, The Africa Channel, AFRO, Kweli TV and Revolt.
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