Black History Month has kicked off and cable TV networks are rolling out programs, specials, and documentaries that celebrate the achievements of Black Americans. The cable industry is deeply committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive America. One important way that it works to achieve this is by airing programming that not only includes diverse actors on the screen and writers behind the scenes, but by showcasing the stories of and by Black Americans that have been overlooked for far too long. And while cable TV networks work year-round to find ways to amplify the voices of Black Americans on its channels, Black History Month is an important time to reflect on what more needs to be done to eradicate racial injustice and inequality in America.
Check out the sampling below of the initiatives and programming happening on cable TV this month:
This month, AMC premieres its anthology “Horror Noire,” which include stories of Black horror from Black directors and screenwriters. AMC+ is also hosting “Black Stories & Storytellers,” a collection of documentaries including “Natural Hair: The Movie” and feature films “The Hurricane,” “A Raisin in the Sun.” AMC Networks is also rolling out its 9th annual, award-winning Black History Month Public Service Announcement campaign, in partnership with members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. The spots are airing across AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, AVOD/FAST channels, and streaming service ALLBLK. The PSA campaign features eight U.S. Members of Congress from the CBC addressing pressing issues that impact the Black community.
The network is hosting the 53rd NAACP Image Awards (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) on February 26 under its Black History Happens Now campaign, which also includes a lineup of films, original drama and comedy series, and specials. On BET+, the network is rolling out its “More Than a Month” collection, which includes classic shows to BET originals celebrating the evolution of Black entertainment.
Discovery has launched a “Black Voices” hub on Discovery+ with year-round programming spotlighting Black Americans. New originals include the four-part docuseries, “Profiled: The Black Man,” which takes a look at harmful stereotypes of Black men in America. “Uprooted” is another docuseries, in three parts, that tells the story of Keith Warren—a 19-year-old who was found hanging from a tree and whose death was overlooked by law enforcement.
Disney has put together a “Celebrate Black Stories” collection on Disney+, which includes the documentary “Summer of Soul” and its upcoming original series, “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.” National Geographic will also present “Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship," which tells the story of a slave shipwreck that carried kidnapped Africans to slavery in Alabama.
ESPN is bringing back its Black History Always Collection on ESPN+, which spans content from several of the network’s platforms, such as 30 for 30 Films, its Oscar-winning "OJ Made in America," and E60, the network’s award-winning primetime news magazine.
HBO’s Black Voices collection includes the debut episode of the docuseries “Being Serena” and the groundbreaking series premiere of “Insecure.” HBO will also debut “Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches”, “Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street” and “Oscar Micheaux: The Superhero of Black Filmmaking.” HBO Max’s “Kimi” starring Zoë Kravitz is also part of the collection. HBO Max also has a social-first audience initiative, Scene in Black, which focuses on amplifying the brand's Black talent and connecting with viewers. Scene in Black is hosting Twitter watch parties every week throughout the month celebrating nostalgic programming available on the platform.
On its VH1 channel, ViacomCBS is airing a two-part event celebrating Black history and African ancestry on “Love & Hip Hop: Lineage to Legacy.” The hosts will discuss the atrocity of slavery and its lingering effects and the struggles that Black Americans face today. At the same time, the special will focus on the rich history and culture of Africa. And through the Paramount+ Content for Change initiative, the network is amplifying Black creators and talent by showcasing comedies including, “The Ms. Pat Show” and documentaries such as “Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier.”