Black History Month 2015

African American life and history is a major part of our country’s cultural identity and the world’s perception of the people of the United States. African American music, art and style are a commonly adopted American global export. Along with the prominence achieved in shaping world politics, war, and diplomacy, African Americans share a major role and influence on the national and world stage.

Black History Month 2015: Association for the Study of African American Life and History

This Year’s official theme for Black History Month “A century of black life, history, and culture” sets the tone for AFN’s celebration of civil rights and the arts with an eclectic collection of documentaries, specials and movies to commemorate the month. As an added bonus, AFN will put special focus on African American musical contributions in the form of documentaries, biographies, specials and musicals.

Commemorative Specials

Independent Lens: Muscle Shoals
Saturday January 31, 5:00pm CET/JKT
Muscle Shoals

Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music. The music of Muscle Shoals has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. At its heart is Rick Hall, who brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. In this joyful film, Greg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ magnetism and mystery, and why it remains influential today.

POV: American Promise
Saturday February 7, 5:00pm CET/JKT
American Promise

“American Promise” spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, New York, turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Manhattan’s Dalton School, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. Winner, U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award, 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

CBS News: 50 Year Later: Civil Rights
Saturday February 14, 5:00pm CET/JKT

A half-century after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act, CBS News’ Bob Schieffer hosted a symposium on Americans’ historic fight against segregation, and the continuing struggle for equal rights for all.

Independent Lens: Spies of Mississippi
Saturday February 21, 5:00pm CET/JKT
Spies of Mississippi

View the story of a secret spy agency formed during the 1950s and 60s by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain white supremacy. Over a decade, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission employed a network of investigators and informants, including African Americans, to help infiltrate the NAACP, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). They were granted broad powers to investigate private citizens and organizations, keep secret files, make arrests and compel testimony. The program tracks the commission’s hidden role in important chapters of the Civil Rights Movement, including the integration of the University of Mississippi, the trial of Medgar Evers and the KKK murders of three civil rights workers in 1964.

Rise of the Black Pharaohs
Saturday February 21, 6:00pm CET/JKT

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’.

Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life, An All-Star Grammy Salute
Saturday February 28, 8:00pm CET/JKT
Stevie Wonder: All-Star Grammy Salute

In the 56-year history of the GRAMMY Awards, Wonder is the only artist to have received Album of the Year honors in three out of four consecutive years with Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974) and the seminal Songs In The Key Of Life (1976). With a catalog that is one of the richest treasure troves of American music, his songs are still relevant and influential on today’s musical landscape, and his longevity as one of America’s – and the world’s – most respected and beloved artists is well-earned. The special will feature some of today’s top artists covering songs by the legendary Grammy winner.

Light Girls
Saturday February 28, 5:00pm CET/JKT

Featuring and in depth look at colorism and the untold stories of lighter skinned women from around the globe. The documentary features interviews with notable celebrities including Russell Simmons, Soledad O’Brien, Diahann Carroll, India Arie Iyanla Vanzant and others.

Saturday Night Civil Rights History on AFN|movie

February 14, 7:00pm CET/JKT


Inspired by the true story of Dido Elizebeth Belle, is about the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

Mandela: Long Walk To FreedomPREMIERE
February 21, 7:00pm CET/JKT

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, this drama chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. Stars Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Zolani Mkiva, Jamie Bartlett, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Deon Lotz and Terry Pheto.

February 28, 7:00pm CET/JKT


The powerful story of Jackie Robinson is told as the legendary baseball player broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, when he joined the roster of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The story also focuses on the innovative Dodger’s general manager Branch Rickey, the MLB executive who first signed Robinson to the minors and then helped to bring him up to the show. Stars Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Brad Beyer, Judy Tylor, Jon Bernthal, Nicole Beharie, Chadwick Boseman and T.R. Knight.


Wednesday Night Musical Fare on AFN|movie

Aaliyah: Princess of R&BPREMIERE
February 4, 7:00pm CET/JKT

Before Beyoncé and before Rihanna, self-proclaimed “street but sweet” Aaliyah was poised to become a global icon with top-selling albums, a hot movie career, and an adoring fan base. At the height of her popularity in 2001, her life was tragically cut short in a plane crash.

Dreamgirls – February 4, 8:30pm CET/JKT

In the 60s’ a trio of black female soul singers cross over to the pop charts while facing their own personal struggles along the way. Stars Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson.

February 11, 7:00pm CET/JKT

Chronicles the headline-making relationship between the iconic singer, actress, producer and model Whitney Houston and singer and songwriter Bobby Brown from the time they first met at the very height of their celebrity to their courtship and tumultuous marriage.

Sparkle – February 11, 9:30pm CET/JKT

In the 1960s, three sisters form a girl group and soon become local sensations with major label interest, but fame becomes a challenge as the close-knit family begins to fall apart. Stars Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston.

Drumline: A New BeatPREMIERE
February 18, 7:00pm CET/JKT
Drumline: A New Beat

The new story follows female lead Danielle “Dani” Raymond, an upper class Brooklyn girl who defies her parents in order to attend Atlanta A&T so she can join – and revitalize – their once-prominent drumline. Stars Alexandra Shipp, Jeff Pierre, Jordan Calloway, Jasmine Burke, Scott Shilstone, Leonard Roberts, LeToya Luckett, Deray Davis and Nick Cannon.

Drumline – February 18, 9:00pm CET/JKT

A band director recruits a Harlem street drummer to play at a Southern university. Stars Nick Cannon and Zoe Saldana.

February 25, 7:00pm CET/JKT
Get On Up

Based on the incredible life story of James Brown, “the Godfather of Soul” as it takes you to his impoverished childhood and his evolution into one of the most influential musical figures of the 20th century. Stars Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, Jill Scott and Dan Aykroyd.

Ray – February 25, 9:30pm CET/JKT

The life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s. Stars Jamie Foxx and Regina King.

Friday Night Classic Musical Fare on AFN|movie

February 6
Tavis Smiley –episode featuring Vanessa Williams, 6:30pm CET/JKT
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge 7:00pm CET/JKT
What’s Love Got to Do With It 9:00pm CET/JKT

February 13
Michael Jackson’s This Is It 7:00pm CET/JKT
Lady Sings the Blues 9:00pm CET/JKT

February 20
Hustle & Flow 7:00pm CET/JKT
Five Heartbeats 9:00pm CET/JKT

February 27
En Vogue Christmas 7:00pm CET/JKT
Life is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story 8:30pm CET/JKT
The Josephine Baker Story 11:00pm CET/JKT

Musical Notes