Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) have joined forces to create a month-long programming venture centered around the portrayal of African-Americans on film. The new series will examine a slew of classic black films from the 1920s through the 1990s.
The Black Experience On Film will be hosted by 13 journalists and film critics who are all members of the AAFCA. The show will premiere on September 4 and will air via primetime on Tuesdays and Thursday. All 32 films being discussed throughout the month of September are placed in different themes and categories to help steer the conversation including Exploring Black Identity, Hollywood Confronts Racism, Africans-Americans Coming of Age, Black Romance in Film, African American Musicals, among many others.
Because of how complex the portrayal of African-Americans has been in the media and in Hollywood, this initiative is pivotal in seeing the evolution of this depiction through the lens of prominent critics.
“Since the earliest days of film, the portrayal of black characters has ranged from stereotypical and one-dimensional to more nuanced and complex,” Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming & production, TCM stated. “With this programming tentpole, we will explore this important part of film history specifically from an African-American perspective with insightful commentary from some of the nation's most prominent film critics.”
Some of the films being discussed are A Raisin In The Sun, A Warm December, Cabin In The Sky, Sparkle, Watermelon Man, among many more. The film critics include the likes of Jasmine Simpkins, Shawn Edwards, and Gil Robertson (AAFCA president).
“The legacy of African Americans in cinema often goes untold, but it has been a long and arduous journey,” Robertson said. “Since the earliest beginnings of the art form, African Americans have had a presence in cinema. That is the point we hope these 32 films will drive home. Our intent is that audiences be engaged, entertained and enlightened by the sheer diversity and breadth of this substantial arc of film programming.”
The month-long programming is set to airs every Tuesday and Thursday in September 2018.