Channel 4 in partnership with jazz club Ronnie Scott’s will celebrate some of the most up and coming British Jazz musicians in Young, Gifted and Black (w/t). A 1x60mins commission from Whisper, the film explores the history and impact of the iconic Black protest songs.
After an unprecedented year of tragedy, turmoil and reflection, a series of anthems of Black pride and protest are celebrated and performed by the hottest young Jazz musicians on Britain's contemporary jazz scene (jazz fused with soul, R&B & rap). Presented from the iconic Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, we will hear a range of classic songs, along with insights about why they still resonate in today’s society.
This commission bolsters Channel 4’s season of programmes celebrating Black lives and Black culture. Launched on 1st October, Black and Proud is a month-long curation of content ranging from bold and timely documentaries to powerful short films that show different aspects of the Black experience in modern Britain.
Among the commissions already announced, Mo Gilligan will be celebrating the Black comedians who paved the way for artists like him and shine a light on the new wave of acts coming, in Black, British and Funny (w/t); the taboo busting Black Hair (w/t) , co-funded by Dove and Unilever Entertainment, sees Emma Dabiri look at how hair shapes Black experiences in the UK; in Damilola: The Boy Next Door (w/t) Yinka Bokinni explores the impact of Damilola’s murder on her community; and Black Love (w/t) sees prominent Black British couples talk about their relationships and identity through the prism of love.
The Black and Proud season also sees new comedy Maxxx launch on Channel 4. From writer, director and star O-T Fagbenle, the series centres around a formerly famous boyband star trying to get his career back on track and win back his famous supermodel ex-girlfriend. Also in October, Film 4 Productions-backed Been So Long, the big-screen musical starring Michaela Coel, will make is network premiere on Film 4.
Random Acts - Channel 4's short film strand dedicated to the arts- will be platforming exciting films from cutting-edge Black filmmakers. Delivered by Nuwave Pictures and in partnership with Sainsbury’s Group and led by OMG UK’s multicultural division and PHD Media, these new works will showcase stories of Black culture and history that are rarely shown on TV: from representation of Black love and family, to busting stereotypes around youth culture and celebrating the place of Black music in Britain.
Channel 4’s short form factual strand, True Stories will showcase a series of films featuring Black British artists and stories across its social platforms. In Stone Cold Killers (w/t), award-winning poet LionHeart questions how buildings and spaces affect our habits and mental wellbeing; Conversation With My Mum (w/t) captures an intimate conversation as hair-care guru Kenique lets her mum Jennifer braid and twist her hair, while Conversation With My Dad (w/t) will see bartender Khari mix his favourite mocktails for his dad Jules and ask him the toughest question of all- has he lived up to paternal expectations.
Throughout the month All4 will be making available a rich catalogue of programmes that showcase Black voices in Britain and across the world. What it means to live with racism is powerfully explored in the recent series Take Your Knee Off My Neck, featuring powerful testimonies of abuse and defiance, the critically-acclaimed The Talk, in which prominent Black Britons share what it’s like to be told about racism as a child, and The School the Tried to End Racism which sees a radical experiment in a racially diverse school. History is rewritten as David Lammy uncovers the experiences of the forgotten Black African soldiers who fought for Britain in Unremembered and Lupita Nyong’o goes to Benin to learn the truth about an army of female soldiers in Warrior Women, while Gal-dem presents: Black British History offers six short films that ask provocative questions about the evolving definitions of Black British. Unlocking the archive, a broad range of films and series will be made available, from the iconic sitcom Desmond’s and Michaela Coel’s E4 hit Chewing Gum to 1995’s Justice for Joy, a seminal film that resulted in those responsible for Joy Gardner’s death being brought to trial, 2015’s Black Lesbian Handbook, a lively guide to the underground Black Lesbian scene in Britain, 2017’s Angry, White and American, Gary Younge’s powerful and timely expose on race and anger in the USA; among others in the All 4 Collection.
Film4 has a powerful collection of films, including the network premiere of Film4 Productions-backed Been So Long, a big-screen musical starring Michaela Coel and Arinze Kene; and playwright Debbie Tucker Green’s intimate drama Second Coming, starring Idris Elba and Nadine Marshall. The programme of acclaimed films continues with Fences, starring and directed by Denzel Washington and featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Viola Davis; director Amma Asante’s Belle, set in the 18th century and starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw; and 2016’s Hidden Figures, a biographical drama about the unsung heroes of the space race starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.
Kiss TV and 4Music will also be taking part in the season with Black Music Month, promoting and celebrating music and artists from Black backgrounds.
Young, Gifted and Black w/t (1x60mins)
Exec Producer: Geoff Riding and Len Blavatnik
Producer: Sasha Duncan
Studio Director: Janet Fraser Cook
Production Manager: Rosie Wilkes
Production Company: Whisper
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