As we head into Black History Month, the annual recognition of the contribution and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage, there is a host of programming airing this week to mark the occassion.
Black History Month has been celebrated in the UK since 1987, and this October there are new documentaries set to air, as well as broadcasts of classic and iconic modern films.
This includes the powerful documentary film I Am Not Your Negro, the Oscar-winning Moonlight and Samuel L Jackson’s BBC documentary Enslaved.
Here’s all the best programming from the first week of Black History Month 2022.
I Am Not Your Negro
This stunning combination of a documentary and a film essay is narrated by Samuel L Jackson, with everything said coming entirely from the words of acclaimed American writer and activist James Baldwin.
The film touches on the lives and assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr and Medgar Evers, and used archive footage to express how the images and reality of black lives in America are fabricated and enforced.
How to watch? Saturday 1st October, 11:30pm, BBC Four
Queen & Slim
This 2019 film stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, and tells the story of a young couple who experience a bad Tinder date. On their way back from the date they are pulled over by police in a racially-motivated traffic stop, and in the heat of the moment Slim shoots the officer dead in self-defence.
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The couple then have to go on the run together, taking up the kindness of strangers and a host of well-wishers who are aware of their story, as they attempt to flee a manhunt and, ultimately, escape the country.
It’s a powerful exploration of prescient themes which still manages to inject humour and lightness into a very heavy story, while Kaluuya and Turner-Smith make theirs a romance to root for.
How to watch? Sunday 2nd October, 10:45pm, BBC Two
This Best Picture Oscar-winning film from 2016 is based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, but might be one of the most cinematic theatrical adaptations of all time. With a gorgeous and distinct look and tone, it tells the story of Chiron, a young boy whose life is told through three periods as he comes of age.
With a phenomenal cast including Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris, it is a stirring exploration of masculinity, sexuality and race.
How to watch? Monday 3rd October, 11:15pm, BBC Two
What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali
This two-part documentary, with both episodes airing back-to-back this week on Sky Documentaries, charts the life and times of Ali, one of the 20th Century’s most iconic figures.
The series explores the challenges, confrontations, comebacks and triumphs that marked Ali’s life and career, while utilising a mix of his own voice recordings and archive footage.
How to watch? Tuesday 4th October, 9pm, Sky Documentaries.
Enslaved with Samuel L Jackson
Samuel L Jackson fronts this four-part docuseries which first aired in 2020. Through the series, the star traces his ancestry to Gabon, visiting the area from where his enslaved ancestors were shipped in their millions to the Americas.
The series tells the story not only of the enslaved who survived, but also the over two million Africans who died en route, only a handful of whom have ever been identified. Jackson teams up with a group of underwater investigators who view the ocean floor as a graveyard and a crime scene.
How to watch? Wednesday 6th October, 1:20am, BBC Four
The documentary profiles the life of Muhammad Abdul Aziz, a man who was wrongfully convicted of assassinating Malcolm X. The special retraces the 1965 assassination as well as Aziz’s decades behind bars and the impact it had on his family.
It includes the first TV interview Aziz conducted since his time in prison.
How to watch? Friday 7th October, Disney Plus
See what else is on with our TV Guide.
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