The new docu-series “Phunny Business:
A Black Comedy," premieres Feb. 23 on Showtime
Cable nets are honoring Black History Month with scores of documentaries, specials, film premieres, concerts and series. Here’s a selection of what’s in store for February.
NBA TV is airing a series of video segments to run throughout the month during the program “GameTime.” Dubbed “Barrier Breakers,” the videos will highlight African-American sports legends and pioneers. The first profile aired on the Feb. 1 and featured Bill Russell, a 12-time All-Star, the first African-American NBA coach and 2011 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.
Disney Channel is airing “This is Me,” an interstitial series geared toward 6-14-year olds which features the views, hopes and inspirations of young African Americans.
Cox is partnering with HBO to host free screenings of the doc “The Loving Story” at theaters in Hampton Roads, Virginia, Feb. 9 and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Feb. 10. The film follows an interracial couple living in Virginia in the 1950s and their Supreme Court win to legalize their marriage.
Music Choice’s campaign, called “Writing History Today,” takes a look at the past, present and future of black music via a four-part series on demand. Artists to be profiled include Mary J. Blige (Jan. 30), Jay-Z (Feb. 6), Beyonce (Feb. 13) and Diddy (Feb. 20).
African-American targeted broadcast net Bounce TV will kick off its first Black History Month campaign, called “Our History.” It’s airing docs on Wednesdays and Fridays and vignettes reflecting on African-American heritage and culture, hosted by top film directors and stars like Kevin Hart and Gabrielle Union.
BET and Centric are airing documentaries, films, specials and new episodes of current series. A few examples: “BET Honors” (Feb. 13) recognizes accomplished African Americans including Maya Angelou, Stevie Wonder and Spike Lee; music specials on R. Kelly (Feb. 11), Heavy D (Feb. 26) and Mary J. Blige (Feb. 18), all on Centric; films on BET including “The Express” (Feb. 4) and “Dreamgirls” (Feb. 16); and new eps of “The Game” and “Let’s Stay Together” on BET.
Showtime will premiere the new docu-series, “Phunny Business: A Black Comedy” on Feb. 23, which chronicles the rise and fall of Chicago comedy club “All Jokes Aside,” a former hotbed of black comedic talent.
GMC TV’s programming slate includes the premiere of the original film “A Cross to Bear” (Feb. 18), “The 27th Annual Stellar Awards Show” (Feb. 11) celebrating gospel music, several dramatic films and “Black History Moments,” a series of reflections from gospel greats.