“AfroPoP” Series Views Climate Through A Black Lens With “Freedom Hill”

April 13, 2024

AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, the acclaimed series from Black Public Media (BPM) and WORLD, closes out its 16th season on April 22, 2024 — Earth Day.

With a documentary film exploring the urgent effects of climate change on one North Carolina community. Produced and directed by filmmaker Resita Cox, Freedom Hill debuts on AfroPoP on Monday, April 22 at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. Central) on WORLD and streams on the WORLD and Black Public Media YouTube channels.

In Freedom Hill, Cox — an award-winning, North Carolina-based filmmaker — transports audiences to Princeville, North Carolina, a town that has the distinction of being the oldest town in the United States chartered by Black people. Formerly enslaved Africans settled the area — which is set along the state’s Tar River — and initially called it Freedom Hill. Established in a low-lying area of the state that was known to be prone to flooding, Princeville now battles frequent “100-year” floods that threaten to wash the town away.

Cox grew up an hour away from Princeville but didn’t learn of the town’s historical significance until sent as a reporter for WCTI-TV 12 in New Bern, North Carolina to cover the flooding.


Through milestone events, everyday life in the town and the work of Marquetta Dickens — a Princeville native who has returned to her hometown and taken on the mantle of saving it — the documentary explores the history of Princeville and its uncertain future. In the face of environmental injustice that leaves many of their calls for change unanswered, the people of Princeville provide an intimate look at a community on the knife’s edge of climate change.     

Freedom Hill is a co-presentation of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange and WORLD’s Local, USA, a series that profiles diverse people and communities throughout the United States.

“For generations, Black people have been on the receiving end of environmental racism,” said AfroPoP series director/producer Denise A. Greene. “Climate change is intensifying this situation, jeopardizing our health, our property and our very lives. Resita’s film brilliantly uplifts the daily struggles facing our people, ensuring that our voices are heard and the plight of our people is centered in the conversation on climate.”


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Three other films are presented in season 16 of AfroPoP, which showcases stories and lives from across the African diaspora. Commuted, by Nailah Jefferson, is a documentary exploring a woman’s efforts to rebuild her life after having her triple life prison sentence commuted by President Obama. Two narrative feature films from Kenya were also highlighted this season: Supa Modo by Likarion Wainaina, a magical tale of a village that helps a terminally ill young girl achieve her dream of becoming a superhero; and Mbithi Masya’s Kati Kati, an award-winning, supernatural film following a woman with amnesia on an exploration of life and death.

The films of AfroPoP season 16 can be streamed online on the WORLD YouTube Channel, the Black Public Media YouTube Channel and on the PBS App. Viewers can also check their local listings for broadcast re-airings on their local WORLD and PBS stations.  

For more information about AfroPoP, visit https://worldchannel.org/show/afropop/ or https://blackpublicmedia.org/afropop/.  

Black Public Media

Black Public Media (BPM) supports the development of visionary content creators and distributes stories about the global Black experience to inspire a more equitable and inclusive future. For more than 44 years, BPM has addressed the needs of unserved and underserved audiences, while also helping public broadcasters fulfill their obligations to the American public. BPM-supported programs have won five Emmys, nine Peabodys, three Anthem Awards, 14 Emmy nominations, and an Oscar nomination. BPM continues to address historical, contemporary, and systemic challenges that traditionally impede the development and distribution of Black stories. For more information, visit blackpublicmedia.org and follow BPM on Instagram and Facebook and @BLKPublicMedia on X.

WORLD

WORLD shares the best of public media in news, documentaries and programming. WORLD’s original series examines the issues and amplifies the voices of those often ignored by mainstream media. The multi-platform channel helps audiences understand conflicts, movements and cultures from around the globe. Its original work has won a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, an International Documentary Association Award, a National News and Documentary Emmy Award, two Webby Awards and many others honoring diversity of content and makers. WORLD is carried by 194 member stations in markets representing 77% of US TV households. Funding for WORLD is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. WORLD is produced by GBH in partnership with WNET and is distributed by American Public Television (APT). Find out more at WORLDChannel.org.

PBS PLUS

PBS Plus is a syndicated programming service for public television stations, supplementing the primetime, daily news, and children’s content in the National Program Service, providing series and specials intended for various dayparts. All PBS member stations, reaching all available national TV households, have access to PBS Plus content. Annually, stations are provided with approximately 500 hours of programming via PBS Plus.

PBS Plus seeks general-audience programs with national and regional appeal that supplement PBS’s National Program Service for primetime programming. PBS Plus series and specials range from “how-to” programs such as This Old House and food series such as The Food Principle to curated documentary series such as Reel South and arts and cultural shows such as Austin City Limits. PBS Plus also seeks out content that embraces our country’s cultural diversity through heritage documentaries and holiday celebration programs. Half-hour lifestyle series in the food, home improvement, and other lifestyle genres are also a content priority.

Photo credit: Black Public Media.


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