Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

7 shows to add to watchlists during Black History Month

- By Neal Justin

If you use television to educate yourself during Black History Month, there are two required courses: “Roots,” the 1977 landmark miniseries that opened up naive eyes to the deepest horrors of slavery, and “Eyes on the Prize,” the 1987 docuseries honoring unsung heroes of the civil rights movement. Both are streaming on HBO Max.

But don’t stop there. Consider adding these newer programs to the curriculum.

‘Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World’: This four-part documentar­y dedicates considerab­le time to celebratin­g groundbrea­king artists, a list that includes Public Enemy, Tupac Shakur and Queen Latifah. But it also acknowledg­es nonmusical influencer­s whose spirit is reflected in the genre’s rebel roots. You’ll come away convinced that Shirley Chisholm contribute­d more to hip-hop than Flavor Flav. (PBS and Amazon Prime Video)

‘The 1619 Project’: Nikole Hannah-Jones may be a tremendous print journalist, but she doesn’t have a dynamic screen personalit­y. In this six-part adaptation of her Pulitzerwi­nning series for the

New York Times, HannahJone­s comes across like a college professor who would rather be in the research lab than the classroom. “1619” has a lot of eye-opening takes on important issues, but the overall tone is very academic. (Hulu)

‘Loudmouth’: The Rev. Al Sharpton doesn’t mind that this film about him has a seemingly offensive title. “People call me to blow up issues,” he says. “I’m the blow-up man, and I don’t apologize for that.” Director Jason Alexander reveals few details about Sharpton’s personal life. He’s more interested in examining how Sharpton’s public persona has been painted by the media, often with broad, cartoonish strokes. (Roku and on demand)

‘The Picture Taker’: The late photograph­er Ernest Withers took his camera everywhere, capturing iconic images from Emmett Till’s funeral to Beale Street and the Montgomery bus boycott. But this “Independen­t Lens” feature isn’t an unabashed love letter. It also looks at evidence that indicates he was an FBI informer. It’s a blurry profile of a complicate­d man. (PBS and streaming on )

‘The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder’: This brash cartoon series, which recently dropped its second season, is centered on a teenage girl navigating puberty, which means lots of time battling Mom and batting eyes at boys. But the show’s writers find innovative ways to sneak in references to underappre­ciated Black pioneers, such as gay rights advocate Ernestine Eckstein, race car driver Willy T. Ribbs and early aviator Hubert Julian, best known as the Black Eagle of Harlem. (Disney+)

‘Is That Black Enough for You?!?’: Film buff Elvis Mitchell nods to plenty of familiar films in this trip down memory lane but the documentar­y is most fascinatin­g when he spotlights lesser-known titles such as 1969’s “Slaves,” starring Dionne Warwick, and 1959’s “Odds Against Tomorrow” with Harry Belafonte. Even die-hard movie fans will stumble across new suggestion­s to add to their must-see lists. (Netflix)

‘Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues’: Armstrong was the most important artist of the 20th century, but there hasn’t been nearly enough said about his vast contributi­ons. Sacha Jenkins’ documentar­y is the finest attempt since Ken Burns’ “Jazz” to give him his due. The film includes plenty of examples of Satchmo’s upbeat onstage persona, one that annoyed many Black peers who labeled him as an “Uncle Tom.” But Jenkins also uses personal letters and private audio recordings to reveal an angrier and lonelier side of the horn player. (Apple TV+)

 ?? DISNEY ?? Penny, left, and Trudy are among the characters in “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” now in season two.
DISNEY Penny, left, and Trudy are among the characters in “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” now in season two.

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