As previously announced, PBS is commemorating Black History Month and Black culture all year long with programming showcasing the community’s accomplishments, struggles and triumphs. As a complement to on-air programming, PBS DIGITAL STUDIOS is releasing new episodes of SAY IT LOUD and SOUND FIELD, and is offering a curated playlist featuring a wide range of topics across history, culture, arts, politics and more from some of its most popular PBS YouTube series.
SAY IT LOUD explores the complexity of the Black experience and finds joy in the many ways Black Americans have influenced American life. Hosted by Evelyn Ngugi of “Evelyn from the Internets,” the show gives viewers a comedic take on everything from identity and pop culture to Black pride movements and Black Twitter. Based in Austin, Texas, Ngugi is a humor writer, digital storyteller, producer and speaker with expertise in digital media, storytelling, culture, social justice and comedy. SAY IT LOUD returns on Thursday, February 18 with its second season premiere episode, “Unforgivable: Should We Cancel ‘Cancel Culture’?”
Other notable SAY IT LOUD episodes include: “How Do You Define Black Pride?”, “Black People Made That!”, “Where Are You REALLY From? Black Migrations and Immigration, Explained” and “Should You Go to an HBCU?” Additional episodes—both new and recent—are available on YouTube and PBS.org.
SOUND FIELD, a music education series exploring the music theory, production, history and culture behind popular songs and music styles, will also release and highlight Black History Month-related programming in February. Co-hosted by teaching artists and accomplished musicians Arthur “L.A.” Buckner and Linda Diaz, each episode is a unique combination of musical performance and video essay explainers covering the connections between various genres, from pop, classical, rap, jazz and electronic to folk, country and indigenous music.
On Wednesday, February 17, SOUND FIELD delves into the life of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti with a new episode entitled “How Fela Kuti Pioneered Afrobeat (w.t.).” During the 1970s, Kuti pioneered the musical genre afrobeat by blending together funk, jazz and salsa, drawing major inspiration from James Brown’s funk (and vice versa). Today, Nigerian artists like Burna Boy are keeping the genre alive and well by racking up nominations from the Grammy, MTV and BET Awards. Afrobeat influences can also be heard by Top 40 artists like Drake and Beyoncé.
New and recent episodes of SOUND FIELD, such as “What Makes Black Gospel Musicians So Skilled?”, ““How James Brown Invented Funk,” “Where is the Funk? How Prince Created the Minneapolis Sound (feat. Jellybean Johnson of The Time)” and “Why is Jersey Club Music Everywhere?”, are available on YouTube and PBS.org.
L.A. Buckner’s deep infatuation with music began at age 3, when he could not take his eyes off the drums at his church service. His father took notice and purchased his first drum kit soon after. Today, L.A. is a performing musician, teaching artist and producer from the Northside of Minneapolis. He holds a master’s degree in music performance from McNally Smith College of Music and is a community partnership teaching artist for the MacPhail Center for Music. L.A.’s playing is infused with energy, excitement, culture and excellence.
Additional PBS Black History Month programming will be available for streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members will be able to view all episodes via PBS Passport (contact local PBS stations for details).
For more information on PBS’s Black History Month on-air and online programming, visit PBS.org. Viewers are also encouraged to engage in online conversation by tagging @PBS and @PBSDS and using #BlackHistoryMonthPBS or #BlackHistoryMonth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.