What does “Está Rico” by Marc Anthony, Will Smith & Bad Bunny have in common with “Made For Now” by Janet Jackson x Daddy Yankee? They both high-jacked AfroBeats and did not give the genre’s origin props. Bakosó is a film that does the opposite, following DJ Jigüe to his hometown of Santiago de Cuba to find inspiration from the new sounds. He finds Afrobeats has helped create a new genre called Bakosó, which itself is beautiful proof that the exchange between Cuba and Africa did not end with the Transatlantic slave trade.
Skin is a feature documentary about exploring through identity the meaning of beauty in all the different shades of black. It is set in present day Lagos, where Nollywood actress Beverly Naya goes on a journey to learn about contrasting perceptions of beauty. She speaks to family, school children, traders, artists, beauty entrepreneurs and sex workers. This narrative is interwoven by poignant personal accounts of individuals who have dealt with the pressure to conform to certain standards of beauty, revealing how colourism continues to shape the face of the entertainment industry in Africa.
The HBO documentary THE APOLLO, helmed by Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Roger Ross Williams (LIFE, ANIMATED; GOD LOVES UGANDA; HBO’s MUSIC BY PRUDENCE), chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater. Over the last 85 years, what began as a refuge for marginalized artists has emerged as a hallowed hall of black excellence and empowerment.
The feature-length film weaves together archival clips of music, comedy and dance performances from an astonishing list of legendary talents that includes Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Richard Pryor and Lauryn Hill; behind-the-scenes verité footage of the team that makes the theater run; and interviews with such artists as Jamie Foxx, Angela Bassett, Pharrell Williams, Common, Patti LaBelle and Smokey Robinson. Williams also examines the current state of race in America, following the 2018 multi-media adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ best-selling book “Between the World and Me” as it comes together on the theater’s grand stage. In the film, Williams explores not only the struggle of black lives in America, but the role that art plays in that struggle, and the essential part the Apollo continues to play in the cultural conversation, lighting the path forward.
THE APOLLO debuts this fall on HBO.
The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion takes a look at the journeys of fashion architect Misa Hylton and designer April Walker, among others, who grabbed a foothold in hip hop fashion and never let go. The film focuses on the cultural impact these talented women and Dapper Dan and Kerby Jean-Raymond have made in the fashion world, from iconic looks styled in influential music videos to their global cultural impact.