Watch HBO Docuseries Stax: Soulsville U.S.A. Trailer

Stax: Soulsville U.S.A. is an HBO original documentary about the record label that helped shape the course of American music in the ’60s and ’70s. Jamila Wignot is the producer and director of the four-part series which is a production of Laylow Pictures and White Horse Pictures in association with Concord Originals, Polygram Entertainment, and Warner Music Entertainment. Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Johnnie Taylor, Booker T. & The M.G.’s and Wilson Pickett are some of the artists who called Stax home.

Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton founded the label in 1957 as Satellite Records. By 1961 the name was changed to Stax. Rufus Thomas and his daughter Carla created the label’s first regional hit with “Cause I Love You” in 1961. Otis Redding put Stax in the national spotlight in the early ’60s thanks to “These Arms Of Mine” and “Respect” which Aretha Franklin made her own. At the height of the label’s success, their artists commemorated the Watts Rebellion by playing the 1972 Wattstax benefit concert. 

The label’s story is told through archival footage and insight from the founders, singer Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Stax’s director of publicity; David Porter, Booker T. Jones, Stax singer and songwriter; Sam Moore, and more. Stax: Soulsville U.S.A. will debut on Monday, May 20th at 9 PM ET on HBO with the first two episodes.  Episodes three and four will air the next day at the same time. 



Apple TV+ Releases Trailer For Huey P. Newton Series The Big Cigar

The Big Cigar Huey P. Newton

Apple TV+ has released the trailer for The Big Cigar series about Huey P. Newton’s escape to Cuba with help from Hollywood director Bert Schneider.  The story is based on an article Joshuah Bearman wrote for Playboy Magazine about Newton fleeing to Cuba in 1974 after facing murder charges in California. Newton had been arrested for the fatal shooting of a young Black prostitute and after posting bond fled to Cuba where he lived for three years. Schneider had created a fake movie to help Newton’s plan to the leave the country but the feature was never completed. The Big Cigar is mostly true and reenacts some the events that happened with Schneider’s potential scheme. Don Cheadle has directed two of the six episodes for the show that premieres on May 17th. André Holland portrays Newton with a cast including Glynn Turman, Moses Ingram, Rebecca Dalton, Jordane Christie, Tiffany Boone, Olli Haaskivi, Marc Menchaca, P.J. Byrne and Alessandro Nivola. Joshuah Bearman, Jim Hecht and Janine Sherman Barrois are executive producers. 

The Big Cigar Series About Black Panther Huey P. Newton To Air On AppleTV+

The Big Cigar is a limited drama series on AppleTV+ about Black Panther founder Huey P. Newton’s escape to Cuba. The story is based on an article Joshuah Bearman who is also the executive producer wrote about Newton for Playboy Magazine. In 1974, Newton was accused of shooting a 17-year-old prostitute and pistol-whipping his tailor and he fled to Cuba with Schneider’s help. Schneider was a famous name in Hollywood during the ’60s because the production company co-founded with Bob Rafaelson produced The Monkees TV show and the very successful 1969 counterculture film Easy Rider. According to Bearman’s article, Schneider wrote The Cigar to help with Newton’s escape but never filmed it. 

André Holland stars as Newton in the series that premieres on May 17th and will stream every Friday until June 14th. The ensemble cast includes Glynn Turman, Alessandro Nivola, Tiffany Boone, P. J. Byrne, Marc Menchaca, Moses Ingram, Rebecca Dalton, Olli Haaskivi and Jordane Christie. Actor, producer and director Don Cheadle will direct and executive produce the first two episodes. 





Season 16 Of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange Premieres April 1st

Season 16 of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange returns with new films from the African diaspora with themes of redemption, magic, the supernatural and environmental racism. The Black Public Media and WORLD created series will air season 16 on their YouTube channels. 

The next season starts with Commuted from director Nailah Jefferson, who also directed Donyale Luna: Supermodel which premiered in 2023 on HBO Max. Commuted follows Danielle Metz who was serving a triple life sentence for drug charges until President Barack Obama gave her clemency. The camera captures Metz as she returns to her New Orleans works on re-bonding with her children. Likarion Wainaina’s Supa Modo is set in Kenya and shows how a village helps a terminally ill girl fulfill her wish to become a superhero. Mbithi Masya’s Kati Kati is another Kenyan film and it is the story of a young woman’s journey into the afterlife. The feature won Best Movie at the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards. Freedom Hill ends the season with the story of the first American town chartered by former slaves and the floods that threatened its survival. The film was a finalist at the 2022 Essence Film Festival and winner of Best Documentary Short at the 2022 Middlebury New Filmmakers Film Festival.

AfroPoP has presented 91 films since it premiered in 2008. Bobbito Garcia, Baron Claiborne, Terence Nance, Raoul Peck, Violeta Ayala and Yaba Blay are some of the directors who have showcased their work. The series is executive produced by BPM Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz and WORLD (at GBH) Editor and Chief Chris Hastings. Denise A. Greene is series director/producer, Carol Bash is series associate producer and Ashton Pina is the series writer.  Hastings elaborated on the purpose of AfroPoP in a press statement.

AfroPoP is more than just a series; it’s a vibrant tapestry that stitches together the voices of marginalized communities, offering a platform for stories that are too often overlooked. WORLD’s mission is to illuminate the many facets of the human experience through content that educates, informs and inspires. In partnership with Black Public Media, with AfroPoP, we continue to push experience through content that educates, informs and inspires. In partnership with Black Public Media, with AfroPoP, we continue to push boundaries, finding innovative ways to connect audiences with content that reflects their lives and experiences. Join us as we celebrate the voices, the stories and the impact of the African Diaspora on our world.”

Viewers can find AfroPoP on the WORLD and Black Public Media YouTube channels and the PBS app. The new episodes will air weekly on WORLD through April 22 and PBS Plus will distribute the series to PBS affiliate public television stations across the country beginning April 1. The show can be seen on all PBS platforms and iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO.