FORMER NBA STAR KAREEM-ABDUL-JABBAR JOINS WITH THE HISTORY CHANNEL TO PRESENT "BLACK PATRIOTS: HEROES OF THE CIVIL WAR" ON FEB. 21 AT 11 P.M. (ET/PT).
Compiled By: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
THE HISTORY CHANNEL PREMIERES "BLACK PATRIOTS: HEROES OF THE CIVIL WAR" ON FEB. 21
The History Channel will premiere "Black Patriots: Heroes of the Civil War" on Feb. 21 at 11 p.m. (ET/PT).
The new one-hour documentary is executive produced and narrated by historian and social justice advocate Kareem Abul-Jabbar, and Deborah Morales of Iconomy Multi-Media and Entertainment.
The documentary takes a close look at one of the most studied, debated, and dissected periods in American history, the Civil War, and the heroic figures whose bravery and selfless contributions helped define and reshape the reality of a democracy.
"The Civil War wasn't just fought over Black Americans, it was also fought by them," said Abdul-Jabbar. "This documentary chronicles the heroic contributions of courageous African American men and women who helped reshape our nation."
The end of the Revolutionary War in 1783 saw a new nation break free from the shackles of British tyranny, but for hundreds of thousands of African Americans, the struggle for freedom was far from over. When the Civil War first began, of the 4.3 million African Americans living in the U.S., 3.9 million of them were still enslaved. At its core, the Civil War was about African American's fight for their freedom and the opportunity to create a better life for themselves in a country they helped nurture and build.
Anchored by sit down interviews and personal narratives from Abdul-Jabbar, coupled with anecdotes from noteworthy historians and authors, "Black Patriots: Heroes of the Civil War" takes an in-depth look into the events and figures who laid the foundational blocks of freedom for African Americans in the U.S. such as lesser-known figures like former enslaved man turned war hero Robert Smalls and Union spy Mary Richards, to well-known heroes such as influential abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Underground Railroad pioneer Harriet Tubman. The Civil War highlighted the gross racial inequalities that still existed in this country carried over from a pre-abolitionist era, but also brought forth crucial figures who stepped up to eradicate inequality, paved the way for various freedom movements to come and showed that true democracy can be achieved.
"Black Patriots: Heroes of the Civil War" marks the NBA Legend's third documentary with the network. Abdul-Jabbar received an Emmy nomination in 2020 for outstanding narrator in "Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution."
"Black Patriots: Heroes of the Civil War" is produced for The History Channel by the Six West MediaTM group. Steve Ascher, Kristy Sabat, Jessica Conway and Stephen Mintz are executive producers for the Six West MediaTM group. Jennifer Wagman serves as executive producer for The History Channel.
ABOUT THE HISTORY CHANNEL:
The History Channel, a division of A+E Networks, is the premier destination for historical storytelling. From best-in-class documentary events, to a signature slate of industry leading nonfiction series and premium fact-based scripted programming, The History Channel serves as the most trustworthy source of informational entertainment in media.
The History Channel has been named the No. 1 U.S. TV network in buzz for seven consecutive years by YouGov BrandIndex, and a top favorite TV network by Beta Research Corporation. For a deeper dive, visit history.com or follow @history on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
OTHER TV NEWS:
CNN+ TO PREMIERE "DIONNE WARWICK: DON'T MAKE ME OVER" FOR CNN FILMS
CNN Films has acquired the critically-acclaimed, award-winning, fan and festival favorite, "Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over." The documentary will be among the first films to premiere on CNN+, CNN's highly-anticipated streaming service debuting this spring.
Produced, directed, and written by Dave Wooley, and directed by David Heilbroner, Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over" is a deeply personal, intimate portrait of the velvet-voiced songstress. The film yields insights into Warwick's rise to music superstardom from singing in her grandfather's church, to her life beyond the lights standing up to discrimination in America and around the world.
Speaking on behalf of the filmmakers, Dave Wooley, said, "There have been many words to describe Dionne Warwick, however, for me, it comes down to one word: 'genius.'" Wooley, who directed Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over" with David Heilbroner, says his research for the film reveals Warwick as "a deeply 'transformational leader.' Her extraordinary voice is a gift that she uses for her art, and always also as an instrument for creating positive change, compassion, and social justice, wherever she is."
Warwick became the very first solo African American female artist to win a Grammy in contemporary vocal performance, for 1968's "Do You Know The Way To San Jose." The song became so ubiquitous, former President and musician Bill Clinton describes how it inspired a road trip for him. Dionne Warwick has earned six Grammy Awards, with 14 nominations, to date.
Throughout the film, Warwick takes viewers on her own trip through time, sometimes narrating over archival footage, sometimes literally visiting and describing locations of key importance to her life and career. From East Orange, NJ, to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY, to the capitals of Europe, and back home again, the film includes rare interviews with those who know Warwick best: her two sons, Damon and David Elliott; Warwick's aunt, Cissy Houston; and long-time collaborators, Burt Bacharach and Clive Davis. And, in an emotional archival interview, Whitney Houston reflects upon her appreciation for her cousin's talent and mentorship.
"Dionne Warwick is legendary not only because of her tremendous musicality, but also because she has had an immense impact on American and global culture," said Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films, who along with Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, acquired the documentary for debut on CNN+. "From exploring her contributions to racial justice, compassion for the HIV/AIDS community, and her work to expand LGBTQ+ equality, the filmmakers have created a beautiful film that recognizes her legacy in full," Sexton said.
Warwick's grace, grit, and glamour shine through in contemporary exclusives with fellow music legends Snoop Dogg, Gloria Estefan, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, Gladys Knight, Olivia Newton-John, Smokey Robinson, Carlos Santana, Valerie Simpson, and Stevie Wonder, who discussed what Warwick has meant to the industry, and the wider culture. Beyond admiring Warwick's technical gifts, each artist hailed Warwick's determined dignity, rising above, and despite racism within the music industry, in America, and around the world.
As music tastes and styles changed through the decades, Warwick's style has also adapted and evolved. For her first debut single, which shares its title with that of the documentary, Warwick emerged from singing backup vocals to the spotlight as a soulful solo star. That single, "Don't Make Me Over," was inspired by Warwick's reproach of producer Bacharach for reassigning a potential hit song to another artist.
Warwick notes for the film how style advice from Marlene Dietrich helped her define her first world tour as a refined event showcase of her elegant early ballads. Recording "Alfie" and "Theme From Valley of the Dolls," for movies further broadened her popular appeal.
Still later, Bacharach, with Barry Gibb of the supergroup Bee Gees, describe how they worked with Warwick to develop the global chart-topper, "Heartbreaker," ushering in yet another new chapter in her career.
As the AIDS era loomed, Sir Elton John and Kenneth Cole detailed how "That's What Friends Are For," came together as an iconic anthem urging love and compassion. Warwick, an early advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and empathy, was instrumental in bringing together a celebrated group of artists for a renowned recording session that has raised awareness, and millions, for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR).
In recent years, Warwick's popularity has extended to a whole new generation of fans through her quippy commentary on Twitter, and her embrace of a series of affectionate impersonations on Saturday Night Live that even led to a surprise appearance on the late night comedy show.
The deal for "Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over" was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, senior vice president of business affairs for CNN Worldwide, on behalf of CNN Films and CNN+. Endeavor Content and Mister Smith brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Mister Smith will launch international sales at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale European Film Market, this week.
The film premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, where it received the Special Tribute Award and was first runner-up for the People's Choice Award for documentaries. The film later screened at San Francisco International Film Festival; DOC NYC; Montclair Film Festival, where it received the Audience Award for Non-Fiction Feature; and, Gene Siskel Film Center's Black Harvest Film Festival, where it was honored as Best Feature Film.
CNN+ is CNN Worldwide's subscription streaming service launching in Q1 2022. It will feature new, live, on demand and interactive programming as a standalone direct-to-consumer service with offerings that are separate and distinct from CNN, CNN International, HLN and CNN en Español linear TV channels. At launch, 8-12 hours of live, daily programming from some of CNN's favorite anchors and new talent will be available throughout the week, alongside a thriving community component for fans to engage with the content. Unlike anything else on the market, CNN+ taps into CNN's credibility, expertise, and CNN talent to deliver an additive experience to what pay TV subscribers get on-air and for free online.
ABOUT CNN FILMS:
CNN Films produces and acquires documentary feature and short films for theatrical and festival exhibition and distribution across CNN's multiple platforms. Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development, oversees the strategy for CNN Films. Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films, works day-to-day with filmmakers to oversee projects. Acclaimed CNN Films include "Julia," the surprising biography of chef, television star, and author, Julia Child, from filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen, who previously directed the Academy Award-nominated RBG, about the life and legacy of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Others include: "Citizen Ashe," directed by Sam Pollard and Rex Miller, about tennis great and humanitarian Arthur Ashe. "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain," executive produced with HBO Max and directed by Morgan Neville. "Navalyn" with Time Studios, about the attempted assassination of Russian opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, directed by Daniel Roher, which debuted at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
For more information about CNN Films, please visit www.CNN.com/CNNFilms and follow @CNNFilms via Twitter.
Editor's Note: Information used in this report obtained from The History Channel and CNN+.