Black History Month runs all through February and television is taking part in celebrating Black voices and stories across film, television, politics, sports and more.
CBS Sports will keep up the momentum year-round by airing vignettes that stem from conversations from members of the network’s Black Steering Committee, in addition to specials on legendary quarterback Doug Williams and HBCU all-star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.
A more classical look at the past, The History Channel will honor the seminal Tuskegee Airman with a Robin Roberts-led documentary. Meanwhile, YouTube will come full circle with its “Black Renaissance” special by showcasing artists of the past and present.
Read a full list of Black History Month programming below. (More programming will be added to the list as networks announce titles.)
“We Need to Talk with Doug Williams” (Jan. 31, CBS Sports) – To kick off the week of the Super Bowl, Lesley Visser sits down with Doug Williams, the first Black quarterback to start in and win the Super Bowl. He was named the Washington Redskins’ MVP for breaking numerous records for passing touchdowns, passing yards and longest touchdown pass.
“Celebrating Black Stories” (Feb. 1, CBS Sports) – CBS Network will highlight four Black athletes through the debut of animated vignettes. The mini history lessons feature Josh Gibson (Hall of Fame catcher), William Edward White (thought to be first ever Black player in Major League Baseball), Alice Coachman (first Black female Olympic gold medalist) and Lucy Diggs Slowe (first Black woman to win a national title in any sport).
“Celebrating Black Artists” (Feb. 1, Ovation TV) – Ovation TV and its advocacy platform Stand for The Arts will celebrate Black artists and their crafts through curated on-demand programming and public service announcements. The network will stream documentaries on prominent figures such as Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, DMC and more and feature a “Celebrity Conversations” series with panelists such as Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry, Keegan-Michael Key and others.
“A Salute to Black Achievements in Television presented by Citi” (Feb. 1, paleycenter.org) – The Paley Center for Media will spotlight Black talent in all spheres of life, including government and politics, sports and education. Throughout February, the center will air conversations with figures including 50 Cent and Ava DuVernay, offer an interactive experience educating viewers on prominent Black achievements and provide tools for audiences to discover more about Black history.
“Black History Month: Past, Present, Future” (Feb. 1, ABC11) – Over the course of February, ABC 11 will feature content that celebrates Black culture. Its features include civil rights activist Pauli Murray,” “Today’s Change Makers” and more. Programming kicks off with “Our America: The HBCU Experience,” which highlights the legacies of the historically Black colleges and universities throughout North Carolina.
Disney Channel Black History Month programming (Feb.1, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD) – Throughout February and the rest of the year, Disney Television is celebrating history-making African Americans in contemporary history. The short-form series kicks off with Vice President Kamala Harris and will go on to highlight NBA champion and activist LeBron James, trailblazing ballerina Misty Copeland, teen chess champion Jessica Hyatt and 14-year-old painting prodigy Tyler Gordon.
SYFY Black History Month programming (Feb. 1, SYFY, SYFY.com) -SYFY teamed up with the content creation platform Tongal to air six video shorts created by Black animators throughout the month of February. These six shorts will depict their experiences through the lens of science fiction and fantasy, which can be found on SYFY’s Instagram and Twitter handles as well as SYFY.com. Additionally, SYFY WIRE will run profiles of the six creators, Brannick Green, Jeremy “Protails” Kowsloleea, Sky Shields, Eric Stine, Leonardo Viotti and Adante Watts.
“Candid Conversations about Representation” (Feb. 1, NBC) – NBC’s new content series will feature interviews with a wide array of Black actors talking about the importance of Black representation onscreen, as well as discuss the people who have inspired them personally and professionally. The talent lineup includes Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Akbar Gbajabiamila, Dwayne Johnson, Miranda Rae Mayo, Chris Redd and Jocko Sims. New conversations will air on NBC each week throughout the month.
“Black History Month on Revry” (Feb. 1, Revry) – Global queer TV network Revry celebrates Black History Month with an entire month of Black queer content made by and for the community. Programming begins Feb.1 with the premiere of documentaries “We Can’t Breathe,” “Voguing the Message” and “Heavenly Brown Body.” Feb. 5 features music drama “Single Record” and documentary “America in Transition.” Original series “Miseducated” and “Boys Hurt Too” premiere on Feb. 7, as “Trade” returns. The rest of the month offers a multitude of trans storytelling: “My Trans Life” (starting Feb. 9), “To Be Me” (Feb. 12), “Her Story” (Feb. 14), “Change in the Family” (Feb. 21), “She” (Feb. 9) and “Missed Connections” (Feb.26). Revry releases also highlight sexuality exploration in “His Story” (Feb.14), “Threesome” (Feb. 14), “Cheetah in August” (Feb. 16), “Vintage: Families of Value” (Feb. 23) and “Giving Me Life” (Feb. 28). Stand-up special “Gina Yashere: Laughing to America” (Feb.14) and Australian comedy series “Little Sista” (Feb.19) bring a bit of laughter to Revry, while “Clash” (Feb.16), “Amplify Voices” (Feb. 19) platform underrepresented people. Other programming includes “Exhale” (Feb. 21), “Suicide Khale” (Feb. 26), “Scales” (Feb. 26) and “Don’t Break Yourself” (Feb. 28).
“NBCUniversal Celebrates Black History Month” (Feb. 1, NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, Peacock) – Throughout Black History Month, NBCUniversal News Group will commemorate the accomplishments of trailblazing Black icons through cross-platform coverage. Beginning Feb. 1, NBC News will air “Changemakers,” a series of specials hosted by anchors, reporters and correspondents aimed at uplifting prominent Black figures through town halls, in-depth stories, digital profiles and exclusive interviews. The series will include “Changemakers in History: The Dockum Drug Store Sit-In in Wichita, Kansas that Helped Change History,” “Changemakers in Science,” “Changemakers: Historic Year of Change,” “Changemakers in Faith: Honoring the Black Church Builders of Williamsburg’s First Baptist Church,” “Changemakers in Faith: First Black US Cardinal,” “Changemakers: Detroit Underground Railroad” and “Changemakers: Because of Them We Can.” On Feb. 22, Sheinelle Jones and MSNBC correspondent Trymaine Lee will co-host special “Lift Every Voice,” which highlights how Black creatives have thrived this year throughout multiple crises. Today Digital will publish several original videos and features focused on the Black experience, such as the story of Virginia McLaurin, a 112-year-old Washington, D.C. resident that has survived two pandemics and lived through the civil rights era. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” will celebrate Black figures in sports, dance, education and science, such as Olympian John Carlos, WNBA player Nneka Ogqumike, Misty Copeland, Erica Lall and the first Black women in space, Mae Jemison. Every morning, MSNBC will bring together groups of newsmakers for in-depth discussions and original reporting on the injustices impacting Black communities. Participating programs include “Morning Joe,” “ReidOut,” “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” “The Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross,” “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart,” “PoliticsNation with Rev. Al Sharpton,” “American Voices with Alicia Menendez” and “The Week with Joshua Johnson.” Guests include author Caroline Randall Williams, writer Michelle Duster, Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz, Bernice King and Andrea Campbell, who is running to be the first Black mayor of Boston. Topics covered include the pandemic’s impact on Black communities, how Black women are spearheading movements to combat disenfranchisement and the modern-day continuation of the civil rights movement. NBCBLK will publish “The Disruptors,” a series on Black Americans making a difference, including immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett, author Robert Jones Jr., Rep. Ritchie Torres, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Keith Dorsey and activist Mariame Kaba. “NBC News Now” now will stream the half-hour special “Can You Hear Us Now: The Next Chapter,” hosted by Lee and will cover topics such as Amanda Gorman’s poem at Joe Biden’s inauguration. The network will also cover reporting on Black farmers, how history textbooks depict Black history, the early gay rights movement’s connection to civil rights and Black creators on TikTok. NBC News’ “Stay Tuned” on Snapchat will air a special series, “Black History All Around Us,” hosted by reporter Maya Eaglin about the Black community’s contributions to various parts of American culture through food, music, inventions and social movements. MSNBC’s podcast “Into America” will also air a special series, “Harlem on My Mind,” about Black culture. Under the branding of History Made, History In the Making, CNBC Dayside will broadcast segments that focus on leaders and issues in areas such as education, policy and access to capital. The special segments will discuss the racial wealth gap, lack of Black professionals in health care and policing. CNBC’s “The Profit” will feature Black business owners every Tuesday and “Shark Tank” will marathon episodes featuring Black entrepreneurs every Thursday. Additionally, an “Undercover Boss” marathon featuring Black CEOs and celebrities will air on Feb. 27. On digital, CNBC will spotlight 20 stories of Black history makers on broadcast and through its original video series. Peacock’s news channel The Choice will honor Black History Month through new episodes of “Zerlina” and “The Mehdi Hasan Show,” in addition to airing features and documentaries on important Black figures and cultural moments. NBCU Academy, NBCUniversal News Group’s journalism training and development program, will feature conversations with NBCUniversal News Group journalists to reflect on their experiences covering Black culture and significant moments in history.
PBS Black History Month programming (Feb. 2, PBS): To celebrate African American achievement, PBS’ lineup aims to inspire and represent the full range of the American experiences. Programming includes the premieres of “American Experience: Voice of Freedom” on Feb. 15 at 9:00 p.m.; “Finding Your Roots: Write My Name in the Book of Life” on Feb. 16 at 8:00 p.m.;” “The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song” on Feb. 16 and 17 at 9:00 p.m. and “Independent Lens: Mr. Soul!” on Feb. 22 at 10:00 p.m. Programs will encore throughout the year, including “The Jazz Ambassadors” on Feb. 2 at 9:00 p.m.; “American Experience: Goin’ Back to T-Town;” and “Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America” on Feb. 19 at 9:00 p.m.
“Tuskegee Airmen: Legacy of Courage” (Feb. 10, History Channel) – The one-hour documentary about the United States’ first Black military pilots looks at the grit and determination of the Tuskegee Airmen and how they inspired the next generation of activists pushing for racial equality and change. Robin Roberts, whose father was a Tuskegee Airman, serves as narrator and executive producer.
“Big House, The Pearl & The Triumph of Winston-Salem State” (Feb. 11, CBS Sports) – Narrated by NBA All-Star Chris Paul, this documentary uncovers how Earl “The Pearl” Monroe helped ease racial tensions of a North Carolina town all in the name of basketball. Averaging 41.5 points game, Monroe’s greatness helped Winston-Salem State become the first HBCU to win a NCAA championship in any sport.
“FOX Nation Presents Black History Month” (FOX Nation, Feb.11): FOX Nation will present special programming throughout February for Black History Month. New specials feature trailblazing African Americans, including “Thurgood Marshall. The Right Man. The Place.” (available now); “A Game for Us All” about Jackie Robinson and other Black baseball pioneers (Feb. 23) and “Guarding Old Glory” about Sgt. William Carney, the first Black American to receive the Medal of Honor (Feb. 24). A special episode of “Alveda King’s House” will see King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., prepare a special Creole gumbo recipe as she and her family reflect on the importance of Black history and love (Feb. 11).
“Forward: The Future of Black Music” (Feb. 16, Facebook): Over the course of four weekly episodes, viewers will get to see artists in their most sacred spaces to have unfiltered conversations between a music legend and their successor. It features Yara Shahidi and Neelam (Feb. 16), John Legend and D Smoke (Feb. 19), Erykah Badu and Tobe Nwigwe (Feb. 23) and Chance the Rapper and Taylor Bennett (Feb. 26). The show, produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment, streams at 12 p.m. PT/ 3 p.m. ET and finishes with a performance by each rising artist.
“BookTube” (Feb. 25, YouTube) – The newest episode of YouTube’s book series will feature Alicia Garza, the principal at Black Futures Lab and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network. She’ll discuss her book “The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart,” in which she dives into the lessons she’s learned in activism.
“Black Renaissance” (Feb. 26, YouTube) – The YouTube Originals special will showcase the Black creators, artists, writers and history makers who have shaped our nation’s history and will go on to reimagine our future. The celebration includes President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Jason Reynolds, Killer Mike, Desus Nice, The Kid Mero, Jemele Hill and more.