ABC News Plans Two Primetime Specials to Honor Black History Month

SOUL OF A NATION - Academy Award winning actress and director Halle Berry on ‘Soul of a Nation Presents: ‘Screen Queens Rising’ airing Thursday, February 3 at 8pm ET on ABC. (ABC/Matt Petit) HALLE BERRY
Courtesy of ABC News

ABC News is planning a wide array of special coverage in February devoted to Black History Month, including two primetime specials and bespoke segments across the news division’s various programs.

“While we remain dedicated to telling the impactful and important stories around the Black community all year long, ABC News will provide special coverage throughout February to salute Black excellence,” said Kim Godwin, president of ABC News, in a prepared statement. “We will celebrate and honor Black culture across all programs and platforms, taking an in-depth look at issues past and present while spotlighting those who have overcome significant obstacles and paved the way for a better future.”

The ABC News series “Soul of a Nation” will present “Screen Queens Rising” on Thursday, February 3 at 8 p.m.. The special will explore how Black actresses have recently begun to gain more traction in Hollywood and in American culture.  The special, hosted by “ABC News Live Prime” anchor Linsey Davis and ABC News senior national affairs correspondent Deborah Roberts, includes Roberts’ interview with actress Tessa Thompson and ABC News “GMA3: What You Need to Know” co-anchor T.J. Holmes’ interview with actress Halle Berry. The hour also features interviews with actresses Debbie Allen, Jackée Harry, Marla Gibbs and Regina Hall. The special includes the return of the “In the Kitchen” discussion moderated by “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin.

One hour later, “Soul of a Nation” will present “X / o n e r a t e d – The Murder of Malcolm X and 55 Years to Justice.”  The special will feature the first interview with Muhammad Abdul Aziz, who was wrongfully convicted of Malcolm X’s assassination, since he was exonerated. Byron Pitts, the Nightline” co-anchor, will talk to Aziz, while the special also looks back at Malcolm X’s shocking 1965 assassination,  The special includes interviews with Aziz advocates and family as well as A. Peter Bailey, an associate of Malcolm X who was present at the Audubon Ballroom on the day of the assassination. And Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is interviewed by ABC News chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas.

“True to the essence of ‘Soul of a Nation,’ these two specials embody the ongoing pursuit of visibility and authentic representation of Black life in America,” said Marie Nelson, senior vice president, integrated content strategy, ABC News, in a statement. “On stage and screen, Black actresses have created conversations about the Black lived experience and have risen, knocking down barriers and portraying that truth for the world to see. And in the case of Malcolm X’s assassination, an epic civil rights true crime, the story of the exonerated Muhammad Abdul Aziz  and Khalil Islam sheds light on the lives of two men and their families who’ve been fighting to be seen in a system that has often rendered them invisible and expendable.”

Other ABC News properties will also burnish the theme. “Good Morning America” plans to present a two-part series around Black financial literacy on generational wealth and estate planning; “Buzz Picks” from Black-owned bookstores; and other bespoke segments. “World News Tonight with David Muir” will celebrate Black History Month within its “America Strong” segments, and also feature veterans, healthcare workers, teachers, politicians and others. “Nightline” will take an intimate look at the first police academy at a historically Black college and university. “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” will examine the impact of sweeping changes to voting rights legislation across the country.