Media Release

TCM And The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Present: The Black Experience On Film

Month-long Programming Event Will Feature 13 Acclaimed Film Journalists and 32 Seminal Films

Airs Every Tuesday and Thursday in September

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) have partnered to bring viewers The Black Experience on Film, a comprehensive month-long programming initiative showcasing portrayals of African Americans throughout cinematic history. Hosted by 13 different members of AAFCA from print, online and broadcast outlets throughout the country, programming begins Sept. 4 and continues every Tuesday and Thursday in primetime.

The Black Experience on Film provides a wide-ranging retrospective from the 1920s through the 1990s including:

  • Exploring Black Identity airing Sept. 4 - AAFCA co-founder and president Gil Robertson & cultural critic Ronda Racha Penrice explore films ranging from Oscar Micheaux's searing look at racial violence in Within Our Gates (1920) to Julie Dash’s 1991 story following three generations of Gullah women in Daughters Of The Dust   
  • Hollywood Confronts Racism airing Sept. 6  - AAFCA co-founder & film critic Shawn Edwards &’s Jasmine Simpkins examine films such as A Raisin in the Sun (1961), about a black Chicago family searching for a better life, and A Soldier's Story (1984) about the murder of a black U.S. Army sergeant
  • African Americans Coming of Age airing Sept. 11 - Awards Circuit’s Clayton Davis & Jasmine Simpkins highlight films such as Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte’s starring vehicle  Bright Road (1953), about a troubled elementary student, and Sounder (1972), about the struggles of a family of black sharecroppers during the Great Depression
  • Black Romance in Film airing Sept. 13 – longtime entertainment journalist Lee Thomas & Emmy-winning journalist Kelley Carter examine films such as Anna Lucasta (1958), featuring performances by Eartha Kitt and Sammy Davis Jr., and A Warm December (1973) starring Sydney Poitier as a widowed American doctor who falls for an African princess
  • African-American Musicals airing Sept. 18 - Black Tree Media’s Jamaal Finkley & Black Tomatoes host Carla Renata delve into Cabin in the Sky (1943), about a gambler's efforts to get into heaven, and Carmen Jones (1954), which made star Dorothy Dandridge the first African American to be nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award
  • Strong Black Women airing Sept. 20 - Fortune correspondent Anita Bennett & veteran entertainment journalist KJ Matthews review films including Claudine (1974), the story of a single mother in Harlem, and Sparkle (1976), inspired by the real-life musical group The Supremes.
  • African-American Comedies airing Sept. 25 - AAFCA co-founder & film critic Shawn Edwards & award-winning writer Edward Adams discuss Watermelon Man (1970), starring Godfrey Cambridge as a white insurance salesman who wakes up to find he has turned black, and Robert Townsend's satire Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
  • Black Stories from Around the World airing Sept. 27  - Gil Robertson & WGN’s Tyra Martin study Cry, the Beloved Country (1951), starring Canada Lee and Sidney Poitier as South African ministers who struggle to help individuals damaged by their country's policies of apartheid, and Walkabout (1971), a film about two white students who find themselves reliant on aid from an Aboriginal boy to survive while adrift in the Australian outback

“Since the earliest days of film, the portrayal of black characters has ranged from stereotypical and one-dimensional to more nuanced and complex. With this programming tentpole, we will explore this important part of film history specifically from an African-American perspective with insightful commentary from some of the nation's most prominent film critics,” said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming & production, TCM. “Our partnership with the AAFCA is important, and together we aim to tell a contextualized and curated story of The Black Experience on Film.”

“It is both an honor and a privilege for AAFCA and its members to work with Charles Tabesh and the rest of the TCM team to facilitate such impactful programming,” says AAFCA co-founder and president, Gil Robertson. “The legacy of African Americans in cinema often goes untold, but it has been a long and arduous journey. Since the earliest beginnings of the art form, African Americans have had a presence in cinema. That is the point we hope these 32 films will drive home. Our intent is that audiences be engaged, entertained and enlightened by the sheer diversity and breadth of this substantial arc of film programming.”

To learn more about each journalist, programming and to view additional images, please visit

About Turner Classic Movies

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting the entire spectrum of film history. TCM features the insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz along with hosts Alicia Malone and Dave Karger, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. Currently in its 24th year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed series like The Essentials, along with annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February and Summer Under the Stars in August. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, the TCM Big Screen Classics series in partnership with Fathom Events, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City and Los Angeles. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at and through the Watch TCM mobile app.


Established in 2003, AAFCA is the premiere body of Black film critics in the world, actively reviewing film and television, with a particular emphasis on entertainment that includes the Black experience and storytellers from the African Diaspora. The organization’s primary mission is to cultivate understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contributions of African descended talent to cinematic and television culture – from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined breakthroughs of future generations.  AAFCA members are a geographically diverse cross-section of journalists, covering all genres of the cinematic arts, while representing multiple mediums – including print, TV, radio broadcast and online. Collectively, they reach a worldwide audience in excess of 100 million. As a non-profit organization, AAFCA is committed to numerous educational and philanthropic efforts, particularly those that foster and celebrate diversity and inclusion. For more information on AAFCA and its programs visit