As our favorite shows reach their season finales and slowly go off the air, our summer search for new shows and series to watch will begin. Here is a list of African and Diaspora documentaries to get you through this summer.
Martha & Nikki
In 2010 Martha Nabwire and Niki Tsappos took part in the biggest international Street Dance Competition, Juste Debout in Paris. It was the first time ever two women became World Champions in Hip Hop. This film depicts their love of dance, each other, and about friendship put to the test. About desires, yearning, and finding the right path in life.
Director: Tora Mkandawire Mårtens | Sweden 2016
Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil
Narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, Yemanja is a documentary film about the Candomblé spiritual tradition in Bahia, Brazil, a vibrant African-derived culture which evolved from slavery’s brutal past. Elder women leaders tell stories of Candomblé’s history, social challenges, and triumphs, grounded in strong community, and Earth-based wisdom and practice. It was screened at the New York African Film Festival last month.
Directors: Donna C Roberts & Donna Read | USA/Brazil 2015
The Education of Auma Obama
Director Branwen Okpako’s The Education of Auma Obama is a captivating and intimate portrait of the US president’s older half-sister, who embodies a post-colonial, feminist identity. An academic overachiever, she studied linguistics and contemporary dance in Heidelberg, Germany, before enrolling in film school in Berlin, where she met Nigerian-born director Okpako in the nineties.
Director: Branwen Okpako | Germany /Kenya 2011
Faaji Agba is an intimate portrait of the history, culture, and music scene of Lagos, Nigeria from 1940 to present day through the lives of a group of 68- to 85-year-old master musicians brought back from obscurity by Kunle Tejuoso, owner of Jazzhole Records. The documentary follows their lives and for some, their death. Filmmaker Remi Vaughan-Richards, a “student” of the era, has been documenting Kunle and the Faaji Agba musicians since 2009 to keep their musical legacy alive and relevant.
Director: Remi Vaughan-Richards | Nigeria 2015
Through the stories of its key talents, Afripedia, Kenya takes an intimate look at Nairobi’s urban culture scene and its leading personalities and stars. Meet 3D-artist Andrew Kaggia, creator of the 3D-animated political short film, taking you to his futuristic vision of Nairobi and proving that disability is never inability. Afro-futuristic pop band and DIY-enthusiasts Just a Band redefine music videos and visual artist Cyrus introduces us to his remarkable collection of “Boobs” created solely with found materials.
Director: Teddy Goitom | Kenya 2014
Indigo Tongues is an award-winning docu-interview series that brings the inspiring voices of dynamic people from Africa and the diaspora onto one global platform. These trailblazers have been recognized in their respective countries for contributing significantly in the development of their area of expertise.
The first segment of Indigo Tongues – Women in Media – features seven episodes where we meet women in the media industries from Nigeria, Kenya, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, and Guadeloupe.
Director Mojisola Sonoiki | USA 2015
Strolling is a critically acclaimed short documentary film series created by Cecile Emeke where we take a stroll with people in various cities and countries around the world, having refreshingly raw and honest conversations about various issues at the forefront of their society. We touch on everything from feminism, sexuality, gender, race, and politics to philosophy, art, history, capitalism, war, and poverty… and everything else you can think of.
#Strolling: Connecting the scattered and untold stories of the Black/African diaspora.
Director: Cecile Emeke | UK 2014
In 1952, Ousmane Sembéne, a dockworker and fifth-grade dropout from Senegal, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. SEMBENE!, a feature-length HD documentary, tells the unbelievable true story of the “father of African cinema,” the self-taught novelist and filmmaker who fought, against enormous odds, a monumental, fifty-year-long battle to give African stories to Africans. SEMBENE! is told through the experiences of the man who knew him best, colleague and biographer Samba Gadjigo, using rare archival footage and more than 100 hours of exclusive materials. A true-life epic, SEMBENE! follows an ordinary man who transforms himself into a fearless spokesperson for the marginalized, becoming a hero to millions. After a startling fall from grace, can Sembéne reinvent himself once more?