Music, culture and youthful ambition in Jamaica

Now in its third season, AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange continues to offer up a wealth of modern stories from across the African Diaspora. On Wed., Jan. 26, the 2009 American Film Institute/Discovery Silverdocs Best Music Documentary Award winner, RiseUp: Reggae Underground takes viewers on a journey to the Caribbean to witness the struggles of three young people hoping to make it big in the Jamaican music scene.

From Turbulence, a lyrical, young man struggling to find a way out of Kingston’s impoverished Hungry Town to Kemoy, a talented, shy girl from the Jamaican countryside to Ice Anastacia, a privileged youth from Kingston in search of acceptance from his dancehall peers, Argentinian filmmaker Luciano Blotta follows these young musicians on their quest for fame and, in some cases, an escape from poverty. The episode airs in cities across America through January 30.

RiseUp also examines the history and importance of reggae music in Jamaica through interviews with music legends including Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar.

AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, a five-week series, which premiered on January 12 and runs through February 9, airs on World, the 24-hour documentary channel. This season highlights the use of art as expression and human rights crises affecting people throughout the African Diaspora in countries including Haiti, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the United States, Colombia and Jamaica.

All films premiere at 7:00 p.m. (ET) with encore airings at 12:00 a.m. (ET)/9 pm (PT). Please check your local listings for air dates on World and on additional public television stations. AfroPoP is produced by the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and co-presented by American Public Television.

A trailer for RiseUp: Reggae Underground (as well as the other seven films featured in the series), interviews with the filmmakers and other behind-the-scenes information on the documentaries including blogs, virtual talks centered on topical themes and filmmaking contests can be found at www.blackpublicmedia.org, the official website of NBPC. Additionally, Adisa Septuri’s documentary, A Day Without Mines, on his mission to provide child laborers in Sierra Leone with scholarships and a one-day football tournament, will be available for viewing online at the site.

Check www.blackpublicmedia.org or your local listings for exact airdates and times.

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