Acclaimed actress Nikki Beharie is tackling a new role as host of “AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange,” the award-winning documentary series entering its ninth season on World Channel.
In taking the mantle from a most prestigious group of guides including Idris Elba, Anika Noni Rose, Wyatt Cenac, Gabourey Sidibe, Anthony Mackie, Yaya DaCosta and Jussie Smollett, the well-traveled Beharie is excited to present these films representing the diaspora.
“It’s crazy to assume that people, just because they have melanin, are a particular way,” she told Tasty Clips. “Within this genotype, there are so many different stories and so many versions of life and culture. That’s what’s so beautiful about this program.”
She cites Eva Weber’s “Black Out,” (airing Feb. 6) on children in Guinea searching to find a lighted place to study during exam season, as “amazing.” Adding: “It really helps you feel more gratitude and humility about your life.”
Beharie says she was brought to tears by “Omo Child: The River and the Bush” (airing Feb. 13). John Rowe’s film looks at a man attempting to shield West African children from detrimental ancient tribal practices.
“AfroPop,” produced by the National Black Programming Consortium, and co-presented by American Public Television, also airs online at worldchannel.org. Follow show announcements at www.blackpublicmedia.org.
Beharie previously had been keeping a bit of a low profile since her somewhat mysterious departure from the Fox TV series “Sleepy Hollow.”
“I really had to disconnect,” she said. “I wanted to give the show its space and allow it to come back on the air. I really wish the show well, but sometimes you have to move on. I think that the character served her purpose and basically came to an end because there wasn’t really a whole lot left to do with her.”
After portraying Rachel Robinson in the Jackie Robinson story “42,” there are a couple of other biopics she would like to take on.
“One of them is [singer] Minnie Ripperton,” Beharie said, “because we kind of look like family. “But I’m sure [daughter] Maya Rudolph would have a say about that.”
The permaculture loving South Carolina native also has a fascination with the iconic Eartha Kitt.
“It may be something I’d like to direct in the future,” she said. “Specifically, the time [Kitt] spent with the Johnson administration when she was blacklisted. I think that’s interesting considering the times we’re coming in to.”
Up next for Beharie is a co-starring role in the retelling of the 1990 horror film “Jacob’s Ladder.”
“I’m obsessed with genre and thrillers and mystery,” she explained. “This is out there. It uses some of the thematic aspects of the story, but it’s completely different. I’m working with Jesse Williams and Michael Ealy, two of the most handsome, beautiful, whatever you want to call them, guys in the business. If my ‘Sleepy Hollow’ fans are a little disappointed, they’ll get their fill here.”
CAUSEWORTHY: “Music To Inspire – Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking,” a 40-plus track collection of inspiring music, will be officially released at an event at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Jan. 31. Project participants include: former President Jimmy Carter, Tatyana Ali, Joss Stone, Michael Franti, Anoushka Shankar, Ellis Hall, as well as Daryl Hall & John Oates among many others.
TASTY QUIP: “Don’t cook the books either, Donald. We all know your event was dry. No matter how many times CNN anchors repeat ‘majestic or peaceful transition of power.’ The world can see America divided and the chaos in the streets.” – FRANK OCEAN to the president on Tumblr
CLIPPETTES: Jody Watley & Shalimar Reloaded are back Jan. 28 at The Roxy. Also that evening, The Blind Boys of Alabama visit The Smothers Theatre in Malibu …
Will we see #RazziesSoWhite for the awards recognizing 2016’s worst in film? The only African-American to get a nomination is Tyler Perry …
Run the Jewels with The Gaslamp Killer, Gangsta Boo and more are at the Shrine Expo Hall on Feb. 1; while CL Smooth goes unplugged at the Regent Theater …
August Wilson’s “King Hedley II,” under the direction of Michele Shay and featuring Ella Joyce, is in production at The Matrix Theatre through Feb. 12.
TC ON TV: Jan. 27 – “Emerald City” (NBC): Last week we learned Bill Withers is on the Oz playlist!
Jan. 28 – “Love By The 10th Date” (Lifetime): Meagan Good, Kelly Rowland, Keri Hilson and Kellee Stewart star in Nzingha Stewart’s original romantic comedy movie to be followed by “XXX,” an after-show special.
Jan. 29 – “The 65th annual Miss Universe Pageant” (Fox): Steve Harvey returns as host with Flo Rida performing his hits. “The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards” (TNT/TBS): Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Viggo Mortensen and Octavia Spencer are among the presenters. “The Trumpet Awards” (Bounce): Deon Cole and Nicole Ari Parker are hosts for this ceremony honoring Wendy Williams, Dikembe Mutombo, New Edition, Peabo Bryson, Martin Luther King III and Xernona Clayton.
Jan. 31 – “The Game of Dating” (TV1): Comic Tony Rock is the host of this “outrageous” hour-long competition. “The Quad” (BET): Anika Noni Rose, Jasmine Guy, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Sean Blakemore and E. Roger Mitchell star in this black college set drama.
Feb. 1 – “Showtime at the Apollo” (Fox): Chaka Khan, T.I. featuring Meek Mill, Mike Epps and Gabriel Iglesias guest in this second edition of the reboot. “Madiba” (BET): The story of Nelson Mandela (Lawrence Fishburne), Oliver Tambo (Orlando Jones), Walter Sisulu (David Harewood) and many other leaders of the African National Congress is told in this three-part mini-series directed by Kevin Hooks (“Passenger 57” “Prison Break”).
Feb. 2 – “Superior Donuts” (CBS): Comedian Jermaine Fowler and Judd Hirsch head this issues centric sitcom based in Chicago. “Training Day” (CBS): This TV sequel takes place 15 years after the events of the movie with Bill Paxton as the veteran crooked cop and newcomer Justin Cornwell trying to take him down.
TASTY QUIP: “It’s not our job to make you feel comfortable, it really isn’t. If you feel comfortable, then that is your journey, and your cross to bear. That is the beauty of art, the beauty of art is that we throw it to you, you receive it, and if you shift in some way, [then] we’ve done our job.” – VIOLA DAVIS at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.