‘AAFCA Presents: Motown Productions’ is bringing classic films to TCM

The association is also launching the second season of its AAFCA Podcast.

Diana Ross/ Mahogany

AAFCA (African American Film Critics Association) is bringing the magic of Motown films to the small screen. The organization continues its partnership with Turner Classic Movies (TCM) with AAFCA Presents: Motown Productions.

Starting tonight, AAFCA member Christopher Witherspoon joins TCM host Alicia Malone to screen and discuss the classic Motown films The Last Dragon, Lady Sings The Blues and Mahogany.  

“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with Turner Classic Movies showcasing the cinematic universe of Motown,” said AAFCA President & CEO, Gil Robertson.

“Motown chairman Berry Gordy is a visionary known for creating the soundtrack to American life, but his cinematic contributions are largely unsung, and they shouldn’t be. Fueled by Gordy’s creative genius and bold vision, Motown Productions offered the world a chance to see images of Black life that had never been seen before: a Black Kung Fu master, a Black female model and designer and a timeless biopic of the legendary Billie Holiday that earned Diana Ross an Oscar nomination. It’s just incredible.” 

Charles Tabesh, Senior VP of Programming & Production at TCM weighed in on the news as well.  

“TCM’s mission is to showcase films with context and curation, and we are so pleased the experts at AAFCA are joining us again this year to highlight the importance and originality of Motown Productions, the extension of Gordon’s Motown Records music label,” he said in a statement. “We are proud that this partnership will continue to bring both important programming and a critical perspective to our audiences.”

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The provocative collaboration between AAFCA and TCM will continue into 2020 with KJ Matthews joining Malone for a focus on social documentaries.

“The members of AAFCA really enjoy working with TCM to curate innovative programming that showcase cinema’s contributions to inclusion and diversity. Our hope is that our success with the network will lead to similar showcases that focus on films from other underserved communities,” adds Robertson.

This fall, the organization will also unveil season two of The AAFCA Podcast sponsored by Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s Global Sports and Entertainment division. Produced by Ed Adams, who also hosts, the second season will feature interviews with Debra Martin Chase, producer of the upcoming film Harriet and historic Oscar winners Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler, among others.

“The purpose of The AAFCA Podcast is to give audiences insight into the entertainment community, helping to foster a better appreciation for these creatives and their gifts. In fact, that is the goal of all we do, be it with TCM, The AAFCA Podcast or our tentpole event, The AAFCA Awards — we celebrate excellence and hopefully inspire others to pursue their own dreams,” says Robertson.