ITV has announced a trio of special films for Black History Month.
Airing in October, Ashley Banjo, Charlene White and will.i.am will each front one-off programmes.
They will air alongside a high-profile awareness raising campaign from ITV Marketing and ITV Creative.
In Ashley Banjo: Britain in Black and White (19 October at 9PM), Ashley is going on a journey into his own past and also a journey of discovery into British History.
This history is one that has stubbornly remained outside the canon of British history – The black civil rights movement in the UK. Part journey of discovery, part intimate biography, Ashley will reveal how race and racism have impacted upon his life and that of his family and friends. Crucially by meeting civil rights trailblazers from modern history, he will also try and understand what it means to take a stand. He’ll get first hand testimony of the perils, positives and optimism of ‘standing up’. Armed with these stories and information, these trailblazers help him navigate his newly found purpose as champion for civil rights in the UK.
In Charlene White: Empire’s Child (21 October, 9PM), Charlene embarks on a journey to uncover the roots of her connection to the British Empire, as she tries to figure out why so many black Britons, despite all their positive contributions, are still fighting to be recognised as British.
Charlene’s father and uncle both served in the British armed forces, alongside many other black service men and women. In a revealing and emotional journey, Charlene travels across Britain and Jamaica to investigate her own heritage and the relationship between the Empire and her family.
A moving, surprisingly funny film, this is ultimately a quest for the truth of Britain in a racially charged world. Can the country ever truly emerge from the shadow of empire? How do we get through this present tumultuous period? And where does the future lie for Charlene’s children and their generation as black Britons?
Finally, will iam: The Blackprint (14 October, 9PM) is a one-hour documentary that follows global superstar will.i.am’s personal and timely exploration of what it means to be Black and British, in the country he calls his second home.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, will.i.am first came to the UK over twenty years ago. Since then the British public have welcomed will.i.am into their homes and hearts as a fully-fledged national treasure. Yet despite all the time he has spent in this country that he loves, will.i.am has never had the opportunity to explore Black Britain and find out what it’s really like to live here.
But now all that’s set to change as will.i.am embarks on a fascinating nationwide quest to learn about the lives of Black Brits, and compare and contrast the lived experience on both sides of the Atlantic.
From civil rights heroes and trail blazers in tech, to inspiring schoolchildren and even the odd famous friend, will.i.am’s mission sees him meeting members of the Black community from across the country, and learn about the milestone events that have helped shape the modern Black British landscape.
With surprising, shocking and revealing moments throughout, will.i.am’s thought provoking journey draws upon his own experiences growing up, and spans the heartbreak of the past, the struggles of the present day and the hopes for our future.
Commissioning Editor for the season, Satmohan Panesar, said: "Building on last year's celebrations, Black History Month returns to ITV this October. Featuring a range of engaging documentaries from some of our highest profile talent; through their personal stories, the films will explore what it means to be black in Britain today. We’re also really pleased that Sorry, I Didn’t Know is returning, which is a brilliant and entertaining showcase of diverse talent.
"Continuing our commitment to diversity off screen during the season, we're delighted to be working with DocHearts and Uplands Television, who are making their first films for ITV as part of the season, and continuing to develop diverse production talent at TriForce Productions and TwoFour on their Black History Month commissions.”