Breaking News – Smithsonian Channel to Commemorate Black History Month with the Premiere of “One Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story,” A Four-Part Docu-Series Narrated by Two-Time Emmy Award-Winning Actor Courtney B. Vance



Smithsonian Channel(TM) to commemorate Black History Month with the premiere of “One Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story,” a four-part docu-series narrated by two-time Emmy(R) Award-winning actor Courtney B. Vance

Featuring sit-downs with notable Black actors, historical experts and community leaders including
Dr. Bernice King, Debbie Allen, Valerie Jarrett, Lorraine Toussaint, Soledad O’Brien, CCH Pounder, Senator Cory Booker, Marc Morial and others

Premiering February 7, the limited series is executive produced by Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance’s Bassett Vance Productions


New York, NY – January 18, 2022 – MTV Entertainment Studios and Smithsonian Channel(TM) today announced that One Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story, a riveting docu-series exploring the legacy of slavery and how our shared history can create a better future, is set to premiere on Monday, February 7 at 8pm ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel in the US and Canada to kick-off Black History Month programming. The series will also air in Latin America and Brazil this mid-year.

This four-part limited series uncovers the truth of a 1,000-year story of slavery around the world, as leading Black actors, celebrities and influencers such as Debbie Allen, Valerie Jarrett, Lorraine Toussaint, Soledad O’Brien, CCH Pounder, Senator Cory Booker, Marc Morial and Dulé Hill, among others, go on journeys to confront their personal connection to slavery and its legacy today. From Africa to the Caribbean, from New Orleans to Istanbul, this special series explores slavery’s lasting and personal impact on individuals and society in order to reframe history. Slated to debut every Monday in February, Courtney B. Vance lends his voice to narrate all four-episodes of the limited series.

“We are honored to anchor our Black History Month content with this innovative, impactful docu-series that unveils untold stories of resistance, power and human bondage on a global scale,” said Nina L. Diaz, President of Content and Chief Creative Officer, MTV Entertainment Group. “In order to move forward, we must look back. And, thanks to Courtney, Angela, our partners at Bassett Vance Productions and the extraordinary list of contributors, it is our hope to do just that.”

“The Smithsonian Channel and Smithsonian brand are known around the world as a trusted resource that makes history accessible for all,” said Courtney B. Vance. “We couldn’t think of a better outlet to tell this important and increasingly relevant history. We are incredibly proud to be part of this journey.”

“As an executive producer on ‘One Thousand Years of Slavery,’ Bassett Vance Productions wanted to tell the globally comprehensive history of slavery,” said Angela Bassett. “Finding the right partner and audience who share common beliefs and values was absolutely imperative as we navigate a topic that still haunts us decades later. ‘One Thousand Years of Slavery’ stretches the canvas beyond the 400 years we’ve traditionally learned about, and I’m thrilled to bring this storytelling to life with Smithsonian Channel.”

One Thousand Years of Slavery-The Untold Story, executive produced by Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance’s Bassett Vance Productions, is a follow-up to the U.K. version of the series titled 1000 Years A Slave. Both versions of the series tell the 1,000-year story of how slavery stained the past, shaped the present, and continues to re-write our future with sit-downs featuring Dr. Bernice King, David Harewood, Ray Fearon and others.

See the full list of contributors for One Thousand Years of Slavery below:

List of Contributors

Valerie Jarrett (Former Sr. Advisor to President Obama)

Debbie Allen (Grey’s Anatomy, Amistad)

Lorraine Toussaint (Orange Is The New Black, The Equalizer)

Soledad O’Brien (CNN, CBS, HBO)

CCH Pounder (NCIS New Orleans)

Senator Cory Booker

Dr. Bernice King

Marc Morial (President of the National Urban League, former mayor of New Orleans)

David Harewood (Homeland)

Hugh Quarshie (Star Wars)

Ray Fearon (Fleabag)

Dulé Hill (Wonder Years, Psych)

Rachel Johnson (sister of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson)

“One Thousand Years of Slavery – The Untold Story’ examines the slave trade writ large providing viewers several perspectives on the global trade and resistance to it,” said James Blue, Head of Smithsonian Channel and SVP of MTV News and Docs. “I am proud that Smithsonian Channel is home to Bassett Vance’s debut production for the MTV Entertainment Group to which we greatly benefited from their insight, expertise and passion. This is just the beginning of our collaboration.”

James Blue and Smithsonian Channel executive producer Tim Evans oversee this project for MTV Entertainment Studios and Smithsonian Channel. One Thousand Years of Slavery is produced by Uplands Television Ltd. for Smithsonian Channel and Channel 5. Bassett Vance Productions executive produced the limited series.

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MTV Entertainment Group

MTV Entertainment Group reaches over 1.4 billion young people around the world across streaming, social and linear platforms in 180 countries and with more than 725 million social followers – making it one of the preeminent youth media companies in the world. Connecting with its audiences through nine iconic brands including MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT, Pop, Logo, Smithsonian, Paramount Net and TV Land, MTV Entertainment Studios produces award-winning series, movies and documentary films.

Bassett Vance Productions

Bassett Vance Productions identifies and develops projects across all narrative platforms, telling culturally rich and diverse stories of discovery, inspiration, and triumph with a strong emphasis on BIPOC voices, both in front of and behind the camera.




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