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CBC commissions docuseries focused on influence of Black Canadians

Canadian public broadcaster the CBC has commissioned an 8×60’ docuseries examining the history of the Black experience in Canada.

Leslie Norville

Produced by Studio 112 in association with Northwood Entertainment and Ugly Duck Productions, Black Life: A Canadian History will shine a light on the influence Black Canadians have had in shaping the country, as well as examining the “picture mainstream culture has painted of Canada as a sanctuary.”

It is scheduled to premiere on the CBC and streamer CBC Gem in 2023.

Spanning more than 400 years of Canadian history, the docuseries will feature insights from a wide array of historical consultants, writers and academics, including David Austin, Dr Claudine Bonner, Dr Afua Cooper, Annette Henry, Issac Saney, Dr Rinaldo Walcott, Dr Dorothy W Williams and writer Jael Richardson.

P K Subban

Studio 112 principal Leslie Norville (A Ballerina’s Tale, Brooklyn Boheme) will serve as showrunner. She is also executive producing the project alongside Miranda de Pencier, whose prodco Northwood Entertainment produced Anne With an E for CBC and Netflix, and award-winning feature The Grizzlies.

Philanthropist, producer and ice hockey player P K Subban, who launched his Ugly Duck Productions banner in 2019 is also exec producing, as is author, journalist and culture critic Nelson George. Black Lives Matter (Canada) co-founder Sandy Hudson is co-exec producing.

“The docuseries will be an honest and nuanced look at Black Canadian history. And while some may find this uncomfortable, it’s critical to understand and grapple with the complexities of Canada’s past,” said Norville.

Subban added: “We’re pushing the boundaries of conventional storytelling to create a series that is gripping and dramatic in a way that audiences haven’t seen before. The inclusion of everything from civil rights to sports, and justice to music, is sure to engage viewers across the country and around the globe.”

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