*To celebrate Our History Month, beginning Monday, Jan. 31 at 10 PM ET, and airing each weeknight over four weeks, TV One will present Way Black When, a month of high-profile programming designed to reflect back on the golden age of black culture that emerged during the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s.
The centerpiece of the initiative is Way Black When: Prime Time, a high-energy, one-hour talk show that will showcase Black pop culture icons across three decades – the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s — including actors, comedians, athletes, musicians and many more–from Black Power through Hip Hop. Guiding a live studio audience and television viewers on their trip back through ‘blackness,’ will be three hosts, each of whom embodies a decade’s essence.
Comedian and actor Sinbad will conduct a fantastic voyage through the 70’s…Niecy Nash keeps it moving and groovin’ through the 80’s… and comedian and actor Chris ‘Kid’ Reid picks up the final leg of the Way Black When journey with 90’s Hip Hop. Each night, guests who characterize the specific week’s decade will be showcased, along with a musical act and a comedian who provide the tunes and the tone of the time. The series will include a “Retro Trek” segment of nightly comedic sketches spoofing memorable hairstyles, fashion trends, and cultural fads from each decade., Each week, TV One will feature a Heroes, Newsmakers, Icons and Celebs (HNIC) segment in which “Washington Watch” host Roland Martin will provide a look back at the major news events of the day.
Among the many guests (including performers and comedians) included in Way Black When, which repeats weeknights at 1 AM, will be:
Way Black When: The ‘70s – hosted by Sinbad (Monday, Jan. 31-Friday, Feb. 4) – actor and pro football Hall of Famer Jim Brown; Peabody Award-winning comedian and radio personality J. Anthony Brown; comedian Don “DC” Curry; The Emotions (“Best of My Love”) ; former NFL great Vince Evans; actor Antonio Fargas (“Huggy Bear”/Starsky and Hutch); Cuba Gooding, Sr (The Main Ingredient, “Everybody Plays the Fool”); singer/songwriter/musician Larry Graham (Sly and the Family Stone/Graham Central Station, “One in a Million You”); comedian and activist Dick Gregory; The Hues Corporation (“Rock the Boat”); Grammy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated singer/musician James Ingram; groundbreaking model, actress and sportscaster Jayne Kennedy; vocalist Evelyn “Champagne” King (“Shame”); comedian Paul Mooney; actress Denise Nicholas (Room 222, In the Heat of the Night); Freda Payne (“Band of Gold”); actor/producer, husband/wife duo Daphne and Tim Reid; actor Ernest Thomas (What’s Happening!!); singer/songwriter and fashion icon Jody Watley (originally of Shalamar); and actor and martial artist Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite).
Way Black When: The ‘80s – hosted by Niecy Nash (Monday, Feb. 7-Friday, Feb. 11) – R&B duo Alexander O’Neal & Cherrelle; singer/songwriter Bobby Brown; rapper and record producer Kurtis Blow; actor Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes); comedian Joe Clair; actor/director Bill Duke (Car Wash, Menace II Society; A Rage in Harlem, Sister Act 2); rap trailblazer Doug E. Fresh; recording industry executive André Harrell; Anna Maria Horsford (Amen); R&B singer and actress Miki Howard; rapper Kool Mo Dee; R&B singer Louis Price (The Temptations, The Drifters) and his wife, actress Fay Hauser; director/producer Michael Schultz (The Last Dragon, Krush Groove, Cooley High); hip hop pioneer Roxanne Shante; drummer and percussionist Sheila E.; R&B star Al B. Sure; actor Taimak (The Last Dragon); actor Glynn Turman (Cooley High, A Different World, The Wire); and The Whispers (“Rock Steady”).
Way Black When: The ‘90s – hosted by Chris “Kid” Reid (Monday, Feb. 14-Friday. Feb. 18) – Tatyana Ali (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, TV One’s new original sitcom, Love That Girl!); R&B group Bell Biv DeVoe; producer and former actor Carl Craig; comedian and actor Tommy Davidson; commentator and author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson; comedian Earthquake; R&B singer/songwriter Johnny Gill; singer and performer Ginuwine; actress Jasmine Guy (A Different World); comedian and actress Jackée Harry (227, Sister, Sister); R&B superstars K-Ci & JoJo (originally of Jodeci); Christopher “Play” Martin (Kid N Play); actor Darius McCrary (Family Matters); Grammy Award-winning hip hop group Naughty By Nature; comedian and actress Ajai Sanders (A Different World); new jack swing/R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné!; director, actor and comedian Robert Townsend; actor Ben Vereen; actress Lynn Whitfield; actor Malik Yoba; comedian YoYo; and from New Jack City – director Mario Van Peebles and cast members Vanessa Williams, Christopher Williams, and William Cobbs, plus New Jack Swing group Guy, who sang the title song from the groundbreaking film.
Providing the music for TV One’s Way Black When: Prime Time odyssey will be the house band, Mint Condition, known for its diverse musical style and captivating live performances. Celebrating 30 years of Black pop culture, Way Black When: Prime Time is a nostalgic experience that will reshape the “night-time talk show” in an unprecedented celebration of black culture.
The fourth week of Way Black When: Primetime, Monday, Feb. 21 – Friday, Feb. 25, will offer a “Best Of” week that will feature the best interviews, comedy sketches and performances of the prior three weeks, plus original, unseen material, with the Best of the ‘70s airing on Monday, Feb. 21; the Best of the ‘80s airing on Tuesday, Feb. 22; the Best of the ‘90s airing on Wednesday, Feb. 23; plus an all-stand-up comedy show on Thursday, Feb. 24 and an all-musical performance show on Friday, Feb. 25.
Each weeknight at 11 PM, TV One will also pair Way Black When with decade-specific movies, including such films from the ‘70s as “Cooley High” and “Cotton Comes to Harlem,” from the ‘80s as “Harlem Nights” and from the ‘90s as “Juice.”
“Last year during Our History Month we introduced the concept of Way Black When, a celebration of recent popular black culture, with vignettes that really resonated with our audience,” said TV One Senior Vice President of Original Programming Toni Judkins. “In 2011, we wanted to build on that concept and provide a full-fledged programming experience that will allow us to bring together some of our biggest stars and to celebrate, more fully, the many poignant, entertaining and groundbreaking events and moments in black culture that took place during the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.”
Way Black When is produced by Kusza Productions and Rush Hour Productions. Executive producers are Michael D. Bohusz, of Kusza Productions, and Larry Kaster of Rush Hour Productions.
About TV ONE
Launched in January 2004, TV One (www.tvoneonline.com) serves nearly 51 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies, and music designed to entertain, inform and inspire a diverse audience of adult African American viewers. In December 2008, the company launched TV One High Def, which now serves more than 5.5 million households. TV One’s investors include Radio One [NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK; www.radio-one.com], the largest radio company that primarily targets African American and urban listeners; Comcast Corporation [NASDAQ: CMCSA and CMCSK; www.comcast.com], the leading cable television company in the country; The DirecTV Group; Constellation Ventures; Syndicated Communications; and Opportunity Capital Partners.