MTV Entertainment Studios and Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance’s Bassett Vance Productions have boarded the previously announced docuseries One Thousand Years of Slavery — produced by Uplands Television for Smithsonian Channel and Channel 5.
Bassett Vance Productions will executive produce the four-part series that tells the 1,000-year story of “how slavery stained the past, shaped the present, and continues to re-write our future.”
BAFTA winner and British-Nigerian director David Olusoga will explore stories that span the globe — from Africa to the Caribbean, London to Washington, DC and more.
The series features Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, Senator Cory Booker and actor David Harewood, in addition to historical documentation and insight from experts.
“As an executive producer on One Thousand Years of Slavery, Bassett Vance Productions wanted to tell the globally comprehensive history of slavery,” Bassett (pictured) said in a statement. “Finding the right partner and audience who share common beliefs and values was absolutely imperative as we navigate a topic that still hurts decades later. One Thousand Years of Slavery stretches the canvas beyond the 400 years we think we’ve traditionally learned about and I am thrilled to bring this storytelling to life with Smithsonian Channel.”
Olusoga added: “Slavery is not that long ago. It’s really recent. It’s painfully close to us, and it’s no surprise it’s still shaping our societies. Our aim is to break away from just seeing the slave trade as a phenomena that exists after the conquest and discovery of the New World, but to look back. It’s to set what happened in the New World in context, that it came from somewhere.”
James Blue, head of Smithsonian Channel and SVP of MTV News and Docs, and Pamela Aguilar, VP of original documentaries, will oversee this project for MTV Entertainment Studios and Smithsonian Channel.