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This three-part series on black cinema begins with the pioneers who led the way in segregated America, changing attitudes through film.

Harry Belafonte was one of the first romantic black leads, yet was forbidden to kiss on screen. Now, at 91, Belafonte – who had a memorable role in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman this year – talks about constantly trying to find 
a way to deny the prejudice and beat the system.

Sidney Poitier In the heat of the night (1967)

Sidney Poitier In the heat of the night (1967)

From the positive influence of Oscar winner Sidney Poitier (above) in the 1950s and 1960s to Spike Lee’s incendiary work in mainstream 1980s cinema, this is about the brave people who told their own story – not the one ‘white’ Hollywood wanted them to tell.

TV Times rating: *****