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Gabourey Sidibe became known for her starring role in “Precious,” a film that was produced, written and directed by African Americans. So it’s fair to say she knows a little something about art and culture from the black perspective.  That must be why producers of the public television show “AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” tapped the actress, whose father is from Senegal, to host Season 5 of the show.  “Afropop” debuted this Tuesday and will continue Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. ET through February 5th. (Encore broadcasts air at midnight.)

“Afropop” is a series intended to showcase the African diaspora and its triumphs and challenges. On Season 5, the focus is on women and their efforts to improve their communities. In “A Lot Like You” (January 22) a half-Korean, half-Tanzanian women goes to Africa to discover her culture and finds out more about sexual violence in her family’s tribe.  In “Dear Mandela,” (January 29) residents of shantytowns in Durban, South Africa fight to claim their fair share of the reforms promised when Mandela was president, and in “Stolen” (February 5) modern slavery in refugee camps in Western Sahara is uncovered to dramatic results.

“I really like that story,” Sidide told “The United Nations has a family reunion program for refugees who are displaced from their families during the war. That’s what the story is about in the beginning. Then you start to find out that slavery is still happening and it went from being a documentary about a family to being a thriller.”

To find out what stations will air “Afropop” In your city, click here.

Look for “A Lot Like You” and “Dear Mandela” to air independently in February, also on public television.

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