BET+ is headed to Canada for its next limited series. The streamer has acquired CBC drama The Porter and set it for a May 5 U.S. premiere. Per a press release provided to The Root, the series is set in the early 1920s and “follows train porters Junior Massey (Aml Ameen) and Zeke Garrett (Ronnie Rowe Jr.) and their friends and families as a tragedy on the job sets them on starkly different paths to better lives. While Junior takes advantage of a broken system to pursue money and power in gambling and bootlegging, Zeke fights the railway to change the system from within by unionizing the Black porters. And it becomes clear that Junior and Zeke’s goals are in direct conflict with each other.”
Mouna Traoré (The Umbrella Academy), Loren Lott (Cherish the Day), Olunike Adeliyi (American Gods) and Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage) co-star. BET also released a trailer for the eight episode series, which reveals the drama as part captivating story of the fight for the first-ever Black union and part crime drama as the two friends take different approaches to making the best of their bad circumstances. It also looks like a big sweeping epic that beautifully captures the spirit of the time.
Recently, BET+ has been expanding its slate beyond its regular Tyler Perry programming block. As we previously reported at The Root, Oscar-nominee Taraji P. Henson’s TPH Entertainment signed an overall deal with BET Studios and the network has greenlit the upcoming limited series Carl Weber’s The Black Hamptons. BET+ is clearly trying to rebrand itself into a major player.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series is part of a push for more Black representation on the CBC and Canadian TV as a whole. Whether it’s on Canadian or American TV, it’s important to see more of our history told in new ways. Movies and TV tend to get hyperfocused on very specific parts of Black history, particularly slavery and the civil rights movement of the ‘60s. There’s far more to our history and culture than those two periods and it’s past time studios, networks and production companies realize it.