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Hollywood By Choice

Viceland: A new window to the world

Gail Choice | 10/20/2016, midnight
There is so much on TV that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the channels and what they ...

There is so much on TV that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the channels and what they offer. I channel surf on a regular basis, and if something catches my attention I check it out.

The Viceland TV channel is one of my most recent and delightful discoveries. A 24-hour channel launched in early 2016, Viceland features hundreds of hours of new lifestyle and documentary-style programming targeting viewers of all ages. Primarily produced and hosted by Millennials, it brings a new experience to story-telling.

Far from being your typical channel, Viceland programming introduces us to people of all races and ages around the world. The stories cover the good and bad concerning the rights and lifestyles of women, men and the environment that help shape their lives and history. The stories are adventurous, controversial, and dangerous at times … they’re extremely uplifting and sometimes downright rude. And unlike most networks, the Black presence is very prominent and so are their voices.

This is an abbreviated example of what you can expect to see from Black producer Michael K. Williams who sometimes takes his life into his hands to bring you such programs as “Black Market.”

In a project that seems truley personal, Williams journeys into the dangerous world of illicit trade. And in the segment “Black Market: Dispatches,” which seems to be embedded into the criminal enterprises, Williams explores how contraband moves across borders.

Another offering “Desus and Mero” features adults involved in whacky pieces that are “corny yet laugh-worthy.”

And then there is “Noisey,” which provides a first-hand look into the cultures and artists behind some of the world’s most compelling and cutting-edge music scenes.

Even their Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are unique. For example, a “Black Lives Matter” series offers PSAs that cleverly explain what the movement is all about in very basic language. “Black/White” is another PSA production that features people of different races placed in the same situation and each participant talks about their experience and consequently proves that racism and stereotypes can be found in the least likely situations.

Like most TV channels, you pick what you’d like to see. For me, it was “States of Undress” hosted by Haley Gates and “Viceland Woman” by feminst activist Gloria Steinem. Both of these programs look at the state of womanhood from childhood to seniors, and what you see changing are the celebrations presently happening in the respective countries.

For instance, I was fascinated by a report on young African women living in the Congo on the show “States of Undress.” In this segment, Gates explores fashion week in the Congo.

The beautiful, colorful fashions were all African made and the designs were quite distinctive. The models were the only part of the show that reflected Western influence … (because they were tall and thin as Western models tend to be.)

However, the report makes it clear that this look is not what the average, young Congolese woman aspired to look like. In fact, it is obvious from watching the show that these young women love their full bodies, and ample behinds and thighs. The young women and men also seem to prefer wearing clothes tailored by local fashion designers and made by their own hands; not something they can run to a store and buy.

Taking it one step further, the designers turn the main street in the market district into their own personal runways on a regular basis (each weekend). This fashion statement and process features items styled and primarily made by young men in the Congo and is called ‘Sapeur.’

Gloria Steinem’s “Viceland Woman” is at the intersection of violence and stability, of oppression and progress. Steinem’s reporters travel the world meeting those whose lives are in the crosshairs of the changing views on women, their rights and freedom.

If you’re curious, Viceland is just a click away, not only on TV but online. Take a look for yourself.

If you love cars, food, adventure and more, check it out. If you go to your search engine and put in Viceland Woman or Viceland Congo you can check out videos just by clicking on them. To see what’s there, check with your cable provider for the Viceland Channel. Online, go to www.viceland.com.