Zinc Media label Supercollider has partnered with Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures and Sabrina Elba’s Pink Towel on documentary series “Paid in Full: The Battle for Payback” (working title) for public broadcasters CBC and BBC.
The series (3 x 60′), produced in association with Catalyst, examines the exploitation of Black artists by the music industry and explores what it would look like for Black artists to receive reparations. It documents the extent of the historic injustice suffered by the music industry’s Black artists, including the disparity of profits received by them, despite having created the records that have driven the fabric and culture of popular music. The series will also look at racial inequality in the music industry both today and in the past.
The series features contributions from author and filmmaker MK Asante Jr (“Buck,” “It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop,” “The Black Candle”) and Lawrence Lartey, director of innovation, industry and enterprise at Ravensbourne University London who has worked with President Obama’s foundation on their My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
The series is commissioned by CBC and the BBC, and funded and co-produced by a partnership between Abacus Media Rights (AMR) and Media Musketeers Studios, with AMR distributing internationally.
Tanya Shaw, managing director, Zinc Television, said: “Far from being a straight music documentary, this series will explore the music industry within a racial context and reflect the history of exploitation within the industry. It will also major in on conversations of structural racism and those who have worked so hard to expose them.”
Idris Elba, CEO, Green Door, added: “This is a story that touches all of us. It’s about the people who created the soundtracks of our lives in popular music and the pain of their exploitation. It’s also about bringing the music industry to account for the injustice inflicted on generations of musical talents who have been deprived of their rightful rewards both financially and in terms of status and respect. At the heart of it is the need to make amends – granting acknowledgement and paying back what is due.”
Jonathan Ford, managing director, Abacus Media Rights, said: “We were extremely keen to be part of this incredible production, which will bring much-needed focus to a topic that requires attention from the industry and the public. We’re certain the excellent teams at Supercollider, Green Door and Catalyst will combine to do the subject justice.”
Sebastien Janin, managing partner, Media Musketeers Studios, said: “The subject matter is hugely important and deserves to be in the spotlight. Working with such a talented production and distribution team will ensure the series reaches the widest possible audience.”
Jennifer Dettman, executive director, unscripted content, CBC, said: “We look forward to sharing this important series with audiences in Canada, offering a necessary and in-depth exploration of the structural racism inherent in the music industry and its impact over the decades.”
“Paid in Full: The Battle for Payback” was commissioned for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer by Jonathan Rothery, head of pop music, TV and Rachel Davies is the commissioning editor, and was commissioned for CBC and CBC Gem by Sally Catto, general manager, entertainment, factual and sports, and by Jennifer Dettman, executive director, unscripted content. Michelle McCree is executive in charge of production, CBC Docs. It is executive produced by Greg Sanderson for Supercollider, Idris Elba for Green Door Pictures, Sabrina Elba for Pink Towel and Julie Bristow for Catalyst. The showrunner is David Upshal.