Turf Nation trailer / YouTube

First Impressions: Any major city with a subway system knows about the subway performers (for example, New York City residents have “Showtime!” ringing in their heads for life). Well, Turf Nation takes us to the Bay Area (Oakland, Calif., to be exact) and the beloved dance crew, Turf Feinz. The crew, which performs on the local BART trains, has worked with H.E.R, G-Eazy, Kehlani, Jack Harlow, E-40 and more. I’m down to watch a group of young Black boys dancing their hearts out and learn more about them...besides, anyone who can contort their limbs like that gets mad respect from me.


The Good Lord Bird (Showtime; Release Date: Oct. 4, 2020, at 9 p.m. ET)

The Good Lord Bird trailer / Showtime (YouTube)

First Impressions: Based on the award-winning James McBride novel of the same name, this upcoming TV series follows abolitionist John Brown (Ethan Hawke), but the story is told from the perspective of an enslaved boy named Onion (portrayed by rising star Joshua Caleb Johnson). Onion joins Brown’s crew of abolitionist soldiers during Bleeding Kansas, which leads to the famous 1859 raid on the. U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry. The cast is intriguing with Black-ass stars such as Daveed Diggs (who portrays Frederick Douglass), Orlando Jones and Hubert Point-Du Jour.


Freedom Riders (PBS/PBS Video App; Now Streaming)

Freedom Riders trailer / American Experience PBS (YouTube)

First Impressions: PBS choosing to stream Stanley Nelson’s award-winning documentary is especially poignant right now, of course, to honor the legacy of the late great Rep. John Lewis as well as his fellow “Freedom Riders.” The doc first aired in 2011, and it “tells the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months that transformed America.” This is required viewing and I’m certainly going to digest this soon.

Jason Weems: Unknown (On Digital; Release Date: Aug. 4, 2020)

Jason Weems Unknown trailer / YouTube

First Impressions: So, Jason Weems is “unknown” to me. But, my God did his story make my ears perk up, immediately! You see, Weems died after a stand-up performance in Philadelphia. He was dead for 5 minutes. As in no heartbeat or pulse. Yikes. I typically enjoy stand-up comedy in general, but that is quite a pitch (it’s the ultimate way of turning tragedy into comedy) and I will be tuned in.


Sam Jay: 3 In The Morning (Netflix; Release Date: Aug. 4, 2020)

Sam Jay: 3 in the Morning trailer / Netflix (YouTube)

First Impressions: Just like Wheems, I’m actually unfamiliar with Sam Jay’s work. Well, at least I think I am. Jay is actually the first Black lesbian writer to be staffed at Saturday Night Live. Speaking of firsts, this is Jay’s first Netflix comedy special, which is clearly a big ass deal for stand-up comedians because Netflix has been bodying the stand-up content. I’m excited to be introduced to Jay’s comedy in this way.


Don’t Look Deeper (Quibi; Release Date: July 27, 2020)

Don’t Look Deeper trailer / Quibi (YouTube)

First Impressions: This looks to be a sci-fi futuristic film, but the fact that it is set “fifteen minutes into the future,” according to the press release, is interesting. Don’t Look Deeper stars Helena Howard as a high school senior who struggles with the fact that she may not be completely...human. Cue powerful forces that attempt to search for and ultimately control her and all the drama that comes with that. Plus, my guy Don Cheadle is in it. I’ll definitely add this to my ever-growing list of content to watch.


The Third Day (HBO; Release Date: Sept. 14 at 9 p.m. ET)

The Third Day official teaser / HBO (YouTube)

First Impressions: The Third Day is a limited drama series with a fascinating concept where six episodes will be split to tell the stories of “Summer” and “Winter.” In “Winter,” Naomie Harris stars as Helen, “a strong-willed outsider who comes to the island seeking answers, but whose arrival precipitates a fractious battle to decide its fate as the lines between fantasy and fact are distorted.” Harris is continuously a captivating actress, but her performance in Moonlight alone should persuade anyone to see anything she appears in.


RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue (VH1; Release Date: Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT)

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue Trailer / YouTube

First Impressions: Well, of course, RuPaul is taking the ever-popular Drag Race series to Vegas. Everyone knows there is lots of money to be made in Sin City (whether it’s the risky gambling or the secure show residency), so the popular past contestants are taking their show on the road. The special will feature Season 11 winner Yvie Oddly as well as iconic queens Asia O’Hara, Derrick Barry, Kameron Michaels, Naomi Smalls and Vanessa “Vanjie” Mateo.


Chez Jolie Coiffure (PBS; Release Date: Aug. 3, 2020, at 10 p.m. ET)

Chez Jolie Coiffure trailer / PBS (YouTube)

First Impressions: As part of PBS’ POV series, Chez Jolie Coiffure follows ex-pat Sabine and her “nightmare journey from enslavement to managing a hair salon in the African Quarter of Brussels,” per the press release. Sabine is a larger-than-life personality who works at a tiny shop called Jolie Coiffure and she primps and pampers undocumented immigrants to make them feel beautiful in a harsh reality. This is a glow up with gumption. Yeah, I’m completely sold.


The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion (Netflix; Now Streaming)

The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion trailer / YouTube

First Impressions: It’s finally here! After we’ve covered the anticipated project in our Tribeca roundup and Strong Black Lead features for July, this dope doc is available to stream right now. Directed by award-winning director-editor Farah X and Academy Award-nominated director-producer Lisa Cortés, The Remix “spotlights the fearless contributions of style architect Misa Hylton with special appearances from 90’s hip hop fashion authorities; April Walker, Dapper Dan and celebrated Vogue Fund-winning designer and recent CFDA nominee, Kerby Jean-Raymond,” per the press release.


Marley (Select Theaters / Digital; Release Date: July 31, 2020)

Marley trailer / Blue Fox Entertainment (YouTube)

First Impression: Yes, this project is about the late beloved Robert “Bob” Nesta Marley. This documentary will not only honor the reggae music he provided to the entire universe but the man behind the influential art. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Marley so this doc is certainly well-timed. Besides, Marley always promoted love—which is the kind of joy we absolutely need in this hell of a year.


And on that note (yes, love is a great note to end on), that’s all for this week! ‘Til next Friday!