Fresh off the presidential debate (which, was tamer than that first disaster, yet I was still left wishing the mute button was utilized more), it’s time for some more escapism. In case you missed it, we already wrote special pieces about the trailers for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman as well as Barry Jenkins’ upcoming series The Underground Railroad. Get into those and get ready for these...
Follow Me Home (followmehomethemovie.com; Streaming Now for Free Through Nov. 4)
First Impressions: For the first time in 25 years, this film is being made available to the public. That’s right, this film is from the 90s. Starring Alfre Woodard, the film follows three muralists—who are each Chicano, Black and Native American—on their journey to paint their images on the White House as a message. “The ancestors are talking, are we ready to listen?” the trailer asks. Seeing what’s happening these days, I’m sitting here wondering if we’re even ready to answer that question.
First Impressions: As we cringe at the Quibi fail news, you have to admit Black-owned kweliTV is doing its thing (the platform recently announced Lil Rel Howery as its Head of Comedy). This film “follows Illinois native Doria Dee Johnson as she journeys to her ancestors’ hometown in South Carolina to retrace the last days in the life of her great-great-grandfather Anthony Crawford,” who owned a 427-acre cotton farm in Abbeville, South Carolina, a success which, of course, made hating-ass-hater white folks bristle (and led to his demise).
First Impressions: From the first time I became aware of Josephine Baker’s existence, I was captivated—and I’m sure many other Black boys and girls felt the same when they learned about her in school or otherwise. Her likeness has lived on for years, most recently being portrayed by Carra Patterson in Lovecraft Country. As this documentary trailer notes, Baker, who became the first Black global star “turned her fame into a weapon to fight for justice.” A pioneer in that regard, Baker’s celebrity activism is still relevant today.
First Impressions: The cast and crew of This Is Us has been filming during the social distancing lockdown protocols of the global pandemic and from the trailer, it looks like the show will be extra current—as we see Randall (Sterling K. Brown) donning a mask. Speaking of Randall, I expect this pandemic will even further heighten his existing anxiety and it looks like he is delving deeper into his biological father William’s (Ron Cephus Jones) background. And OMGOMGOMGOMG Randall and Kevin (Justin Hartley) are finally facing each other since that Season 4 finale argument. Yikes.
First Impressions: The directorial debut of writer-director Howard J. Davis (aka HAUI), Mixed is described as a “personal documentary-arthouse film” which explores Haui’s own life navigating the world in his queer, mixed and “different” identity. Haui’s mission with this film is to normalize “the other.” “I AM BLACK. I AM WHITE. I AM QUEER. I AM HERE,” Haui said in a statement via press release. Damn right.
First Impressions: I haven’t seen this show, but from the looks of this second season trailer this is giving me the vibes of most dramatic reality shows on TLC, particularly 90 Day Fiancé, which takes up the Black Twitter timeline often. This spinoff show follows fan-faves from the OG show, Pedro and Chantel (who became popular when Chantel lied to her family about her engagement, telling them Pedro was just visiting the U.S. on a student visa). In Season 2, it looks like Chantel’s brother is dipping into the international love market, too.
First Impressions: Another TLC reality show! This one follows podiatrists Dr. Brad and Dr. Ebonie, who assist “three patients as they undergo virtual consultations to begin their journey towards surgeries that will leave their feet radically transformed and their lives changed forever.” Plus, all of this happens during the global pandemic.
First Impressions: So, this looks to be pretty damn white (ooh, Meryl Streep!) save for Keegan-Michael Key and Kerry Washington. However, I have to bring your attention to this tweet, which read, “The Prom trailer looked like Cats. No, I will not elaborate.” Accurate.
First Impressions: This one was on my Sundance 2020 hopeful list (that I didn’t get to see while there) and now we have a trailer! Written and directed by Ekwa Masangi, Farewell Amor follows an Angolan immigrant who is reunited with his wife and teen daughter in the U.S. after 17 years apart. As the press release describes, they are now “absolute strangers sharing a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment.” I cannot wait to dive into this one, which will surely be quite an emotional journey.
First Impressions: Hosted by NY Times best-selling author and 2019 The Root 100 honoree Jason Reynolds (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You), BookTube explores racism, American history and Black joy. The series will feature folks such as Bryan Stevenson and Michelle Obama. And while you’re on this book journey, make sure you get into The Root’s very own It’s Lit podcast.
TNC (Facebook Live, via Trinity Films Entertainment Group; Release Date: Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: Written and directed by Bobby Huntley, TNC seems like a horror version of Groundhog Day from the looks of the trailer (that also takes you on a deja vu journey, which is effective). This looks trippy.
First Impressions: From Pain to Power will be a relevant retroactive look at the social justice fight starting with the March on Washington and leading up to the protests on the streets in Kentucky, Atlanta and beyond. The special will feature Tip “T.I.” Harris, Tamika Mallory, Mysonne, Ben Crump, Drumma Boy, Shabazz the OG, Dr. Frank Smith, Ms. Opal Lee, Linda Sarsour, Bridgett Floyd, Lonita Baker, Angela Williams, and Mothers of the Movement Kadiatou Diallo, Thelma Pannell-Dantzler, Sybrina Fulton, Wanda Johnson, Maria Hamilton, Gwenn Carr, and Tamika Palmer.
That’s all for this week! Enjoy your weekend...safely, please.
Update: 11/2/2020, 1:05 p.m. ET: We have been informed by kweliTV that the premiere date for Crawford: The Man The South Forgot has be moved from Nov. 3 to Nov 10. We have updated the above with the new date.