I hope you’re having a better week than Rudy Giuliani, who seems to be slowly turning into Venom, but if you’re not...I have some trailers to tickle your fancy! Let’s get to it...
Princess of the Row (Digital and Video On Demand; Release Date: Nov. 27)
First Impressions: Princess of the Row follows 14-year-old Alicia (Tayler Buck), who is faced with caring for her houseless, mentally ill father who lives on Skid Row in Los Angeles, while she’s also struggling to maintain in an abusive foster care system. This one looks like it’ll be very emotional. Plus, I heard TikTok sensation Tabitha Brown even appears in the film
Lovers Rock (Amazon Prime Video; Release Date: Nov. 27)
First Impressions: We’ve already debuted the extended trailer for Steve McQueen’s complete Small Axe anthology series, but each film within the series is getting its own trailer, too! Next up—Lovers Rock. Swoooooon.
MLK/FBI (Select Theaters and On Demand; Release Date: Jan. 15, 2021)
First Impressions: This fall, we debuted an exclusive clip from this documentary from Sam Pollard during its festival circuit and now we know we have an official countdown for the film’s wide release. As you can probably guess from the title, this will be an in-depth expose of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
20/20 - Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor (ABC; Release Date: Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: ABC News and the Courier Journal in Louisville are teaming up to take a 2-hour deep dive into the Breonna Taylor case, including “9-1-1 calls and interrogation tapes to jailhouse calls, surveillance photos and hundreds of pages of police records.”
40 Years A Prisoner (HBO; Release Date: Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT)
First Impressions: In this documentary, Mike Africa Jr., the son of one of two MOVE members arrested on the now-historic day in 1978 when the Philadelphia police raided the radical, back-to-nature group. That day, one of the most controversial shootouts in American history occurred, and Africa Jr. is committed to finding out the truth about what really happened.
Always And Forever (Limited Theaters and On Demand; Now Playing)
First Impressions: In this psychological thriller, Lauren London is making her return to the screen. Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Power), Loretta Devine, Rocsi Diaz, Wood Harris and Deborah Ayorinde (Girls Trip) also star in this film about four childhood friends who must grapple with the trauma (a “deadly secret” per the trailer) they experienced long ago at summer camp. Well, movies that are typically set at camps or far away cabins are super white with one token Black friend, so we can do this genre too, dammit!
Promising Young Woman (Theaters; Release Date: Dec. 25)
First Impressions: So, basically this white girl’s (Carey Mulligan) white girl life is derailed (well, one of her lives...per the press release she lives a double life at night) and she’s out to get revenge. Anywho, Laverne Cox is in this joint and I’m hoping she portrays someone who doesn’t get entangled in this white mess!
Sundance Film Festival 2021 (Virtual; Run Dates: Jan. 28–Feb. 3, 2021)
First Impressions: Yes, I am featuring a trailer for a film festival. It seems like I was in Park City, Utah for Sundance 2020 so long ago (and reportedly, it was a key spot of COVID origins in the U.S.) but next year, it’s going virtual! From Ava DuVernay to Radha Blank, Sundance has churned out some of our brightest Black talents and I’m looking forward to what 2021 will bring.
Uncensored: Best of Big Breaks (TV One; Release Date: Nov. 22 at 10 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: Uncensored is wrapping up its season this Sunday with Best of Big Breaks, which will highlight folks like Ne-Yo, Tasha Smith, Kirk Franklin, D.L. Hughley, Jermaine Dupri and Nick Cannon who will all discuss their respective paths to success.
Tom & Jerry (Theaters; Release Date: 2021)
First Impressions: I’m a huge fan of the classic Tom & Jerry cartoons and though I typically approach modern remakes or continuations with caution, I’m at the very least curious about this. I actually only even heard this was happening because Lil’ Rel posted about it on his Instagram page—he’s apparently lending his voice to the movie!
Dear Santa (Theaters and On Demand; Release Date: Dec. 4)
First Impressions: Belief in Santa is equated to innocence—and after this hellish year, little kids deserve a little extra piece of innocence. This is especially true for Black kids. So, this documentary about the real-life “Santa’s elves” who help Santa respond to the multitude of letters kids write to him should be a much-needed source of joy. Also, I hope this little Black boy gets his 10 dutch bunnies.
If Not Now, When? (Theaters, On Demand and Digital; Release Date: Jan 8, 2021)
First Impressions: We got two Black women teaming up to co-direct this film—Meagan Good and Tamara Bass (All That Matters). Bass wrote the screenplay for this film which follows four former high school friends who are forced to join together when one suffers a crisis. Good and Bass co-star in this film as well, along with Meagan Holder (Pitch), Mekia Cox (The Rookie), Lexi Underwood (Little Fires Everywhere), and Niles Fitch (This Is Us).
The Wilds (Amazon Prime Video; Release Date: Dec. 11)
First Impressions: This is Amazon Prime Video’s first original Young Adult (YA) series and it follows “a group of teen girls from different backgrounds who must fight for survival after a plane crash strands them on a deserted island.” Reign Edwards (The Bold and the Beautiful), Helena Howard (Madeline’s Madeline) and Troy Winbush (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) co-star. Didn’t I just say above that Black people can’t keep getting wrapped up in white people mess?! Still applies here.
Queen of Stylez (Snapchat; Release Date: Nov. 21)
First Impressions: This docuseries follows Hollywood hairstylist Tokyo Stylez and she will be joined by notable folks such as Cardi B, Karrueche Tran, Mulatto, Flo Milli, Kash Doll and more. This series may snatch your wig—or recommend some good ones!
High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special (Disney+; Release Date: Dec. 11)
First Impressions: First of all, multiple colons in a title always makes me think it’s a never-ending abyss of new chapters. Knowing Disney and its penchant for milking creative cows with sequels, that tracks! The popular musical film’s TV series adaptation is coming with a holiday special and the trailer even features a sneak peek of Season 2 of the series.
Catfish: The TV Show (MTV; Season 8 Return Date: Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT)
First Impressions: Wow, people are still getting catfished, huh? Anywho, it’s actually been 10 years since the premiere of the original Catfish film and wow, look how it’s evolved. Kamie Crawford is back to team up with original host Nev Schulman for this new season, which has been all-virtual.
Kevin Hart: Zero Fucks Given (Netflix; Now Streaming)
First Impressions: Kevin Hart has already done the whole Madison Square Garden-level size of audience; now he’s taking it back to the intimate comedy set...actually, it’s way more intimate than that. This one is filmed in his own living room. And yes, like other comedians, he’s leaning way into cancel culture and...profiting more off of it! OMG, but it’s such a threat, right???
Tough Love: Los Angeles (Cleo TV: Release Date: Nov. 25 at 10 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: Whew, the special dating drama of Los Angeles. Yo, let me know if this series will deeply tackle the phenomenon of Black men who move out here from another state where they were used to dating Black girls, but they come to LA and lose their fucking minds and date non-Black girls, exclusively (I swear it is rarely the LA natives that act this funny, but the transplants). Asking for a Black girl LA transplant that is me. This is actually a spinoff from the webseries, Tough Love.
Tiger Woods: America’s Son (ESPN; Release Date: Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: Tiger-Tiger-Tiger Woods, y’all! Tiger Woods is sort of getting that The Last Dance treatment and has a documentary about his legacy and how his historic win at The Masters in 1997—becoming the first African-American golfer to win a major tournament—had an impact on the narrative of Black golfers.
Batwoman (The CW; Season 2 Release Date: Jan. 17, 2021)
First Impressions: Give it up for our first Black Batwoman, y’all. With this teaser, we’re getting a bit more of a sneak peek into how Javicia Leslie looks in her batsuit and what to expect from the second season as Leslie takes over from Season 1's Ruby Rose. At just about 10 seconds, this trailer is a quintessential teaser, alright.
Doc McStuffins: “The Doc Is In” (Disney Junior; Release Date: Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: Coinciding with National Handwashing Awareness Week, the adorable 6-year-old Black wonder will join “Dr. Myiesha Taylor, MD, founder of the Artemis Medical Society and the “We Are Doc McStuffins” movement, and Mark Lee, RN who provides tips to preschoolers about ways to prevent spreading germs.” Also, because it’s not difficult to use any opportunity to shade Trump, I bet Doc McStuffins would even be able to tell this man that he handled COVID horribly.
Your Honor (Showtime; Release Date: Dec. 6 at 10 p.m. ET)
First Impressions: Bryan Cranston is up to his stressful shenanigans again (if you saw Breaking Bad, you know) as he portrays a New Orleans judge whose teenaged son is involved in a hit-and-run and well...dramaaaaa ensues. This thriller series also stars Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Carmen Ejogo. Hopefully, Whitlock can incorporate “sheeeeeeeeit” from The Wire like he routinely does.
Booktube: A Discussion With Barack Obama (YouTube Originals; Release Date: Dec. 16)
First Impressions: To promote the upcoming episode of Booktube where he’ll be discussing his newly released memoir A Promised Land, Barack Obama surprised TwinsthenewTrend, the Black boy duo who went viral for hilariously reacting to hearing Phil Collins for the first time. Their stunned reactions are adorable...just like them!
Black Music Honors 2020 (Bounce TV; Release Date: Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. ET and National Syndication Nov. 21 - Dec. 13)
First Impressions: Just like Sundance, the Black Music Honors has a whole trailer for their event, too! Rickey Smiley will return to host the 2020 Black Music Honors, which highlights “artists and musicians who have influenced and made significant contributions to American music.”
The Expanse (Amazon Prime Video; Season 5 Release Date: Dec. 16)
First Impressions: I haven’t checked this show out yet, but here’s the breakdown—the fifth season picks up as “multitudes of humans leave the solar system in search of new homes and vast fortunes on the earth-like worlds beyond the alien Ring, and a heavy price for centuries of exploitation of the Belt finally comes due and a reckoning is at hand.” Hmm, that sounds pretty damn close to home. The series stars Dominique Tipper, Steven Strait, Wes Chatham, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Cara Gee, Chad Coleman, Keon Alexander, Nadine Nicole and more.
By the way, if you missed it, we already featured the trailer for Regina King’s directorial debut, One Night in Miami. ‘Til next week (which is Thanksgiving week)!