2022 has produced a bevy of TV shows and films that center authentic narratives from Black creatives. Gems such as Katori Hall’s “P-Valley” and Lena Waithe’s “The Chi,” delivered impactful storylines that kept social media abuzz while also shifting our culture. Now that we’re officially “outside,” thrillers such as Will Packer’s “Beast” along with Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “The Woman King,” are sparking our return to the theaters.
As the seasons change and we fall into cozy conditions, BLAC has compiled a watchlist of some must-see TV and movies. Fans of BET’s “Being Mary Jane” will feel some familiarity with the Kerry Washington executive produced “Reasonable Doubt,” while those who dig animation will enjoy Kid Cudi’s “Entergalactic.” Knowing there is choreography from the legendary Debbie Allen, is reason enough to watch Tyler Perry’s latest opus on Netflix, “A Jazzman’s Blues.”
One of the most anticipated films to hit theaters this fall is “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” While many viewers may be apprehensive about the historical drama, “Till,” it is an unsettling but necessary reminder for all of America to heed.
Read on to learn when/where you can watch the aforementioned picks and more.
1. “A Jazzman’s Blues” — Sept. 23, Netflix
Written, directed and produced by Academy Award honoree, Tyler Perry, “A Jazzman’s Blues” tells a story of forbidden love that unfolds in the deep south across 40 years. Joshua Boone is Bayou, a sweet-tempered young musician and Solea Pfeiffer is Leanne, a privileged yet troubled soul. Dangerously in love, their on-again, off-again romance endures pressure from their families and outside forces. The ensemble cast also features Amirah Vann, Austin Scott and Milauna Jemai Jackson. The trailer and film feature “Paper Airplanes,” a brand-new song from singer-songwriter Ruth B., which she co-wrote with multi-Grammy-winning artist Terence Blanchard, who arranged and produced the juke joint blues on the soundtrack. There will be also choreography from Debbie Allen.
“A Jazzman’s Blues” was the first ever script Perry penned, in 1995, after a chance encounter with seminal playwright, August Wilson.
Shot on location in Savannah, Georgia with interior scenes filmed at Perry’s Atlanta studios, ‛A Jazzman’s Blues,’” made its world premiere Sept. 11, at the Toronto International Film Festival and streams Sept. 23, on Netflix.
2. “Reasonable Doubt” — Sept. 27, Hulu
Dramas with Black female leads are scarce, which makes the release of Onyx Collective’s first scripted series “Reasonable Doubt,” even sweeter. The sizzling legal drama stars Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Roots” ) as Jax Stewart, a defense attorney known for her questionable ethics and wild interpretations of the law. Yet, her brilliance and moxie make her a formidable advocate for her clients. Jax also juggles her failing marriage, motherhood and more.
Corinealdi is joined by a dynamic cast that includes Michael Ealy, Sean Patrick Thomas and McKinley Freeman. One of our fave femmes in charge, Kerry Washington, directs and executive produces along with Shawn Holley, Jon Leshay, Simpson Street’s Pilar Savone, and Larry Wilmore of Wilmore Films. Reasonable Doubt is created, written, and executive produced by Raamla Mohamed, who previously worked with Washington on ABC’s “Scandal” and Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere.” Stream “Reasonable Doubt” on Hulu, Sept. 27.
3. “Entergalactic” — Sept. 30, Netflix
Art, music and fashion fuse together in “Entergalactic,” an original adult-animated series from rapper, singer and actor Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi. His upcoming eponymous eighth studio album will be released on the same day as the series. In collaboration with “Black-ish” creator, Kenya Barris, who serves as executive producer, Cudi will voice the character of Jabari, a trippy young artist balancing success and a budding romance. Jessica Williams (“2 Dope Queens”) plays Meadow, Jabari’s neighbor and potential bae. Directed by Fletcher Moules, whose work includes “Clash of Clans: Revenge,” “Entergalactic” is based in NYC.
Audiences can look forward to a star-studded cast that includes Ty Dolla $ign as Ky, Jabari’s off-the-wall buddy. Vanessa Hudgens, Jaden Smith, Keith David, Teyana Taylor, and Macaulay Culkin in undisclosed voice roles. Iconic designer, Virgil Abloh created some of the characters’ costumes prior to his death last year. “Entergalactic” streams on Netflix starting Sept. 30.
4. “Till” — Oct. 14 in Select Theaters; Oct. 28 Nationwide
“Till” is the true story of Mamie Till Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice following the brutal murder of only child, 14-year-old, Emmett Till. The young Black teen, from Chicago, was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi during the summer of 1955. Leading the cast are Jalyn Hall (“All American”) as Emmett Till, Danielle Deadwyler (“The Harder They Fall”) as Mamie Till Mobley and Whoopi Goldberg, who also serves as a producer, plays Alma Carthan, Emmett’s maternal grandmother.
Nigerian-American director and writer, Chinonye Chukwu collaborated with filmmaker Keith Beauchamp whose extensive research about Emmett Till’s death is the basis for the film. In an official statement, she explained her intention with making the film is not to re-traumatize Black viewers.
“The crux of this story is not about the traumatic, physical violence inflicted upon Emmett — which is why I refused to depict such brutality in the film — but it is about Mamie’s remarkable journey in the aftermath,” she says. “I hope viewers will empathize with the humanities on screen and see our present cultural and political realities within this film. And I hope that Mamie’s story helps us all to realize the power within ourselves to continue to fight for the change we want to see in the world, just as she did.”
Released by MGM’s Orion Pictures and filmed in Atlanta, “Till” is out in select theaters, Oct. 14, and nationwide, Oct. 28.
5. “The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast” — Oct. 23, Starz
As we await the second season of the Starz scripted series “BMF,” Executive Producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson delivers “The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast.” From Detroit corner boys, to notorious drug kingpins, and hip hop kingmakers, the eight-part docuseries will chart the meteoric rise and fall of BMF founders: Demetrius “Big Meech” and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, two brothers who built one of the largest cocaine empires in American history. The fabled story spans four decades across five major U.S. cities, immersing viewers in a network of crisscrossing relationships between crime, hip hop, and law enforcement.
Viewers will receive exclusive access inside all the epic family feuds, high stakes drug deals, suspicious murders, and champagne drenched parties attended by hip-hop royalty. Additionally, the series will feature exclusive interviews, never-before-seen archival footage, original vérité footage, celebrity interviews, and original impressionistic imagery inspired by first-hand accounts.
Alongside Jackson is executive producer, Shan Nicholson (“Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury”), who will also serve as showrunner. The series will be directed by Nicholson and Chris Frierson. Additional executive producers include Richard Perello and Stacey Offman, co-executive producers Brad Hebert and Isaac Bolden, and senior producer Jessica Vale. The documentary series is produced for STARZ by Jigsaw Productions and G-Unit Film & Television.
“The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast” premieres Oct. 23 on Starz at 10:00 p.m. ET.
6. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” — Nov. 11, Theaters
Chadwick Bosemen joined the ancestors two years ago, but Wakanda is indeed forever. Director Ryan Coogler and most of the original cast from 2018’s Black Panther, will return including Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira. Filmed mostly at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, expected enigma surrounds the plot, yet a few gems have been revealed.
Tems’ plaintive rendition of “No Woman No Cry” during the trailer signals the mourning of the Wakanda nation as they move forward from the loss of their beloved King T’Challa. Because the mantle of Black Panther can be taken on by whoever is deemed the protector of Wakanda, someone else will don the Panther Habit. Some fans predict, if the movie follows the story from the comic book, T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri. Other moments to anticipate include British actress, Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You”) as Aneka, a queer woman and member of the Dora Milaje, and the onscreen debut of Marvel superhero, Riri Williams, aka Ironheart played by Dominique Thorne (“Judas and The Black Messiah”).
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” opens in theaters nationwide, Nov. 11.