I’m a few days late on the monthly calendar, but better late than never! Without further ado, here are TV and movie premieres featuring black talent, to look forward to this month (June). So mark your calendars.
First, TV premieres (in chronological order):
— VH1’s new scripted series “Daytime Divas” premieres on the network on June 5, 2017 at 9/8c. Inspired by the book “Satan’s Sisters… A Novel of Fiction” by Star Jones, the series stars Vanessa Williams, Tichina Arnold, Fiona Gubelmann, Chloe Bridges, and Nina as hosts of “The Lunch Hour,” a long-running women’s talk show.
— The upcoming 5th season of Netflix’s award-winning hit series “Orange Is the New Black,” will premiere on June 9, 2017.
— TNT’s new dark comedy series “Claws” which is set in a South Florida nail salon, is executive produced by Rashida Jones, and follows the rise of five diverse and treacherous manicurists working at the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon, where there is a lot more going on than silk wraps and pedicures. Niecy Nash, Harold Perrineau, Jenn Lyon, Judy Reyes, Carrie Preston, Karrueche Tran, Jack Kesy, Kevin Rankin, and Jason Antoon star. Janine Sherman Barrois is executive producer and serves as showrunner for “Claws” which premieres on Sunday, June 11, at 9 p.m.
— From director Jay Bulger comes the Netflix original documentary feature, “Counterpunch,” which follows 3 promising amateur boxers as they pursue success in a sport that has experienced a steady decline in popularity. Netflix will premiere “Counterpunch” exclusively on June 16, 2017.
— Season 2 of the acclaimed drama series “Queen Sugar” will premiere on the OWN network in a similar fashion as it did last season, with a two-night event, launching on June 20 and June 21, at 10 p.m. on both nights.
— Called “the new Jim Crow,”the war on drugs has cost America $1 trillion in a bizarre history that spans five decades. It has also had a most devastating impact on the Black community from decades of biased law enforcement, from President Nixon to the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws, to the emerging above-ground marijuana market that is poised to make legal millions for wealthy investors doing the same thing that generations of people of color have been arrested and locked up for. With prisons overflowing (as primarily African-American men are being incarcerated at rates far exceeding other groups), and heroin use reaching epidemic levels, HISTORY’s 8-hour documentary series “America’s War on Drugs” will uncover the origins of the drug war and its unexpected effects on American culture, institutions and politics. Airing of 4 consecutive nights, “America’s War on Drugs” premieres Sunday, June 18 at 9PM ET/PT and concludes on Wednesday, June 21 at 9PM ET/PT on HISTORY.
— Starz’s hit drama series “Power” returns for its much-anticipated season 4 on Sunday, June 25, starting at 12:01 am on the STARZ app and On Demand. The network on-air premiere will be at its regularly scheduled time of 9:00 pm ET/PT.
— Leslie Jones hosts the 2017 “BET Awards” which will air on Sunday, June 25, from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, at 8 p.m. ET.
— Murder Inc. founder Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo has teamed up with BET Networks to produce “Tales,” a scripted anthology series of “song stories” weaving classic and current hip-hop songs into visual narratives from the lyrics of some of hip-hop’s greatest hits. Each song’s lyrics are imagined as cinematic adventures with different directors. Each episode is written by a different screenwriter, introducing “Tales” as an innovative twist to hip-hop culture by reimagining our favorite hip-hop songs as we know them into “mini-movies.” “Tales” is set to premiere on BET on June 27, 2017.
— A&E Network premieres what it calls a definitive documentary “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” as the inaugural project airing under the recently relaunched “Biography” banner. The first two hours of “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” will kick-off on Wednesday, June 28 at 9PM ET/PT with the final hour airing Thursday, June 29 at 8:00PM ET/PT, directly followed by “Who Killed Tupac?” which will premiere its first of six installments on Thursday, June 29 at 9PM ET/PT on A&E.
— James Davis welcomes you to his neighborhood with new Comedy Central series “Hood Adjacent with James Davis,” debuting Wednesday, June 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
And here are the film premieres (also in chronological order):
— Damani Baker’s “The House on Coco Road,” an intimate portrait of his mother and their lives amidst the early 1980’s Grenada Revolution, will be distributed by film collective ARRAY, launching with a national screening tour on June 6th that will include stops in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Houston, and Portland, in advance of its June 30th Netflix debut in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
— Singer-songwriter Chris Brown will get the chance to tell his story when the documentary “Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life” comes to nearly 350 movie theaters nationwide (USA) on June 8 only at 7:30 p.m. local time.
— The critically-acclaimed documentary “Raising Bertie” hails from our friends at Kartemquin Films – an indie production company responsible for some of the most significant documentaries made during the last 20 years including a few we’ve covered on this blog like “Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters” and “The Trials of Muhammad Ali.” Directed and produced by Margaret Byrne, “Raising Bertie” is set in Bertie County, a rural African American community in Eastern North Carolina, and takes the viewer deep into the emotional lives of three young boys as they face a number of challenges over six years as they grow into adults; unemployment, institutional racism, violence, first love, fatherhood, death, and estrangement from family members and mentors, all while trying to define their identities. The profound work of cinéma vérité will open first in New York on June 9 at Maysles Cinema; then it heads to San Francisco for a 1-week run from June 16-22 at Roxie Cinema; and then Los Angeles from June 23-29 at Laemmle Music Hall.
— Morgan Creek’s long in development Tupac Shakur biopic is finally complete and set to open theatrically on June 16, 2017, which also happens to be Shakur’s birthday (he would’ve been 46). Titled “All Eyez on Me,” the feature film is written by Jeremy Haft & Ed Gonzalez and Steve Bagatourian, and is directed by Benny Boom. Newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr stars as Tupac Shakur; Danai Gurira is Afeni Shakur; Kat Graham plays Jada Pinkett; Annie Ilonzeh is Kidada Jones; Lauren Cohan plays Leila Steinberg; and Jamal Woolard reprises his role from “Notorious” as Biggie Smalls.
— Live Nation Productions will release the feature documentary “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story” exclusively on Apple Music on June 25, 2017. The film, produced by Sean Combs and Heather Parry, explores the passion and personalities behind the Bad Boy label, and goes inside the ups and downs in the making of a movement and staging of an unprecedented musical event.
— From award-winning Canadian filmmaker Jamie Kastner comes the feature-length documentary, “The Skyjacker’s Tale,” which gives audiences unprecedented access to one of the USA’s top five most wanted fugitives – Ishmael Muslim Ali (formerly LaBeet) – who lives in Cuba. Called The Fountain Valley massacre, Ali was one of 5 Afro-Caribbean men convicted of murdering 8 (white) people on a Rockefeller-owned golf course in the US Virgin Islands. After years of trying to get his conviction overturned, he took matters into his own hands and hijacked an American Airlines flight that was full of passengers, en route to Cuba, on New Years Eve in 1984; and he got away with it, living at large in Cuba. That is, until now, with recent efforts to normalize Cuban–American relations. Strand Releasing will distribute the film in the USA and has set a June 30th open in New York City at the Village East theaters, with a national release to follow.
That’s it for June!