Release Date: 3/17/17; Netflix
Running Time: 92 mins.
Director: Sydney Freeland
Cast: Ashleigh Murray (Deidra), Rachel Crow (Laney), Tim Blake Nelson (Truman), David Sullivan (Chet), Danielle Nicolet (Marigold), Sasheer Zamata (Ms. Spencer), Missi Pyle (Mrs. Fowler), Sharon Lawrence (Veronica), Lance Gray (Jet)
Story: Deidra Tanner is a whip-smart high school senior who sells answers to chemistry tests to save up for college, all the while helping her mother raise her stubborn little sister, Laney, and her brother, Jet. It’s more than your average teenager can handle, but Deidra runs a tight ship—that is, until Mom blows a mental gasket at her retail job and throws a high-end TV on the pavement. When Deidra realizes that jail time is ironically proving to be a healthy and therapeutic break from single parent life for her mom, her life is derailed. When she conjures up the will to face her new circumstances, Deidra focuses her talents on the train tracks in her own backyard. Source/Photo Source: Sundance.
Release Date: 2/1/17, 2/8/17, 2/15/17; BET
Director: Kevin Hooks
Studio(s): Blue Ice Pictures, Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Cast: Laurence Fishburne (Nelson Mandela), David Harewood, Orlando Jones, Terry Pheto.
Story: A three-part saga telling the “definitive story” of Nelson Mandela. Madiba, based on two Mandela autobiographies, Conversations with Myself and Nelson Mandela by Himself, tells the most personal and comprehensive story of Mandela’s life, focusing on the man, and his innermost thoughts and fears as he fought and sacrificed for freedom to become an international icon. While many recognize Mandela as the face of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, this mini-series also pays homage to the many lesser known men and women who sacrificed and suffered alongside him in South Africa’s quest for freedom. Along with detailing the early years of Mandela’s personal journey, Madiba also reveals the behind-the-scenes strategizing and bold organizing tactics he and his collaborators used to bring attention to their movement both domestically and internationally. Source/Photo: Shadow & Act.
a/k/a Ain’t No Half Steppin’
Release Date: 3/31/17; Theaters
Director: Charles Stone III
Studio(s): Broad Green Pictures, Los Angeles Media Fund.
Cast: Megalyn Echikunwoke (Jamilah), Naturi Naughton (Aisha), Eden Sher (Beth),
Alessandra Torresani (Amber), Gage Golightly (Libby), Lyndon Smith (Danielle), Matt McGorry (Dane), Marque Richardson (Kevin), Nia Jervier (Saundra).
Story: The story centers on an ambitious college senior (Megalyn Echikunwoke) who wants to go to law school. She teaches stepping to a group white sorority girls who risk losing their charter. Source: Variety.