Trailer Roundup: We've Been Locked Down in 2021 for a Week...What a Mess!

Trailer Roundup: We've Been Locked Down in 2021 for a Week...What a Mess!

Locked Down (2021); Wendy Williams: What A Mess! (2021)
Locked Down (2021); Wendy Williams: What A Mess! (2021)
Screenshot: HBO Max/Youtube, Lifetime/YouTube

At the time of this blog’s publishing, we’re about 8 days into 2021, and um…girl, I guess. We’ve barely been able to process all of the mess of 2020 and we hit the ground running with an entire American insurrection.


Somehow, there was still room for movie and TV trailers. So, in the spirit of escapism…let’s get to ‘em!

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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Tribes (Digital via Short of the Week; Now Streaming)

Tribes (Digital via Short of the Week; Now Streaming)

First Impressions: As described in the press release, this dark satire touches on “the themes of inclusion, diversity, and unity unfold during a train ride between two stations as an African-American, an Arab-American and a white man try to rob a train.” In the trailer, the brother is jackin’ everybody on the train but the Black folks, because he is skinfolk that is also kinfolk.

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You Will Die at Twenty (Virtual Cinemas; Release Date: Jan. 22)

You Will Die at Twenty (Virtual Cinemas; Release Date: Jan. 22)


First Impressions: Sudanese director Amjad Abu Alala’s feature debut follows a young man who was cursed on the day of his birth to die at the age of 20, as the title denotes. The film is only the eighth fiction feature film to be produced in Sudan and it looks beautiful.

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American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free (PBS; Release Date: Jan. 18 at 9 p.m. ET)

American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free (PBS; Release Date: Jan. 18 at 9 p.m. ET)

First Impressions: This doc will follow six iconic pioneering women, Abbey Lincoln, Lena Horne, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll and Pam Grier who broke into the discriminatory entertainment industry and will highlight their respective displays of activism. This doc is based on the book How It Feels To Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement by Ruth Feldstein and it looks like it’ll be a treat.

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History of Swear Words (Netflix; Now Streaming)

History of Swear Words (Netflix; Now Streaming)

First Impressions: This special will unpack the history of cussing (and analyze who determines what a swear word is) with an entertaining cast including DeRay Davis, Open Mike Eagle, London Hughes, Zainab Johnson, Baron Vaughn and Isiah Whitlock Jr. (sheeeeeeeeeeit). I’m assuming there’s going to be an appearance by the King of Cussin’, Samuel L. Jackson, right? Right??

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Blue Laces (Coming Soon)

Blue Laces (Coming Soon)

First Impressions: From director Britt Banks, this short film follows a young Black girl who finds a new sisterhood group after losing her brother. It’s like a Crip coming-of-age film! I am looking forward to checking this out.

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Locked Down (HBO Max; Release Date: Jan. 14)

Locked Down (HBO Max; Release Date: Jan. 14)


First Impressions: This is like if infamous fictional assassins Mr. and Mrs. Smith were in the global pandemic lockdown. In fact, the actual director of Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Doug Liman) is directing this! Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anne Hathaway, it looks like we’re going to get every kind of genre of film…but—in my best Tyra meme voice—make it lockdown.

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Wendy Williams: What a Mess! (Lifetime; Release Date: Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. ET)

Wendy Williams: What a Mess! (Lifetime; Release Date: Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. ET)


First Impressions: First off, this title is very on-brand and pretty damn spot-on for the media personality who has become infamous for her messy ways. Now, (with the rise of her daytime talk show success), she’s on the other side of the gossip mill and everyone is talking about her personal life. Welp!

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Night of the Kings (2021 Sundance Film Festival (Digital); Screening Dates: Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. ET and Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. ET)

Night of the Kings (2021 Sundance Film Festival (Digital); Screening Dates: Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. ET and Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. ET)


First Impressions: The concept of this film is fascinating as it follows a young man in prison who must spend the entire night recounting a story in order to survive. Directed by Philippe Lacôte, this film has already made quite the festival circuit including Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Venice Film Festival.

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High Tales (MONOGRAM; Now Streaming)

High Tales (MONOGRAM; Now Streaming)

First Impressions: Because everyone knows someone with a great weed story. The first episode of High Tales (from Jay-Z’s cannabis brand, MONOGRAM) kicks off with Jadakiss who will recount the time he first smoked with Snoop Dogg (who is like the big boss in the game of Mary Jane). Future episodes will include N.O.R.E., 2 Chainz, The-Dream.

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ATL Homicide (Season 3 Release Date: Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. ET)

ATL Homicide (Season 3 Release Date: Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. ET)


First Impressions: This is for the true crime fans! Per the press release sent to The Root, one of the featured detectives, Vince Velaquez said, “With a bigger focus lately on police reform, we hope ATL Homicide can continue to show a different side of law enforcement that many of our citizens don’t normally see.” I’m getting a “copaganda” vibe from that, but hopefully it means law enforcement will be held accountable and the convo will be relevant to the times.

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Secrets in Our DNA (PBS; Release Date: Jan. 13 at 9 p.m. ET)

Secrets in Our DNA (PBS; Release Date: Jan. 13 at 9 p.m. ET)

First Impressions: This doc will explore “world of direct-to-consumer DNA testing” and the science behind it. It will also touch on factors such as how DNA results assist in cold cases, family mysteries and assessing genetic disease risks. Further, the doc will unpack the racial biases in the genetics department and how it affects ancestry testing (namely, the fact there is more data available for people of European descent than those of African or Asian descent).

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Two Sentence Horror Stories (The CW; Season 2 Release Date: Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. ET)

Two Sentence Horror Stories (The CW; Season 2 Release Date: Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. ET)


First Impressions: This series (based on a concept I remember seeing in the old Twitter days) has intentionally made an effort to include content from women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ creators, which is especially great for the horror space. The show has been a hit and was picked up for a third season before they started shooting the second. Swag ‘em out.

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Michelle Obama: Life After the White House (Now Available to Rent/Buy on Amazon Prime Video)

Michelle Obama: Life After the White House (Now Available to Rent/Buy on Amazon Prime Video)


First Impressions: As the successful run of her bestselling book Becoming can attest, many folks are curious to see how Michelle Obama’s life is going after leaving her post as First Lady. Netflix scored an official documentary special with Mrs. Obama in connection with her memoir. This doc brings another take for the forever-FLOTUS fans and I’m sure there’ll be many more to come.

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Malcolm & Marie (Netflix; Release Date: Feb. 5)

Malcolm & Marie (Netflix; Release Date: Feb. 5)



First Impressions: Ummmmmm wow this is gonna be intense. That’s all I got for now because I’m still mouth agape

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American Gangster: Trap Queens (BET+; Release Date: Jan 14)

American Gangster: Trap Queens (BET+; Release Date: Jan 14)


First Impressions: It’s ladies night! Multiple nights, in fact! The titular “queens” of the second season’s first five episodes will be Perrion Roberts, Brandi Davis, Dwen Curry, Tiffany Rose Peak and Shauntay Henderson. Narrated by Lil’ Kim, this series tells the tales of this country’s most notorious female criminals.

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Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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