With COVID-19 cases on the rise in certain cities (yeah, we see you California, Alabama, Texas and Florida), a staycation is looking more and more attractive. The good news is your favorite streaming service and cable channels are ready to dominate your screen time with some old favorites and the new, new. So don’t feel bad about that dent your booty is making in the couch.
We’ve curated a few goodies for your viewing pleasure, including Katori Hall’s P-Valley. Excuse us while we get our upper body strength for the next pole dancing class in 2021.
July 1 — The Nod (Quibi)
Highly entertaining hosts Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings explore Black life on The Nod podcast and now, there are visuals to further document their chemistry. The Howard University alums are celebrating Black genius and diving into issues, but this time they’re dissecting the many versions of Drake (from afrobeat to dancehall to emo), checking in with the creators of Black Gay & Stuck at Home film and TV series, and speculating about artists who could successfully compete with Missy Elliott’s smoke in a Verzuz matchup.
July 3 — Hamilton (Disney+)
If you missed your chance to see Hamilton on Broadway, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-Award winner about one of America’s founding fathers, fret no more. Disney+ readied the film version super early, which means don’t have to wait until October 2021 to catch the shows hip-hop, R&B and pop-inspired music. And the best part, of course, is seeing people of color play the Founding Fathers. Check out Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler; Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette; Leslie Odom as Aaron Burr; Christopher Jackson as George Washington and Miranda, of course, as Alexander Hamilton himself, and more.
July 3 — John Lewis: Good Trouble
Congressman John Lewis is a troublemaker in the best sense of the word. This documentary celebrates his heroism and “60-plus years of social activism and legislative action,” especially on immigration, voting rights and gun control issues. The film mixes rare archival footage and interviews with Lewis’ colleagues, fellow political leaders and other prominent people in his life. When you purchase the film, $5 will be used to support the NAACP (purchase the movie here). Rent Good Trouble at johnlewisgoodtrouble.com.
July 5 — Sunday Best (BET)
It’s time to get your praise on again with Sunday Best. The nation’s most inspirational singing competition returns for its 10th season with Kirk Franklin at the wheel as host and returning judges Erica Campbell, Kelly Price and Jonathan McReynolds. Expect gospel favorites Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp and season’s 9’s winner Melvin Crispell III to perform. Aside for competing for the coveted title of Sunday’s Best, the winner receives a $50,000 cash prize and an RCA Inspiration recording contract.
July 10 — The Old Guard (Netflix)
Five is the ideal number for a girl group or a boy band, but is that enough to call yourself an army? Yep, especially if you’re a crew of gun totting hard to kill—as in immortal—bad asses dedicated to protecting the world. But when this group’s powers are accidentally revealed, Andy (Charlize Theron), the leader and newbie Nile (KiKi Layne of If Beale Street Could Talk) do battle against the evil powers that be. Gina Price-Bythewood makes history as the first Black woman director to helm a live-action comic book-based feature with The Old Guard.
July 12 — P-Valley (Starz)
Yeah, we know P-Valley has been compared to J.Lo’s Hustlers and LisaRaye’s Player’s Club and show runner Katori Hall is okay with that. But the award-winning playwright is also super aware that she offers an empowering take pole dancing. The show, which began as the Pussy Valley play, centers the lives of women dancers at a Memphis strip club. Hall, a proud southern girl, deftly explores Black women’s sexuality from the Black women’s point of view. While destigmatizing strippers and stripper culture, Hall delivers nuanced characters like sexy old G Mercedes (Brandee Evans), non-binary house mother Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan) and hot newbie Autumn (Elarica Johnson).
July 31 — Black is King (Disney+)
Beyoncé got us hooked on visual albums with Lemonade and she shares another sonic and optic love letter with Black is King. Written, directed and executive produced by Bey, the film is based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift. Black follows a young king’s journey to reclaim his throne, while his father’s wisdom and the ancestors guide him as he experiences the rollercoaster emotions of love, betrayal and self-identity. Expect to finally see videos for “Brown Skin Girl” and “Mood 4 Eva.”