Peacock’s just announced a slate of original films that includes a documentary on Harry Belafonte’s stint hosting The Tonight Show and a movie focusing on the murder of Anthony Walker in 2005. Peacock will also be the exclusive streaming home of Emilio Estevez’s The Public and the rowing documentary A Most Beautiful Thing.
The documentary The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show will premiere on September 10, 2020. Directed by Yoruba Richen and executive produced by Joy Reid, The Sit-In features previously unseen footage of the week Harry Belafonte hosted The Tonight Show for Johnny Carson.
“When I started this film, I thought that I was telling the story of Harry Belafonte’s historic achievement as the first African American to host a full week of late-night television,” stated director Yoruba Richen. “I soon discovered the film was not only about this week during a politically volatile time in U.S history but also a journey through Harry’s incredible career, political activism and enduring influence. I discovered how relevant it is to today when we are in a time of political crisis, much like 1968, the year Harry hosted the show.”
Director Terry McDonough’s Anthony is set to premiere on September 4th. Written by BAFTA winner Jimmy McGovern, Anthony explores the life murdered 18-year-old Black student Anthony Walker may have led if his life hadn’t been cut short in 2005. The cast is led by Toheeb Jimon in the title role. Rakie Ayola, Julia Brown, and Bobby Schofield also star.
“Both Donna [Molloy] and I were privileged to have produced Anthony. It follows a rich vein of factual drama we have been delivering for almost a decade now,” said executive producer Colin McKeown. “It means a lot to me personally as I am from the same village as the Walker family, and it is typical of Gee Walker, Anthony’s mother, to draw positive conclusions from tragic events.”
Two-time Super Bowl champion Malcolm Jenkins executive produces Black Boys arriving on Peacock on September 10th. Sonia Lowman directed the documentary which, according to Peacock, “celebrates the full humanity of Black men and boys in America. Utilizing conversations and stories around education, criminal justice and sports, the film reveals the emotional landscape of those experiencing racism and invites us to reimagine an America in which Black boys experience true belonging and unlimited possibilities.”
“Our intention with this film and future films like it is to give visuals to the reality that the humanity of Black people lives on a wide spectrum,” stated executive producer Malcolm Jenkins. “This project is focused on the humanity of Black boys. No segment group is monolithic. What we are displaying in this film is how Black boys’ bodies have been commodified, our minds completely disregarded, and our feelings, creativity, and love painted over by society. Operating in a society that fears them, Black men and Black boys face a unique kind of trauma. We need white people, and everyone for that matter, to see that the identity of the Black boy is under attack as early as preschool to adulthood. We all have a responsibility to help map the future of our children, and how our children preserve the world around them. Next up is Black Girls!”
Activist/rapper Vic Mensa, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony, two-time Super Bowl champion Greg Scruggs, NFL Hall of Fame inductee Cris Carter, Super Bowl champion Chris Long, award-winning sports journalist Jemele Hill, poet/activist Malcolm London, and former U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. John King Jr. are featured in interviews.
A Most Beautiful Thing is a documentary about the very first African American high school rowing team. Premiering on September 4th, A Most Beautiful Thing is described as taking “a deep dive into the rowing team’s backstory, examining the issues of inter-generational trauma and violence. After twenty years out of the boat, the death of a former coach brings the team back together to race once more for their sons and their community. In an extraordinary turn of events, team captain Arshay Cooper invites members of the Chicago Police Department to join their reunion team. What happened next was unexpected for all involved.”
The documentary is based on Arshay Cooper’s memoir and was directed by filmmaker and Olympic rower Mary Mazzio. Oscar and Grammy Award winner Common narrates and Grant Hill, Dwyane Wade, and 9th Wonder executive produce.
“Every day, Americans of color face a long list of challenges and oppression, a list too long and too painful to recite here,” said executive producer Grant Hill. “With the recent events that have transpired, it is even more meaningful to be a part of a project which shows young black men in a positive, human, and hopeful way. The protagonist of the film, Arshay Cooper, and his extension of an olive branch to members of the Chicago Police Department, moved me in deep and profound ways. He is a leader of his generation and his name will be one that soon everyone will know.”
Writer, executive producer, and director Emilio Estevez’s The Public will debut on Peacock on September 15th. The ensemble includes Alec Baldwin, Emilio Estevez, Jena Malone, and Taylor Schilling. Christian Slater, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Gabrielle Union, Jacob Vargas, Michael K. Williams, and Jeffrey Wright also star.
Per Peacock: “In The Public, an act of civil disobedience turns into a standoff with police when homeless people in Cincinnati take over the public library to seek shelter from the bitter cold.”