'Small Axe' Trailer: John Boyega, Letitia Wright Tackle London Racism

New series from “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen hits Amazon on Nov. 20

After winning a Best Picture Oscar with “12 Years A Slave,” Steve McQueen is turning his attention from American racism to British racism with “Small Axe,” an Amazon anthology series starring John Boyega and Letitia Wright set to stream this November.

In the new trailer, which can be seen above, you can hear the Bob Marley song that inspires the series’ title. “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe, sharpened to cut you down,” Marley sings. “Small Axe” consists of five films inspired by true events, all focusing on West Indian residents in London who have persevered in the face of societal and institutional racism.

Boyega and Wright’s entries were featured at this year’s New York Film Festival, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wright stars in “Mangrove,” a retelling of the arrest of Black Panther leader Altheia Jones-LeCointe and eight other Black activists after they were falsely accused of inciting a riot during a peaceful protest in 1970.

Boyega stars in “Red White and Blue,” follows the career of Leroy Logan, who joined the Metropolitan Police after his father was assaulted by two police officers. Logan went on to serve for 30 years in the Met, becoming superintendent and co-founder of the Black Police Association.

Other stories in the series include “Alex Wheatle,” about the British novelist who was imprisoned after taking part in the 1981 Brixton riots and used his time in prison to develop as a writer, leading to a career that saw him receive the MBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 2008. “Lovers Rock” tells the story of a young couple that falls in love at a Blues party in 1980, while “Education” explores the segregation policies faced by Black children in Britain which, unlike Jim Crow in the U.S., were not officially law.

“Small Axe” will premiere on Nov. 20 with the release of “Mangrove,” with subsequent entries premiering on Amazon weekly. Watch the trailer in the clip above.

Chadwick Boseman's 10 Most Memorable Roles, From Jackie Robinson to Black Panther (Photos)

  • Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer on Friday at age 43, made a striking impression in both TV and on the big screen in his too-short time in the spotlight.

  • Nathaniel Ray, “Lincoln Heights” (2008-09)  

    Chadwick Boseman had popped in small TV roles in the early 2000s but he had his first major breakthrough role in this ABC Family drama as a member of the U.S. Army who belatedly learns he’s the son of the series lead (Russell Hornsby).

    ABC Family

  • Graham McNair, “Persons Unknown” (2010)  

    He followed “Lincoln Heights” with a role on a short-lived NBC drama about a group of strangers who find themselves plunked into a ghost town.

    NBC

  • Jackie Robinson, “42” (2013) 

    Boseman landed his first lead role on the big screen in Brian Helgeland’s biopic of Jackie Robinson, the first Black player to break into Major League Baseball. He starred opposite Harrison Ford, who played the Brooklyn Dodgers’ general manager.

    Warner Bros.

  • Vontae Mack, “Draft Day” (2014) 

    Boseman switched sports for his next role, as top linebacker prospect from Ohio State who’s considered a safe No. 1 pick for a Cleveland Browns GM played by Kevin Costner.

     

    Lionsgate

  • James Brown, “Get on Up” (2014) 

    Boseman left the playing field but returned to the biopic genre for this next project, Tate Taylor’s look at the rock legend James Brown.

    Universal

  • Jacob King, “Message From the King” (2016) 

    In this Netflix film, Boseman plays a South African man who arrives in Los Angeles searching for his missing younger sister — and then embarks on a vengeance quest in an unfamiliar city.

     

    Netflix

  • Black Panther (2016-19)

    After making an introduction in “Captain America: Civil War,” Boseman helped create a cultural phenomenon with the success of 2018’s standalone “Black Panther” as the prince of the fictional African nation of Wakanda who becomes a superhero beyond his isolated realm. The film grossed $1.3 billion worldwide.

    Disney

  • Thurgood Marshall, “Marshall” (2017) 

    Boseman returned to playing famous historic figures in Reginald Hudlin’s courtroom drama — which narrowed its look at Thurgood Marshall to an early case he tried as a lawyer for the NAACP, long before he ever imagined taking a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Open Road

  • Andre Davis, “21 Bridges” (2019) 

    In this thriller, Boseman plays an NYPD detective in the midst of a manhunt for two cop-killers as he discovers that his fellow officers may be up to shady business themselves.

    STX Entertainment

  • Stormin’ Norman, “Da 5 Bloods” (2020) 

    Boseman has a small role in Spike Lee’s Vietnam-set drama as the leader of all-Black squadron sent to recover the cargo from a downed CIA helicopter. Though he only appears in flashbacks, he makes a striking impression.

    Netflix

The actor died Friday at age 43 of colon cancer

Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer on Friday at age 43, made a striking impression in both TV and on the big screen in his too-short time in the spotlight.

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