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Enjoy These Blassics for Christmas

Much like Thanksgiving, this year Christmas is hitting a little different. Dad, Grandpas, and Uncles screaming at the same football game over Zoom. Mama, Grandmas, and Aunties are fixing dinners just for their families as everyone is social distancing. All the kids are Facetiming each other to the latest TikTok dances and doing Insta Videos on the Gram.

This doesn’t mean people are tossing aside the holiday festivities (Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa). Having a small circle of (COVID-free) friends or immediate family over is still a slim possibility with social distancing and Zoom.

This year, you can tap into the Black experience by enjoying times where family and friends could gather before social distancing. So, here are some Christmas Blassics for you to enjoy this holiday season.

This Christmas

This recent Christmas Blassic is based on the classic Donny Hathaway song of the same name. The film centers on the Whitfield family as the eldest son (played by Idris Elba) comes home for the first time in four years. But he’s return is only the tip of the iceberg as the family has to overcome secrets as Christmas approaches. Along with Elba, the film stars acting legends Loretta Devine, Delroy Lindo and Regina King as well as Lauren London, Chris Brown, Sharon Leal, Columbus Short and Laz Alonso.

Almost Christmas

Just like This Christmas, this modern Christmas Blassic centers on a dysfunctional family coming together during the Christmas season. The film follows the Meyers family as they come together for the first time since losing their matriarch. As Christmas approaches, secrets are revealed and hijinks ensue just in time for the holidays. The film stars Kimberly Elise, Mo’Nique, Nicole Ari Parker, Gabrielle Union, Keri Hilson, Jessie Usher, Danny Glover, Omar Epps, John Michael Higgins, D. C. Young Fly, and Romany Malco.

The Best Man Holiday

The Christmas Blassic reunites the cast of another Blassic The Best Man over a decade later. The film sees the gang back together again as Mia Sullivan (played by Monica Calhoun) sends the letters asking them to spend Christmas with her and her husband Lance. New and old issues come up between the friends as a tragic secret looms over the gathering. Along with Calhoun, the film stars Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, and Melissa De Sousa

Black Nativity

This modern Christmas Blassic is based on a stage musical retelling of the Nativity by celebrated Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes. The film follows a teenaged boy (played by Jacob Latimore) as he is reunited with his estranged pastor grandparents. Through a series of musical numbers and Christmas festivities, the two generations comes together in the holiday spirit. Along with Latimore, the film stars acting legends Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Vondie Curtis-Hall as well as Tyrese Gibson, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, and Nas.

The Preacher’s Wife

This 1996 Christmas Blassic is remake of the 1947 film The Bishop’s Wife. The film follows an angel Dudley (played by Oscar winner Denzel Washington) as he tries to help a struggling pastor save his church as well as his family. Conflict ensues as Dudley begins getting closer to and falling for the pastor’s wife (played by the late Whitney Houston). Along with Washington and Houston, the film stars Courtney B. Vance, Loretta Devine, Gregory Hines, and Jenifer Lewis.

The Kid Who Loved Christmas

This 1990 TV film follows an adoptive father and son who fight to stay together during the Christmas season. The small family is torn apart after the tragic death of the adoptive mother. The entire family gathers to support them as the father fights Social Services to keep the little boy. The film stars Cicely Tyson, Michael Warren, Sammy Davis Jr. Sideman, Gilbert Lewis, Charles Q. Murphy, Ken Page, Ray Parker Jr., Della Reese, Esther Rolle, Ben Vereen. and Vanessa Williams.

While eating your dinner this holiday season, why not watch and reminisce over these amazing films.

Black Media and Creatives to Get Into This Thanksgiving

With so many looking for entertainment centered on the Black experience, here are some content to watch by yourself or with the fam over the Thanksgiving weekend.

For those who love big-screen visuals and great storytelling that touch on the Black experience, here’s a list of films to watch:

Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy (starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx) – inspired by Bryan Stevenson’s memoir

Ava DuVernay’s Selma (starring David Oyelowo) – based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s trek from Selma to Montgomery

Raoul Peck-directed documentary I Am Not Your Negro – based on the words and thoughts of writer James Baldwin

Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters – based on the Wiley College debate team’s victory over USC

Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures – based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly

Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing – a hot Summer day in New York culminates in a tragic end fueled by racial tensions

Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (starring Denzel Washington) – based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight – based on a play by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney

Stefan Bristol’s See You Yesterday – a young girl travels back in time to save her slain brother

GeorgeTillman Jr’s The Hate You (starring Amandla Stenberg) – based on the book of the same name by Angie Thomas

Jordan Peele’s Get Out (starring Daniel Kaluuya) – a psychological examination of racism in the U.S.

Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse  an animated action adventure following the exploits of beloved Afro-Latino high schooler Miles Morales

Matthew A. Cherry-directed Hair Love – an animated short showcasing a father-daughter relationship dealing with Black hair

Reginald Hudlin-produced BeBe’s Kids (starring the late Robert Harris) – an animated family comedy highlighting a date turned family outing

For those looking for great visual and realistic storytelling on a weekly basis, here’s a list of television series to watch:

Ava DuVernay-produced miniseries When They See Us – based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case

The landmark miniseries Roots (1977 and 2016 versions) – the original is a classic while the new version taps into today’s issues

Cheo Hodari Coker-based Netflix series Luke Cage – based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name

Salim Akil-developed CW series Black Lightning – based on the DC Comics series of the same name

Milestone Media-created Warner Bros. animated series Static Shock – based on the Milestone Media/DC Comics series Static

April Blair-created CW series All American – inspired by the life of former professional football player Spencer Paysinger

Issa Rae-created HBO series Insecure – a comedic yet realistic portrayal of the Black female experience in the U.S.

Donald Glover-created FX series Atlanta – inspired by the career and life of multi-tainer Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino)

ABC sitcom Black-ish – an exploration of the middle-class Black family experience in suburban America 

Cartoon Network animated series Craig of the Creek – an animated series centered on a young Black boy’s imaginative exploits and his family

Aaron MacGruder’s The Boondocks – an adult animated series focused on skewering the low brow-end of Black culture

HBO animated anthology Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales For Every Child – an animated series centered on retelling and reinventing classic fairytales with a Black or Latin spin

Disney animated family sitcom The Proud Family – an animated series about a young Black girl Penny Proud, friends, and family

Don Cornelius-centered biopic drama American Soul – a serialized telling of the rise of the Soul Train impresario through the decades

Justin Siemen-produced Netflix series Dear White People – a serialized version of the creator’s 2014 film centered on Black students at a PWI

Lena Waithe and Halle Berry-produced BET series Boomerang – a Millennial comedic retelling of the 1992 Eddie Murphy-led film

Michael B. Jordan-produced Netflix series Raising Dion – an action-adventure about a young Black boy discovering his powers

Misha Green-developed HBO series Lovecraft Country – a dramatic sci-fi retelling centered on Black travelers during Jim Crow-era America

Michaela Coel-created HBO series I May Destory You – a comedic take on a young Black writer dealing with the after effects of a night out

Robin Thede-headlined HBO series A Black Lady Sketch Show – a comedic sketch series centered on the Black female experience with an all-star cast

Netflix sketch series Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show – a sketch comedy series based on the exploits of the all-Black comedy troupe Astronomy Club

Hulu series Woke – a live-action-animated comedy centered on the different mishaps and everyday struggle of a rising Black cartoonists

Tracy Oliver-produced BET+ series The First Wives Club – a comedy reimagining of the 1996 film centered on Black female friends

Hopefully, this content by Black creators will not only entertain you but inform and provoke you to seek out other creators to champion and support.

Inspiration in the Life of John Singleton

As a screenwriter and creator, I’ve studied the greats by emulating them while trying to put my own spin on narrative storytelling. There has never been a drought for finding inspiration in film and television. There have been a myriad of writers, producers, and filmmakers who’ve influenced me in some shape or form. But a pivotal figure in my life since childhood has been the recently deceased John Singleton. I’ve watched everything from Boyz in the Hood to Poetic Justice to Baby Boy (certified hood classics). So I felt compelled to attend a celebration of Singleton’s life at SCADShow.

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