Black History Month is almost over, and I spent the month watching a lot of shows and movies showcasing some really amazing Black talent. Here’s an article on POPSUGAR with some more amazing recommendations. I tried to focus on movies that weren’t about Black trauma, because as the author of the POPSUGAR article (Jordan Lewis) says “Black people deserve happy-go-lucky romances, cultural explorations, and cheesy coming-of-age movies, too!”
My comments below will be full of spoilers!
TV Shows & Limited Series
Self-Made: Inspired by the life of Madam CJ Walker (Netflix)
Self-Made is a semi-fictional biography of the first self-made millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker. I read that there was a little critiques with the show, but honestly, I really liked it and was captivated by the drama and the intrigue. There was some modern music weaved in, and I didn’t know if I was going to like it, but I think it worked really well. Octavia Spencer was amazing as the lead; I quite liked Kevin Carroll as well, and as a result, I think my favorite character was Ransom. He seemed like he genuinely believed in Sarah and was out for her best interests only.
Your Attention Please (Hulu)
This series showcases different Black creators and the stories of how they’ve gotten to where they are now. I was really captivated by all the stories, and really how different all of the stories were, not just the content, but the directing of each segment as well. It was all so inspiring, not just by the way they overcame their obstacles; but, for example, I definitely had my own little dance party after the M.A.I. segment, I added some Coco and Breezy glasses to my wishlist (they have one called Carmen!), and maybe I’ll get my wedding bands from L’Enchanteur? We’ll see!
Black Love (Hulu)
This show highlights all aspects of Black married life, but also just marriage and love in general. I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of this because this show can be so heavy, so be warned, it has definitely made me tear up. It kind of focuses on a core group of interviewees, but there are some couples that sneak in every once in a while. It’s a lot of insight to gain from a show, so I’m trying to ease it in slowly. I think it’s beautiful how some couples fought and continue to fight through struggle, whether big or small. It’s just a wonderful, heartwarming series.
Love & Basketball (Hulu)
This movie was so good, I totally understand why it’s a classic. I mean, there’s some definite cheesiness in there (the end scene with the one-on-one? The kinda awkward sex scene?) but they are so minor, and besides, Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan are just so good in it, you forgive it. I think what was really wonderful about the movie was how perfect the two were for each other, but they were just not ready for each other at the same time. I want to believe they always loved each other, and couldn’t reach each other at the beginning.
What Men Want (Hulu)
I love romantic comedies! I was so excited to see a remake of this, since I remember really liking the original, but don’t want to rewatch it because of Mel Gibson. This remake is so much better (in my mind)! I think Aldis Hodge is an amazing actor and want to see him in everything, and Taraji P. Henson is so funny in this! I think she pulled it off really well. The only thing I didn’t like was how, in the end, when she went to start her own company; she should’ve dropped this company of losers at the very beginning! (I get that she can now, because of her gains, but still, those guys suck for real.)
ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (Netflix)
What an amazing voice that Sam Cooke had. This was such an interesting documentary about the life Sam had: his beginnings with the Soul Stirrers, his ambitious middle as Sam Cooke the performer, and the end of his tragic life. I honestly had no idea any of the stuff that happened in his life, so this documentary was very illuminating. I can totally believe that Sam Cooke’s murder and subsequent erasure from the general public’s memory was staged.
One Night in Miami (Amazon Prime)
This was such an absorbing, eye-opening movie; I know it says this is a fictional account of the meeting of these four legends, but I’m taking this as truth because it was so well done. I thought Kingsley Ben-Adir was so intense as Malcolm X, and I always, always love Aldis Hodge (second movie on this list with Aldis Hodge, coincidence? Maybe?). I saw this very soon after The Two Killings of Sam Cooke, and because of that, one of the main takeaways is that Sam Cooke had an amazing voice, and Leslie Odom Jr. really captured that in this movie.
Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Prime)
This movie was really good, but also really frustrating. I understand the want to protect your loved one from essentially what is your own mess, but not letting them have them option to choose is not fair to them. But I think what made Robert and Sylvie made for each other, is that they are both frustrating like that, so I guess it all worked out in the end. Also, I really hated Sylvie’s husband; he had the nerve to tell her he “never wanted her to be the woman he wanted to be, just the woman she wanted to be” but also said earlier in the movie “we agreed you could work only if it didn’t interfere with my work”? Seriously???? Good riddance, Lacy.
More Good Stuff
That is all I could squeeze into this month. But during the rest of the year, I’m usually on YouTube or listening to podcasts, I’m not usually watching TV or movies, so here are some more content from Black Creators that you should check out:
Any and all books written by Talia Hibbert but specifically the Just For Him series
These are very R-rated, but oh my goodness, the first book of hers I read, Bad for the Boss, I read the whole thing in one sitting; I started it at 10pm thinking it would be a good book to read before bed, and nope, I stayed up until 3am reading it. No regrets, because I don’t remember the next day at work, but I do remember this amazing reading experience. I haven’t purchased any of the other series yet, but I can’t wait to read them all and love them just as much.
Key and Peele
I know they’re super popular, but it must be said that Key and Peele are the best! My favorite characters of theirs are Obama’s Anger Translator, and of course, Meegan! Some of my other favorite sketches of theirs are The Valets (Liam Neesons is my favorite one, but they’re all good!), the Puppet Parole Officer, Feminist Pirate Chantey, and of course the D&D sketch.
CalebCity was a Vine star (is that the right term?) before I found him on YouTube, but all his videos just hit so well. Some of his videos are nerdier than others; some of my favorites being If your best friend was an evil character in an Anime and If NPC’s had to do a mission without any human player interactions. A lot of his videos, though, are just general truths and hilarity that everyone can understand, like If insects had to introduce themselves and How taxes do you. What’s really good and kinda dangerous is that a lot of his videos are around 3-4 minutes long, so you can go though a whole bunch in an hour.
TL Yarn Crafts
I have been crocheting like crazy this year, and one of my favorite channels that I found recently has been TL Yarn Crafts. She’s so cheerful and helpful, and I’ve just been going through a bunch of her tutorials. I want to do another Tunisian blanket, so her series on Tunisian crochet has been binged and in the background when I crochet. So many projects, so little time!
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
If you’re not familiar with The Daily Show (and I’m not really familiar with the previous iterations), it is a news comedy program, and it is now hosted by South African comedian Trevor Noah. I actually listen to the podcast version, so that’s where I linked it to, but you can The Daily Show clips on Youtube or just go the traditional route and watch it on TV (what’s TV again?). I really love the segments that they do and the team that Trevor has. Everyone is amazing and funny (especially Dulce Sloan, I love Dulce), and Trevor’s daily monologue is a must listen while I’m getting ready for work.
Need another true crime podcast? Here’s one hosted by two Black men and the stories are always from marginalized communities. I actually only just started listening to this, but I’m always ready to add another true crime podcast to my collection. The guys are really entertaining and friendly to each other, check them out!
LeVar Burton Reads
If you didn’t watch Reading Rainbow while you were growing up, you may not be familiar with LeVar Burton’s soothing, calming voice reading to you. Well, this should change that. The stories that LeVar picks are all amazing in different ways; one of the episodes has already made be cry really hard listening to it, and even upon recalling it I get choked up, another episode made me question my dislike for reading fantasy, because clearly I was just picking the wrong books to read. I’ve added so many authors to my TBR (To Be Read) list, that I’ll never run out of books (I guess that wasn’t in question, though).
I only got into this show recently, and since I like to listen to this podcast from the first episode to the most recently, so I’m about 5 years behind. The podcast brings up issues about Black politics, pop culture, history, news, and whatever else! Where I am listening from there are still two hosts, James and Nnekay, and they are so delightful together. Now, it looks like James has guest hosts on each week to discuss the goings on in the world.
Planners and Wine
Planners and Wine is a planner podcast! I will admit, I mostly got into this because of the planner drama (yes, there’s planner drama) that was happening due to the BLM resurgence last year. A lot of companies got in trouble for not being more inclusive, and, in Erin Condren’s case, just straight up ignorant. It was also fun listening to all the interviews that they had on, and just some fun planner chat! I didn’t know if a planner podcast was going to be engaging, but to someone who likes the subject, it’s pretty interesting; however it is kind of hard to follow since I don’t know all the brands, so in that case, it would’ve been better to be a Youtube Channel, but I really love the friendliness that the hosts have with each other.
Scam Goddess is an amazing true crime show focusing on scams and cons, anything from pyramid schemes to the Hollywood Con that’s been in the news lately (there is a whole separate podcast series on that, but I haven’t listen to it, so I can’t recommend it). Host Lacy Mosley has a guest on each week and she shares a con from history, as well as smaller cons that listeners share. She’s hilarious and she really loves cons. It’s a great listen if you don’t like your true crime to be bloody all the time.
And that’s it! Let me know if there’s anything else I should check out!