Holiday movies Black families should watch every year

From brand new musicals to classic holiday staples, theGrio recommends the top movies to watch when spending time with loved ones this season

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It’s the holiday season, which means plenty of time spent bonding with family while giving gifts, listening to holiday music, and of course, watching Christmas movies.

Luckily with streaming, Christmas classics are readily accessible in more ways than ever before, with films old and new ready for binging with just one click. TheGrio has a list of holiday films Black families should watch every year, from old holiday staples to new classics that will bring the family together.

Jingle Jangle

It just came out in 2020, but Jingle Jangle has quickly cemented itself as a must-watch holiday film. The original new musical broke new ground for the medium, giving audiences a Christmas musical with a Black family at the center of the story. With catchy and heartwarming songs that will have you dancing and singing along, the film comes from the mind of David E. Talbert, who took twenty years to make the movie.

It helps that it boasts a stacked cast, including Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad, and Broadway veteran Anika Noni Rose. Madalen Mills, who stars in the lead role of Journey, earned an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture. Jingle Jangle is available to stream now on Netflix.

Last Holiday

Last Holiday didn’t make a huge splash at the box office when it premiered in 2006, but through syndication and home video, the Queen Latifah film is now a Christmas staple. If you’re unfamiliar (seriously though, why haven’t you watched this yet?) the movie is based on the British film of the same name and follows Georgia (Latifah) who, upon learning that she has a terminal illness, decides to spend her remaining time on a luxury trip to Europe.

With LL Cool J, Giancarlo Esposito and more rounding out the supporting cast, the film is a perfect feel- good movie, helping to remind us to enjoy life while we can and to take in every moment. Last Holiday is available to stream now on Showtime.

This Christmas

Speaking of stacked casts, this 2007 Christmas film also was also a star-studded affair. This Christmas features Loretta Devine, Regina King, Idris Elba, Lauren London, Chris Brown, and more as the Whitfield-Moore family, who come together for a family Christmas filled with laughs, revelations, and plenty of heartwarming moments.

The movie was a hit at the box office, opening at number two behind the Disney musical, Enchanted. The title of course references the popular Christmas song, “This Christmas,” which Brown affectionately sings in the movie’s third act. This Christmas is available to rent now on Prime Video.

The Preacher’s Wife

When listing Black Christmas film classics, it’s impossible not to mention The Preacher’s Wife. The Whitney Houston-led film premiered in 1996 and has left quite the legacy. An adaptation of the 1947 film The Bishop’s Wife, the film stars Courtney B. Vance as Rev. Henry Biggs, with Houston playing the titular role as his wife Julia.

In the film, Biggs is visited by Dudley (Denzel Washington), an angel sent to help the family and assist in supporting the neighborhood church. Of course, it isn’t a Houston film without a record-breaking soundtrack (The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale soundtracks also enjoyed massive chart success.)

The soundtrack to The Preacher’s Wife is still the best-selling gospel album of all time. The lead single, a cover of the Four Tops hit, “I Believe in You and Me” reached the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time of its release. The Preacher’s Wife is available to rent on Prime Video.

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