Entertainment | December 10th, 2023

Black Holiday Entertainment: The Old vs. The New

By: Tori Ayala
Black Holiday Entertainment: The Old vs. The New

It’s officially Christmas time and you know what that means: hot cocoa and classic Black holiday films that make tis’ the season so special. 

It’s so important that we show everything that makes up a special Black Family Christmas, from the classics to more recent films. 

Classic black holiday films that are a must-see include, This Christmas, directed by Preston A.Whitemore; Friday After Next, directed by Marcus Raboy, The Best Man Holiday, led by Malcolm D.Lee; Last Holiday, directed by Wayne Wang; and The Perfect Holiday, directed by Lance Rivera. 

Christmas Originals

These films will not only make you excited about the holidays but also cozy up in your heart this holiday season.

This Christmas: A drama around Christmastime that revolves around the Whitfield family’s first celebration of the holiday in four years. There are tears, laughter, secrets, and everything in between when two different personalities collide. This Christmas is a touching dramedy worth seeing again during the holidays, even with its almost universally relatable family drama.

The Perfect Holiday: The holidays make Nancy (Gabrielle Union), a divorced mother of three, feel particularly alone. Nancy’s youngest daughter, Emily (Khail Bryant), senses her mother’s sadness and devises a plan to cheer her up again. She asks Santa Claus from the department store, Benjamin (Morris Chestnut), to compliment Nancy. Benjamin, a struggling songwriter himself, also knows just what to say.

Friday After Next: Returns Day-Day (Mike Epps) and Craig (Ice Cube) to the old neighborhood where it all started. A ghetto Santa Claus breaks into their dilapidated apartment during the Christmas season and takes all of their gifts, along with anything else he can fit into his sack, like the rent money concealed in their stereo speakers. Taking jobs as security guards at a nearby mall gives them their only chance to avoid being evicted before Christmas, and they get some hilarious lessons about the season’s real meaning.

The Best Man Holiday: College friends Lance (Morris Chestnut), Harper (Taye Diggs), Candace (Regina Hall), Quentin (Terrence Howard), Robyn (Sanaa Lathan), Jordan (Nia Long), Murch (Harold Perrineau), and Mia (Monica Calhoun) finally get back together over the Christmas season, nearly 15 years after their last group photo. The friends learn how easily long-forgotten rivalries and passionate romances can resurface, even though a lot has changed in their lives.

Last Holiday: Introverted saleswoman Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) finds herself compelled to consider her excessively cautious life after learning she has a fatal illness. Georgia then takes her life savings out and takes a quick jet flight to Europe, where she lives a life of luxury. Georgia enchants everyone she meets with her positive energy and passion, even the famous Chef Didier (Gérard Depardieu). Her longtime crush, Sean Matthews (LL Cool J), is the only person missing from her new life.

Holiday Healing

A trip to the land of holiday films has many advantages. Christmas movies can improve mood and reduce depressive symptoms by offering a break from everyday stressors and encouraging a broader view. They are heart-healthy because they lower stress hormones like cortisol, which can harm the heart-friendly immune and cardiovascular systems. 

Joy, gratitude, and hope are examples of positive emotions that can generate reflection on a personal and societal level and motivate new endeavors. Watching a Christmas movie together promotes intimacy and may even strengthen bonds.

These timeless movies always bring back memories of your initial viewing location. Or the people you were with. 

Growing up in America, I noticed that holiday movies centered around a typical middle-class white family were always available. This started in the early days of black-and-white television. Still, there was never enough representation of what an African-American Christmas looked like, nor of the beautiful customs and little touches that made the holidays particularly meaningful to us.

New Christmas

With time, plenty of films have been produced depicting how the average family observes this unique occasion. In a typical Black household, the three words that immediately spring to mind when contemplating the holiday season are love, family, and joy.

Even though there is no ideal family or holiday, the custom of watching black films together as a family gives a sense of unity. 

While nothing can match the nostalgia of vintage holiday movies, streaming services like Hallmark, Tubi, BET, Peacock, Netflix, and Hulu consistently produce new Black Holiday movies. Some of these services even have their own genre lists to choose from.

These more recent Christmas movies share ideas with their predecessors, but they also have newer elements and reflect the challenges and experiences of modern society and culture.

Merry Liddle Christmas: A wealthy businesswoman’s disorganized family spends the holidays in her brand-new, ideal home.

A sisterly Christmas: Kristina and Vicky’s aunt take them on a trip to a five-star resort for Christmas in an attempt to strengthen their relationship. As the sisters compete in the resort’s charity Christmas competition, mayhem breaks out as they grudgingly accept her gift.

My favorite Christmas Melody: Abby, who was once a gifted singer-songwriter, is now stuck creating dull jingles for advertisements. Abby quickly finds her voice again as she returns home for the holidays and is recruited by a local music teacher to assist in preserving an arts program at the school.

Kirk Franklin’s A Gospel Christmas: A month before Christmas, Olivia, a young assistant pastor, adjusts to her new role as lead pastor at a new church and finds a little romance along the way.

Our Christmas Journey: Christmastime brings a turning point for the single mother and her teenage son, who need to learn to let go so he can grow while she experiences unexpected healing of her heart.