It’s been a long and difficult year, but finally, we’ve reached the final month of this hellish trip around the sun. December is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, so maybe there’s hope that the final holiday spirit hurrah will place some light in our lives.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching Christmas movies. You may be thinking of the adventurous tales of Buddy the Elf or Kevin McCallister. Personally, some of my favorites are the nostalgia-ridden claymation movies, but as I’ve grown, I’ve developed a different taste for holiday themed cinema.
Representation is important for people of color in America, and Black Christmas films offer something Will Ferrell films can’t. For me, these movies feel more sincere because people look like me, talk like me and my family’s dynamic parallels those seen in most of the movies listed below. Relatability can go a long way in the hearts of movie-goers.
Without further ado, here are my top five Christmas movies with a mostly melanated cast.
5. “A Madea Christmas”
To start my list, we have a light-hearted comedy with the infamous Madea. As a kid, Madea movies were always funny to me, and this is no exception. “A Madea Christmas” highlights heavy family issues, but overall, this movie is a good way to start your immersion into Black Christmas movies. With commentary on interracial relationships and regular dose of Madea madness, it’ll surely entertain you.
4. “Friday After Next”
Succeeding similarly titled movies “Friday” and “Next Friday,” Ice Cube delivers another hit with this chaos-filled comedy. “Friday After Next” is the funniest movie on the list and is a great watch for a laid back evening. Being less of a family movie, it’s probably best not to watch this with children because not every character is on the nice list. Starring Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Kat Williams and Terry Crews, this movie brings a different kind of holiday cheer, but it’s one of my favorite holiday films.
3. “The Best Man Holiday”
This movie secured its spot when Morris Chestnut crumpled into tears. With co-stars Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Regina Hall, and more, “The Best Man Holiday” is easily the saddest, and most dramatic, movie on this list. This film shows how easily relationships can deteriorate when you don’t accept your past and how holding a grudge can ruin the present. It’s mature humor perfectly balances the drama, and the heartfelt moments set up a great heartbreak, making it one of the best Black Christmas movies ever.
2. “Almost Christmas”
I love watching this movie every year. “Almost Christmas” follows a family grieving over the loss of its matriarch while figuring out how to coexist under the same roof. The dynamic between each character teeters the line of friendly and hostile but never fails to make me laugh. This movie is a great reminder that families aren’t perfect but worth appreciating when all hell breaks loose. With stars like Gabrielle Union, Mo’Nique, Danny Glover and many more, the movie delivers great performances and a pleasant story.
1. “This Christmas”
Okay, I won’t lie to you. This pick is biased, but so is this whole list. I watch this every year with my family, and it continuously entertains me. I enjoy this movie thoroughly because it tackles so many issues that plague American families. This movie wraps sibling turmoil, restrictive parenting, broken relationships and interracial relationships all into one genuine story. Despite having so many characters with unique struggles, “This Christmas” finds a way to weave them together and avoid a choppy storyline. Boasting a cast with Idris Elba, Regina King, Loretta Devine and Lauren London, this iconic movie is a must-watch during Christmas time.
I highly recommend sitting down with family and watching these films. Even if you choose not to, I wish everybody happy holidays, and I hope you can celebrate them with loved ones.