COVID-19Film / TV
feed your soul during lockdown with these must-watches
By Erin White
March 18, 2020
Quarantine Week One in the United States is, mostly, in full-effect and we know y’all are getting antsy just like we are. But fear not! Here are a few of our favorite Netflix streams to keep you occupied, at least for a few more days.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
So, this isn’t a “Black show” and, frankly, I didn’t even want to watch it when my friends tricked me into it. But, two of the very few stand-out characters from this Archie comic adaptation are Black, naturally. Ambrose Spellman and Prudence Night, played by Chance Perdomo and Tati Gabrielle, respectively, are two of the realest, most stylish and smartest witches in Greendale — we have no choice but to stan. CAofS isn’t an amazing show, but the spooky ambiance and occultism are pretty sweet and, at least, make for some gnarly background noise.
Prince doesn’t need an introduction.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Heartbreak City, this one. But an essential watch for lovers of music history and Miss Simone herself. Directed by Liz Garbus, What Happened, Miss Simone? is a gut-wrenching revelation of a life marred by trauma and undiagnosed mental illness and the misunderstood genius at the center of it all.
Paris Is Burning
Shot in the mid-1980s, this seminal documentary chronicled the Black, latinx, gay and transgender community of New York City ball culture. Directed by Jennie Livingston, the film captured the epicenter of drag balls in the city while exploring the many intersections of gender, class, sexuality, and race in America and within the queer community. Released in 1990, Paris Is Burning has been the recipient of numerous awards and, in 2016, it was added to the National Film Registry.
Oldie but goodie! Michaela Coel’s legendary, BAFTA-winning E4 comedy series is still unrelentingly cringe-y and shamefully relatable several years after its release.
Whether this is your first viewing or fifty-leventh, the original Candyman (1992) is as haunting as ever. Chilling in its brutality, at times, and atmospherically spooky at others, Tony Todd’s booming voice and supernatural apparitions linger in the mind long after he has left the screen. Sure, it’s a little bit dated and over the top, but that’s totally part of the fun. Be sure to check this one out before Nia DaCosta’s 2020 reboot is released this summer.
After giving birth to her twins, Beyoncé made her historic return as the first Black woman to headline Coachella. Inspired by Black America’s HBCU culture, the Queen transformed her discography into a 2+ hour tribute to the HBCU Homecoming season and the spectacular talent of the Black men and women whose talent shines so brightly during those weekends. Directed by Beyoncé herself, Homecoming is a gift for Black Americans to cherish.
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
Released last summer, Stanley Nelson Jr.’s feature-length documentary explores the life, times, and contributions made by jazz music legend, Miles Davis, as told through the musician’s personal archival photos and home movies. Featuring interviews with Carlos Santana, Clive Davis, Quincy Jones, Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller, Ron Carter, and Davis’ family members and friends, Nelson dives deeply into the world of this cherished musical figure in this remarkable documentary.
Only one season deep, Netflix’s Los Angeles-based series follows three Mexican-American cousins as they chase the elusive “American Dream” in the neighborhood their families have lived in for decades. Faced with the harsh realities of being part of the diaspora, this show uses humor to explore larger themes of what it means to be part of several cultures at once, including one that will never fully accept you. All while poking fun at gentrification.
Barry Jenkins’ 2016 masterpiece deserves a spot on any and every list where it is applicable. Also, the Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards the following year, Moonlight is the breathtaking story of a young man as he grows up in South Florida amongst drug addiction and struggles with his sexual identity. Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, after watching this coming-of-age drama, it will become a piece of you for life.
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