Last month while out sick, I got into the holiday spirit by watching a bunch of cheesy Christmas movies. You know, the kind usually found on Hallmark or Lifetime. Usually, these movies are all white casts in rural towns that often have no Black people in sight.
But I stumbled across several movies with Black leads, many starring some of our favorite actresses from 80s and 90s sitcoms. Now all grown up, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Tamara Mowry-Housley, and Tatyana Ali have several movies that are full of love and holiday joy. Jingle Belle was a nice surprise as it stars Ali and Pulliam plus Tempest Bledsoe, Vanessa from The Cosby Show. Cornelius Smith Jr., Valarie Pettiford and Obba Babatunde round out the cast.
Heartwarming Black holiday movies are food for the soul
We never really celebrated Christmas when I was a child, except for visiting my grandmother’s house. And that feeling of love and joy has stuck with me. Watching these movies gives me that warm feeling. It’s also a nice distraction from some of the stress in the world right now. So coming across movies with Black leads that are positive and feel good was an extra bonus for me.
Kelly Rowland has a Black Christmas family trilogy beginning with Merry Liddle Christmas. Rowland stars as the oldest daughter of the Liddle family, a Black family who loves their Christmas. While it follows the usual Lifetime holiday movie formula, these movies were reminiscent of the Chandler family movies beginning with Marry Me for Christmas starring Melinda Williams and Karon Blair.
Along with Pulliam’s Radio Christmas, there are several movies featuring Black journalists trying to find their way during the holidays. As a journalist, these have been a special favorite. The Christmas Edition features a Black editor who moves to Alaska to revitalize a small-town paper. Her grit and tenacity reminded me of Crystal Good, founder of the West Virginia-based outlet Black By God.
And if you want a little Black international holiday flair, check out Boxing Day on Amazon Prime.
BET Plus, OWN and FOX SOUL boast holiday programming
Lifetime and Hallmark aren’t the only ones with movies on deck. Fox SOUL has an entire holiday rotation through New Year’s Day. Holiday offerings include Reindeer Games and A Christmas Proposal.
A mix of original features and old favorites, BET Plus also has an amazing lineup of Black holiday movies. Not to be outdone, OWN has a host of holiday movies as well, with some streaming in full on YouTube.
Here are 20 of my favorite Christmas movies with Black leads. Tell us what movies made your list!