Aside from indulging in the mouth-watering food, Thanksgiving is also about spending time with family and enjoying that quality time that often gets pushed aside during the daily grind. Playing family games, reminiscing about old times and listening to music are all great ways to bond with the family, but watching movies may be the best way of all.
Black cinema has so many movies that not only make you laugh, cry and everything in between, but they also encourage the family to sit around and enjoy each other through films that were either a part of your life growing up or new classics that have earned their place on your family favorites list despite not being around as long.
This Thanksgiving, we here at HB have you covered with a list of family films that are guaranteed to make you laugh, sing, dance, cry and reflect on just how important family is. If your favorite isn’t on the list, let us know what it is in the comments! Happy Thanksgiving Beauties!
Soul Food – If there was ever a movie that is perfect to watch with your family during Thanksgiving, this is it. Not only does Soul Food have an ideal title for Thanksgiving family viewing, but it is also a very realistic and warm portrayal of a black family. Centered on three sisters, their mother and their commitment to keeping the family tradition of Sunday dinner alive despite all of the drama going on in their lives, Soul Food is so beloved that it also spawned a hit television spinoff.
The Color Purple – There’s not much that needs to be said about The Color Purple. It is one of the best, most memorable, most quotable films of all-time—and undoubtedly a quintessential film in the black community. You’d be very hard-pressed to find anyone with melanin who hasn’t seen it, meaning that watching it with your family will inspire practically everyone quoting the film’s best lines. The film made stars out of Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg and spawned an award-winning Broadway adaptation.
This Christmas – Though only 10 years old, This Christmas definitely deserves a place on the list of classic black family films. Based on the Whitfield family who reunites for Christmas as they anticipate the arrival of the family’s oldest son, This Christmas has everything you need to keep your family entertained for a few hours, by supplying a generous amount of drama, laughter and some of the best holiday music around.
The Best Man Holiday – Fans waited 14 long years for the sequel to the hit 1999 film The Best Man, and they finally got their wish when The Best Man Holiday hit theaters in 2013. The gang is all back together for this funny yet heartbreaking follow-up that is set around the holidays where tensions flare and old drama resurfaces. Just as the film is about old friends getting back together, watching it with your family this Thanksgiving feels the same –like a beautiful family reunion of some of your favorite Hollywood stars.
The Wiz – You can never go wrong with putting on a musical movie for the whole family to watch and few are as timeless and heartwarming as 1978’s The Wiz. You have Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and company singing and dancing their way into your hearts for hours, as they embark on the retelling of The Wizard of Oz. Watching this movie is also a good way to work off that holiday meal, as you won’t be able to stop yourself from dancing around the living room to the classic musical numbers.
The Preacher’s Wife – Featuring Denzel Washington in a rare comedic role, The Preacher’s Wife also has Whitney Houston at her best and singing the songs from the chart-topping and award-winning soundtrack that are perfect for the holiday season. When an angel named Dudley appears (Washington) to help a couple, preacher Courtney B. Vance and his wife (Houston), appreciate what they have and help their church, things get a little complicated when everyone seems to fall for Dudley’s charms…especially “The Preacher’s Wife.”
Crooklyn – This coming-of-age film about the black childhood experience is one of the best Spike Lee Joints. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in the 70s like the kids in the film or if you’re younger, the themes and situations translate to all ages, making this a classic the whole family can appreciate. Based on his childhood, Spike Lee vividly captures a portrait of the black experience…and it’s beautiful.
Black Nativity – Based on the classic play by Langston Hughes, Black Nativity features some of the biggest names in film and music to tell the story of a teen who is sent by his single mother to visit the grandparents he’s never known, while embarking on an unexpected spiritual journey. Featuring Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Nas, this film is an entertaining combination of music, reflection and redemption.
Holiday Heart – Holiday Heart is movie that serves as the perfect example to prove that not all family are related by blood. When a gay man and drag performer (Holiday) takes in a recovering crack addict and her daughter from living on the streets, they become a makeshift family. The drama occurs by the outside interference and opinions of others and temptations of the past. There will be tears as you’re watching, but there are just as many laughs and you’ll appreciate your family more than ever after watching.
The Temptations – You know it, you love it, it’s on TV a million times a day and it’s one of the best biopics ever. Yes, The Temptations is a classic black film that never gets old and it’s a must-watch at any family gathering. While your parents and grandparents will remember the songs and sing along, the younger generation will love it because of the endless memes and social media love it receives—it’s a win for everyone. Besides, everyone is just waiting to say “Ain’t nobody comin’ to see you, Otis,” in unison anyway.