From ‘The Wiz’ to ‘Jingle Jangle,’ 9 Holiday Classics With Black Leads To Stream

Curling up on a chilly morning with holiday movie classics are a tradition many families enjoy. These seasonal movies feature Black leads and mostly Black casts. (Getty Images)

By Emiene Wright

December 17, 2021

There’s no shortage of Christmas movie options, but if your taste runs more toward Life than It’s A Wonderful Life, here are 9 classics and how to find them this year.

With Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to break out your fuzziest finery, heat up the hot cocoa and settle down for a holiday movie binge. 

There’s no shortage of options, from Hallmark winter romances to quirky comedies like A Christmas Story. But if your taste runs more toward Life than It’s A Wonderful Life, here are some classic Black Christmas movies and where to find them on streaming channels this year.

The Wiz (Peacock, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu) – In this 1978 classic remake of The Wizard of Oz, spinster teacher Dorothy (Diana Ross) must find her way home to Harlem from a Manhattan-ized Oz ruled by wicked witches and an opulent dictator (Richard Pryor). 

Thanks to producer Barry Gordy and Motown, she’s accompanied by iconic music and a stellar cast, including a philosophical Scarecrow with the moves (Michael Jackson), Tin Man crooner Nipsey Russel and a host of famous singers, dancers and actors.   

“The Wiz” is a classic. Brilliant from to bottom.

Trading Places (Prime) – Rich, elderly brothers pit a homeless hustler (Eddie Murphy) against a stock broker bro (Dan Aykroyd) in a merciless bet of “nature vs. nurture.” 

The Preacher’s Wife (Prime, Roku, Vudu) – This 1996 remake stars Whitney Houston, and the soundtrack doesn’t waste her angelic voice. Starring Courtney B. Vance, it’s the story of a disillusioned pastor who gets a heavenly visitor.

Holiday Heart (Tubi, Pluto, AppleTV) – Ving Rhames broke typecast in this 2000 portrayal of a drag queen struck by tragedy who creates a chosen family with a drug addict (Alfre Woodard) and her daughter.  

Friday After Next (HBOMax, Peacock, Prime) – Craig (Ice Cube) and Day-Day (Mike Epps) follow up the stoner classic with this 2002 Christmas tale of security guards chasing the thief who stole their gifts. 

This Christmas (Prime, Vudu, Roku) – Their first family reunion in years has the Whitfield family in a tizzy as secrets about one son’s military status, another’s debts and a third’s plans for the future are revealed. Starring Loretta Devine, Regina King, Lauren London, Idris Elba, Chris Brown – who reprised the Donny Hathaway hit – and the impeccable Delroy Lindo, this 2007 film serves up warm feels and some action thrills.

Black Nativity (Tubi, Spectrum, Freeform, Prime, Roku) – This 2013 musical is based on Langston Hughes’ gospel work. It gets plenty of starpower from leads Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker, as their characters usher a street-smart teen along the path of faith.  

The Best Man Holiday (Peacock, Spectrum, TNT) – 15 years after  watershed The Best Man solidified Terrence Howard, Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall as Black box office gold, the gang reunites and discovers how easy it is for college rivalries and romances to be rekindled.

Jingle Jangle (Netflix) – Eccentric toymaker Jerronicus Jangle (Forest Whittaker) is betrayed by his evil apprentice Gustafson (Keegan Key of Key and Peele fame), who steals his blueprints and his joy. Near-destitute, Jangle shuts out the world. His only chance at redemption, a granddaughter he’s never met, shows up to remind him what the season and his calling is all about.


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