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NETFLIX + CHILL: 2015 Thanksgiving Watchlist

Welcome to my favorite holiday! I hope you’re having an amazing day so far.

Yesterday I told My Person (best friend) I was curating a NETFLIX + CHILL list for the all those in the Thanksgiving (or any large Black family gathering where you’re waiting on food, and kids and adults are inherently separate) Watch Room and she was confused. I know mine is not the only family that has at least one room playing movies (or sometimes a single movie on repeat) for the duration of the gathering so the kids can stay occupied, out of trouble, and most importantly out of grown folks’ business. I know because I’ve been in the watch room of several different Black families.

The Thanksgiving Watch Room is important! The TWR is great for kids sure, but if you throw on the right film it can be an awesome time for family members of all ages, especially your introverted or more reserved folks who would love to just chill after that run to the store with all of their cousins. It can be used before the food is ready and after everyone has eaten. It’s like an unofficial recharging station, a safe haven.

Whether you’re headed to a relative’s, having turkey day at your house, or just chillin’ with your people today like my bestie and I, there’s something on Netflix perfect for the TWR. If you want to make it real interesting bring your laptop or tablet to the park–you might find us there!

Below are a few of my suggestions for films and series perfect for the Thanksgiving Watch Room with the summary courtesy of Netflixlife.com


What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)
Directed by Liz Garbus

What Happened, Miss Simone? is a Bio-Doc about the life of the legendary singer and performer, Nina Simone.

The documentary featured several performances, never-before-seen footage, and many interviews with Simone’s friends and family to help paint the picture of who Simone was as an artist, activist, friend, and family member.

What Happened, Miss Simone? is also a Netflix original documentary. After the film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Netflix picked up the distribution rights to the film. What Happened, Miss Simone? was release on Netflix on June 26, 2015.


The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)
Directed by Göran Hugo Olsson

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 is one of the most fascinating documentaries of all time. The entire film is put together using footage shot by Swedish journalists during the American Civil Rights Movement from 1967-1975.

At the time, the public had never seen the footage, and the footage was placed in the basement at Swedish Television. The footage was discovered in the late 2000s and edited into a feature film by Goran Olsson.

The documentary features footage and interviews from some of the most prominent members of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement, including Stokely Carmichael, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton,Emile de Antonio, and Angela Davis.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 won the Best Editing Award and was also nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary (World Cinema) at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.


Let the Fire Burn (2013)
Directed by Jason Osder

Let the Fire Burn is a documentary from Jason Osder that recaps the events that led up to a major situation between the Philadelphia Police Department and the liberation group MOVE in 1985.

The documentary dives into the story of a police raid gone-wrong. The police were trying to evict MOVE members from their homes in Philadelphia. After a shootout, police decided to use explosives on the home, which caused the house to catch on fire and later grew out of control. The fire destroyed the neighborhood and killed multiple people.

“Let the fire burn” references the police’s decision to not attempt to stop the fire from destroying the neighborhood.

Having not lived through this event, I had little knowledge of what actually happened. This documentary is definitely eye-opening, in that regard. And, it also paints a clearer picture of police relations with the public at this time in history.

Let the Fire Burn won two awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, including Best Editing (Nels Bangerter) and Best New Documentary Director (Osder). The film also has a 98 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Undefeated (2011)
Directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin

Undefeated tells the story of the Varsity Football Team at Manassas High School, home of the Tigers, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Heading into the documentary, the Manassas Tigers had faced years of losing seasons. In the film, Head Coach Bill Courtney tries to turn around the team for their first winning season in years while lifting the spirits of the community and trying to help the kids find the right path to success.

The film also tells the story of so many kids living in tough situations, financially and otherwise, looking to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

If you’re into sports documentaries or love a good inspirational movie, Undefeated is a must-see. It’s easily one of the best sports and football movies on Netflix.

Undefeated won an Oscar at the 2012 Academy Awards for Best Documentary. It also won the same awarded at the Chicago International Film Festival in the same year.


Even More:

Beverly Hills Cop

Jane The Virgin (Season 1)

Pariah by Dee Rees (2011)

Night Catches Us by Tanya Hamilton (2010)

Mosquita y Mari by Aurora Guerrero (2012)

Mississippi Damned (2009)

The Bernie Mac Show

Middle of Nowhere by Ava DuVernay (2012)

The Flash (Season 1)

Gotham (Season 1)

Down in the Delta by Maya Angelou (1998)

Sense 8 (Season 1)


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