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That time Netflix launched the ultimate holiday classic {with an all black cast}

I freely admit it; I am one of those people who are obnoxious about Hamilton. I’ve seen it four times {annoying}, I have met cast members {even more annoying}, and I attended an amateur Hamilton sing-a-long at George Washington’s Mount Vernon {ridiculously annoying}.

 

I feel pretty strongly about the Greatest Showman as well. It’s the mighty power of a rich chorus that gets me every time. It’s color and light and story and movement that slays me.

 

I was a singer and dancer in the first quarter of my life, and it was always my dream to perform for a living.

 

One of the reasons Hamilton is so magical is that it cast some of the most important characters in American history as people of color, which allowed the majority of Americans to see themselves in a narrative that left them out of the origin story. Sure, there was slavery, but frankly, we are tired of seeing ourselves and our people as the victims of American life.

 

 

You hear people say that representation matters. If you are someone who doesn’t understand that sentiment, you are likely someone who has viewed culture through the comfort of seeing yourself represented in every aspect of American life. But know that the majority are still getting used to seeing what we can be.
I cannot get my head around a Black/South Asian woman as the United States Vice President!

 

Onto my next obsession; Netflix Jingle Jangle. The first five minutes evoked feelings of excitement and emotion as I watched black and brown bodies in vibrant multi-colored costumes sing and dance their way through the opening number. Ham fans, remember the feeling of hearing “My Shot”? Or the opening monicker of the Greatest Showman? Goosebumps. That’s exactly how I felt as the ensemble cast sang, “Not the Only One.”

 

Listen, I will break it down for you. I am 41, and my entire life, I have watched and loved the traditional Christmas shows of the past 6 decades {including those antiquated claymation cartoons of my mom’s generation}. But few, if any, told my story or showed people who look like me experiencing the magic of Christmas. I watch the Color Purple each year to see Black folks at Christmas {remember the scene when Oprah comes home after her time in jail}. It’s my favorite film.

 

 

Upon the recommendation of my best friend, I sat down to watch Jingle Jangle with my kids, and let me tell you; it lives up to every inch of the motto #blackexcellence. The score will make you find Jesus all over again, the dancing, the costumes, the storytelling, and hot damn, Forest Whitaker and Madalen Mills will make you wave a white hanky and scream Hallelujah.

 

 

It’s great for kids; it’s great for the family. It tells a brilliantly crafted story that invites one and all. There is a lovely Easter Egg that cinephiles while enjoy {the Wakanda sticker on Jangle’s luggage}.

 


Here is what gets me the most

  • The rich timbre of black voices in an expertly crafted score.
  • All of the natural hair {locs, afros, and regal natural styles}
  • Black people creating and killing it in STEAM {The song, “The Square Root of Impossible is Me”}
  • Watching black wealth + excellence
  • The story of black love and bonds of black families

 

All of these images run contrary to what we see in film, television, on the news, and what those in power tell us about people of color.

 

In the season of perpetual hope, this film gave me a profound reason to feel alive again in what has been a painful year for the black community. This film reminds me of the life-giving act of gratitude, and boy, am I grateful for this.

 

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