For Creatives: Wintertime WatchList

Here is a list of shows and movies I love that are created by or featuring people of color or LGBTQ+. Enjoy these while laying under 12 blankets and 5 pillows with and constant refills of hot chocolate. These range from provoking and engaging to light hearted and funny, let me know if there are any that should be added to the list!

1. Mudbound

Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm, a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family’s struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not – charming and handsome, but he is haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, now battles the prejudice in the Jim Crow South.

2. Paris is Burning

This documentary focuses on drag queens living in New York City and their “house” culture, which provides a sense of community and support for the flamboyant and often socially shunned performers. Groups from each house compete in elaborate balls that take cues from the world of fashion. Also touching on issues of racism and poverty, the film features interviews with a number of renowned drag queens, including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija and Dorian Corey.

3. 13th

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.

4. Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

The story of iconic writer, poet, actress and activist Maya Angelou whose life intersected some of the most significant moments in the recent history of the United States of America.

5. Random Acts of Flyness

Writer/director/producer Terence Nance is the mastermind behind this project, a “show about the beauty and ugliness of contemporary American life,” he says. Using a fluid, stream-of-conscience approach, Nance explores cultural idioms such as patriarchy, white supremacy and sensuality via numerous interconnected vignettes, all of which showcase an ensemble cast — including Nance — of emerging and established talent. Nance and his collaborators weave together such themes as ancestral trauma, history, death, romance and more, creating a television show like nothing seen before.

6. What Happened Miss Simone?

Classically trained pianist, dive-bar chanteuse, black power icon and legendary recording artist Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy.

7. City of God

In the poverty-stricken favelas of Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s, two young men choose different paths. Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) is a budding photographer who documents the increasing drug-related violence of his neighborhood. José “Zé” Pequeno (Leandro Firmino da Hora) is an ambitious drug dealer who uses Rocket and his photos as a way to increase his fame as a turf war erupts with his rival, “Knockout Ned” (Seu Jorge). The film was shot on location in Rio’s poorest neighborhoods.

8. Dave Chapelle: Equanimity & The Bird Revelation

Chappelle holds court in a special homecoming performance filmed in front of a packed house at the historic Warner Theater in Washington D.C. In “Dave Chappelle: Equanimity,” the comedian hilariously revels in taking on culture and class, politics and the specter of getting old. In addition to “Dave Chappelle: Equanimity,” Netflix will premiere a second stand-up special, “Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation” on the same night. “The Bird Revelation” was filmed in November 2017 at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles.

9. Queer Eye

More than a decade after the original series went off the air, Netflix reboots the “Queer Eye” franchise with a new Fab Five and a new setting, trading in the concrete jungle of New York City for communities in and around Atlanta. The style experts forge relationships with men and women who often have different beliefs from them, leading to moments of social commentary interspersed with style advice. Advising people in need of lifestyle makeovers are food and wine specialist Antoni Porowski, interior designer Bobby Berk, grooming consultant Jonathan Van Ness, fashion designer Tan France and culture expert Karamo Brown, who reality TV fans may recognize as one of the housemates on “The Real World: Philadelphia.” David Collins, who created the original show, is on board as an executive producer.

10. Narcos

Netflix chronicles the rise of the cocaine trade in Colombia and the gripping real-life stories of drug kingpins of the late ’80s in this raw, gritty original series. Also detailed are the actions taken by law enforcement as they battle in the war on drugs, targeting notorious and powerful figures that include drug lord Pablo Escobar. As efforts are made to control cocaine, one of the world’s most valuable commodities, the many entities involved — legal, political, police, military and civilian — find themselves in conflict.

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