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What's New & Black AF On Netflix This Month

There's a little melanated drip for everyone with a sprinkle of pre-holiday cheer.

Culture & Entertainment

While 2020 has felt like a never-ending movie in and of itself, there is something to be said about the escapism that can be found inside of a movie that reels you in or a binge-worthy series. And being that it is the top of the month, Netflix is once again coming in clutch with the release of a roll-out of movies and shows that are new to their platform.

Every month, the streaming giant goes out with the old and in with the new, and November is no different. As always, xoNecole has you covered with the Strong Black Lead releases that Netflix has on deck this month. From Woo and Two Can Play That Game to Fruitvale Station, there is a little melanated drip for everyone (and with a sprinkle of pre-holiday cheer). Without further ado, here's what's new and black AF on Netflix this month.

What's New On Netflix: November 2020

11/1: Boyz n the Hood

What some people may not know is, Boyz n the Hood is the late director John Singleton's feature directorial debut. In the wake of the 1991 release, the film has gone on to be a defining film of its time and of its genre. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Angela Bassett, Regina King, and Laurence Fishburne, Boyz n the Hood is a coming-of-age story following the lives of three young men facing issues that come with life in the hood.

11/1: Jumping the Broom

On a much lighter note, Jumping the Broom is a 2011 film helmed by Salim Akil. The rom-com stars Laz Alonso and Paula Patton as engaged couple Jason Taylor and Sabrina Watson respectively. The movie, which also features a star-studded cast, follows the drama and the hilarity that ensues as the couple prepare to make things official and jump the broom.

11/1: School Daze

School Daze is a Spike Lee Joint of epic proportions. You get HBCU life depicted. You get the laughs that come with a smartly-penned comedy. You get the theatrics of a musical. And you get the remarkable forces that are Laurence Fishburne and Giancarlo Esposito. And it wouldn't be a Spike Lee joint without exploring deep-rooted issues that plague our community (read: colorism), so you get that too.

11/1: Chappelle's Show

It's like November came through and knew exactly what we needed: Dave Chappelle's unapologetic, raucous humor in the form of his famed sketch comedy show, Chappelle's Show. The series, which ran from 2003 to 2006 on Comedy Central, spawned several infamous parodies revolving around culture and race. Although Chappelle walked away from the show in 2005, the legacy he left behind was already cemented. Now, we get to relive it all over again. Life is good.

11/1: Two Can Play That Game

Two Can Play That Game/Film screenshot

I don't know about you, but the chemistry between Morris Chestnut and Vivica A. Fox alone is a good enough reason to give this 2001 rom-com another watch. Two Can Play That Game was a depiction of the games people play and a reminder that taking the honest route isn't as played out as we think. Still, it's fun to see Vivica's character Shanté make Morris' character squirm. And even more thrilling to watch when Morris steps up to the plate to give her a taste of her medicine.

11/1: Woo

Woo/Film screenshot

In this 1998 movie, "woo" isn't a verb, it's a noun. One that Jada Pinkett Smith embodies. The actress plays the title role as Woo. Woo has her world wrapped around her finger and often feels like the author of her own story, except when it comes to the men that she dates. That is until she meets Tim, played by Tommy Lee Davidson.

11/5: Operation Christmas Drop

Being that it's November, we're inching into that time of year again when the holiday season is back in full swing, so it comes as no surprise that Netflix wants to sprinkle some Christmas cheer so early this season. Kicking things off is Operation Christmas Drop, starring The Vampire Diaries' Kat Graham and Alexander Ludwig.

11/5: A New York Christmas Wedding

Have you ever wondered what life might have been like if you had acted on the feelings you had for someone else? This holiday-themed movie explores what happens when an angel visits a soon-to-be bride before her Christmas Eve wedding. The main character Jennifer's "what if" is turned into a "what could have been" when the angel shows her her life if she followed her heart.

11/6: Citation

Based on true events, Citation tells the story of a student who finds herself up against her school when she reports a popular professor for trying to rape her. The award-winning Nigerian film stars Jimmy Jean-Louis.

11/6: Country Ever After

Country Ever After (originally named Country-ish) is a Netflix reality series that follows Coffey Anderson, a country singer, and his wife hip-hop dancer Criscilla Anderson. Talk about opposites attract. The show will center around how the two navigate their love and careers, as well as their faith and family.

11/12: Fruitvale Station

The film that started it all between one of my favorite film duos, director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan. Fruitvale Station depicts the life of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old unarmed black man who was murdered one night in Fruitvale Station by a police officer. Coogler wrote and directed the film and told the story through flashbacks that showed glimpses of the last day of Grant's life.

11/13: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

A 2020 film directed by David E. Talbert, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey has two things the holiday season calls for: Christmas and musicals. Starring Forest Whitaker as Jeronicus Jangle, the musical also features Anika Noni Rose, Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad, and newcomer Madison Mills. In it, toymaker Jangle and his granddaughter create an invention that could change the trajectory of their lives.

11/16: Loving

Loving tells the true story of married interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving. The two were eventually thrown into jail for their relationship and then banished from the state of Virginia. The biographical drama tells a fictionalized version of what would ultimately lead to a monumental Supreme Court decision (Loving v. Virginia) that would change the way interracial marriage was viewed forever.

11/16: Whose Streets?

Whose Streets? is a 2017 documentary directed by Sabaah Folayan that gives an account of the events following Michael Brown's tragic murder at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. What followed was the Ferguson Uprising, and Whose Streets? offers a first-hand account of how a tragedy woke the community up.

11/20: Voices of Fire

Pharrell Williams has the Midas touch when it comes to music. The famed producer's ear is bar none, so it shouldn't be surprising that the multi-hyphenate is using his craft to find new voices. Voices of Fire is a docuseries that follows his journey to find the best voices to be a part of his gospel choir.

11/27: Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker

Dance Dreams/Film screenshot

Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker is a Shondaland production (her first collaboration on Netflix, btw) documentary film that showcases famed choreographer Debbie Allen and the dancers of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy as they put on their annual Hot Chocolate Nutcracker show.

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Five months into 2022 and already it feels like it has been a year. New levels come with new devils (new stresses) and though we are proud of our accomplishments in the year so far, as a team, to say we aren't in need of a vacay is an understatement. A part of recovery from burnout includes being intentional about how we approach our self-care practices. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, the xoNecole team decided to put better mental health into practice. And what better way to prioritize our mental health and manage our stress levels than through the use of CBD products?

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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