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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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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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