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Here's What's New & Black AF On Netflix This April

Instead of letting worry and anxiety consume you, pour up a glass of wine and consume this Black AF content that's coming to a streaming service near you.

Culture & Entertainment

Sh*t has officially gotten real, ladies and gentlemen. Outside has been canceled until further notice and we are really in this bih.

In light of recent events, we've been confined to our respective spaces and asked to practice extreme social distancing. But instead of letting worry and anxiety consume you, pour up a glass of wine and consume this Black AF content that's coming to a streaming service near you.

From old school classics like Lethal Weapon and School Daze to new Netflix originals like #blackAF and Coffee + Kareem, here's what's new on Netflix this April:

School Daze (April 1)

School Daze

Netflix is throwing us all the way back to 1988 with this Spike Lee-directed coming of age story that paints a vivid portrait of HBCUs that will put your nostalgia in full-throttle. Starring Larry Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tisha Campbell-Martin, this old school classic will have you in your living room feeling melanated AF.

Cadillac Records (April 1)

Cadillac Records

The year is 1942. Beyonce is Etta James and everything is right with the world.

In this 2008 NAACP award-winning autobiographical drama, we see Queen Bey star alongside Mos Def and Columbus Short in a film that tells the untold stories of Chi-town music legends, Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James, and Chuck Berry.

Lethal Weapon 1-4 (April 1)

Lethal Weapon

Before Bad Boys, Rush Hour, and Training Day, there was Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, a dynamic duo who has been kicking ass and taking names since 1987. More than 30 years after this action-packed buddy cop action comedy film was originally released in theaters, the entire Lethal Weapon franchise is making its way to the streaming platform on April 1st.

Nailed It!: Season 4 (April 1)

In this time of chaos and the Coronavirus, we have to laugh to keep from panicking and Nicole Byers and her squad of home bakers fighting for their shot at $10,000 are back for Season 4 of Nailed It! to help us do exactly that.

The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions (April 1)

The Matrix

Morpheus asked Neo if we wanted the red or the blue pill and judging from how this pandemic is looking, I'd suggest he take both for good measure. Featuring Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishbourne, this classic trilogy is available to stream April 1st.

Soul Plane (April 1)

Soul Plane

We might be on lockdown, but that won't stop us from getting high AF and enjoying a ride aboard the 2004 comedy classic, Soul Plane. With an all-star cast of entertainers like Mo'Nique, Kevin Hart, Method Man, Snoop Dogg, Loni Love, and D.L. Hughley, this film is sure to give you the belly laugh you didn't know you needed.

Community: Seasons 1-6 (April 1)

Community

Rapping, singing, acting––Is there anything that Donald Glover can't do? But before his entertainment career took fire, the comedian tried his luck as a community college student. Before the premiere of his popular FX series, Atlanta, Childish Gambino had a lead role on the quirky NBC sitcom, Community, and you can stream the entire series April 1st.

Lovebirds (April 3)

Lovebirds

The Coronavirus shut down movie theaters and dashed our dreams of seeing Issa Rae get her swirl on in her latest rom-com, Lovebirds, but Netflix knew our hearts. In lieu of the movie's canceled premiere date, the film will be available for streaming on April 3rd.

Coffee + Kareem (April 3)

I didn't know that I needed to see Taraji P. Henson and that guy from The Office in a fictional on-screen relationship but it's here and I can't unsee it. A film about a 12-year-old who isn't here for his mom's new police-officer boyfriend, Coffee + Kareem is jam-packed with action, comedy, and a whole lot of ass-kicking.

#blackAF (April 17)

The Office… but make it #blackAF.

In the newest sitcom by Kenya Barris, we see the screenwriter star in #blackAF, a mockumentary-style series starring Rashida Jones and featuring cameos by Issa Rae, Tyler Perry, and Nia Long, that is loosely based on his reality.

Cooked With Cannabis (April 20)

Netflix

Nothing eases the soul like some home-cooked comfort food and there's nothing more comfortable than sitting back on your couch and binge-watching a show about cannabis-infused cuisine. Hosted by Kelis and Leather Storrs, this 6-episode features 18 home cannabis cooks who aren't going home without their piece of the pie.

Django Unchained (April 25)

Django

I'm not ashamed to say that I've seen this pre-ScandalKerry Washington-led film a thousand times and thanks to Netflix, I'll have the opportunity to watch it 1,000 more. 8 years after this Quentin Tarantino-directed film debuted in theaters, Django: Unchained will be available to stream April 25th.

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story (April 29)

Netflix

Netflix has lowkey been hitting it out the park with their documentaries lately, and we hope that Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story keeps that same energy.

Featured image by School Daze.

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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