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xoWatchlist: Here’s What We’re Watching & Loving On TV This Week

The xoNecole team picks our fave shows of the week.

Culture & Entertainment

It seems like there’s never been more of an abundance of things to catch up on streaming sites than there is right now. From a sexy and salacious blind dating reality show to a wholesome comedy about a group of elementary teachers, there’s a show that fills every one of our needs. The ladies of XoNecole are here to help you decide what your next binge-watch pick should be!


Hanna Phifer, Culture Writer

Quinta Brunson in 'Abbott Elementary'

ABC/Ser Baffo

Last Sunday left a Euphoria-sized hole in my heart after the season finale of HBO’s wildly popular teen drama starring Zendaya. In the meantime, I caught up on ABC’s newest comedy Abbott Elementary starring internet sensation Quinta Brunson as a terminally earnest elementary teacher who navigates the cynicism of her fellow teachers and the systemic roadblocks her Black students face. It’s on a brief break right now which I might not survive.

Janell Hazelwood, Associate Editor

The ladies of the Netflix series 'Selling Tampa.'

Netflix

I'm a documentary, period drama, and reality TV fanatic. (And I'll never apologize for loving some ratchet entertainment!) I especially love the reality shows that serve up entrepreneurship or leadership with a side of drama like Netflix's Selling Tampa, which features a women-led real estate firm. VH1's Black Ink Crew and OWN's Love & Marriage Huntsville are two other favorites. I religiously tune into The Gilded Age, an HBO drama set in New York in the 1890s, and Snowfall, a crime drama set in the '80s heyday of Jheri curls, Cali cocaine, shady politics, and high living.

And while Kanye West might be a contentious figure right now, I'm still loving Jeen-Yuhs, showing us the inspiring come-up journey of arguably one of the most talented musicians and hip-hop minds of the 21st century. The music and early 2000s nostalgia brings back many good memories of my college years and is the perfect reminder to keep grinding toward my goals, no matter how long the road to success might be. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, an Amazon Prime show about an up-and-coming comic in 1960s New York, also gives me all the feels for Joan Rivers, classic Manhattan eateries, and my childhood memories in Brooklyn's Williamsburg community.

Brooke Obie, EIC

Adam Scott and Britt Lower in 'Severance' on AppleTV+

AppleTV+

All of my favorite shows and movies are about the weird ways people deal with grief. (The Leftovers, Lost, basically anything Damon Lindelof has done.) My new weird grief binge is Severance on AppleTV+. The premise is that there are people willing to have a device entered into their brain that would sever their memories of their work life from their personal life memories; when you show up at work, you have no memory of who you are, you just do your work. And when you leave, your personal memories return and you have no memory of what you did at work.

OBVIOUSLY, there are no Black women in the main cast who have signed up to let white people cut their brains open (though there is one severed Black woman in the supporting cast and some non-severed Black women who play interesting roles in the story, alongside a fascinating severed character played by the hilarious Zach Cherry, and a menacingly cheerful non-severed character played by Trammell Tillman). But as both an indictment of capitalism and a meditation on grief, the series is an interesting exploration of what kinds of trauma you’d have to be overcoming in order to alter your brain irreversibly.

Sheriden Chanel, Senior Lifestyle & Relationship Editor

David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in 'The Girl Before'

Amanda Searle/HBO Max

I’ve been trying to be more intentional about consuming content in the Spanish language because I'm learning Spanish. After revisiting the classic film Selena recently and realizing it didn’t really withstand the test of time, I was nervous about investing in a (mostly) biographical series that is about a culturally significant Latin artist. But, I was pleasantly surprised and am currently on season two of the Netflix show Luis Miguel: The Series, and I absolutely love it. It’s been great getting to know the artist behind some of the popular singles I’ve heard in passing while living in Mexico or from friends here. He has lived a very interesting life, one filled with wins, but lots of losses. And the actor that plays him, Diego Boneta, is a force and navigates the portrayal of Luis through his late teens, 20s, 30s, 40s seamlessly. A true delight to watch.

Also, anything Gugu Mbatha-Raw is in, I’ll give it a watch. The Girl Before on HBOMax had me captivated from minute one. I am a sucker for thrillers where a house feels like a malicious force and this series delivered that for me and then some. I loved that it was this mystery that made me believe it would unfold one way, thanks to the chilly and calculated performance by David Oyelewo, but then was like, ‘Not so fast.’ I had a feeling, but the connection between the house, the performance of newcomer Jessica Plummer’s character in the past intermingled with Gugu’s performance of her character in the present, was a four-part limited series I didn’t want to take my eyes away from.

Featured image by Getty Images

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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Featured image by Getty Images

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