What are the best Black Christmas movies of all time? After taking a moment to ponder that question, I managed to narrow down a list of the top 10.
From classic comedies to heartwarming romances to the projects developed to teach some invaluable life lessons, there are a number of Christmas movies I searched through to settle on which were the cream of the crop in terms of capturing the holiday spirit while placing a focus on Black culture. Believe me, it was no easy feat. It was even harder ranking the movies in order and giving one of them the title of the best Black Christmas movie ever.
So without further ado, let's review the list. Did your favorite movie make the cut?
10. Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas (2013)
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas sees the matriarch played by Perry accompany her niece Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) as she surprises her daughter Lacey (Tika Sumpter) for the holidays. The movie has your run-of-the-mill Madea antics, which provide for the occasional chuckle.
It was a toss-up choosing between Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas and Friday After Next in terms of rounding out this top 10 list, but A Madea Christmas captures the theme of Christmas, whereas Friday After Next has your usual Friday antics that just happen to occur over the holidays.
How to watch Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas: stream on Prime Video or BET Plus in the US; stream on Prime Video in the UK.
9. A Diva's Christmas Carol (2000)
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a story that has been reimagined several times throughout the years, but one of my favorite renditions is A Diva's Christmas Carol. The VH1 original TV movie follows Ebony Scrooge (Vanessa Williams), a wildly successful pop diva, who makes everyone around her miserable until she’s visited by three ghosts that change her bah-humbug spirit.
What I love most about this movie is Vanessa Williams' portrayal of a diva. Anytime I see her as fierce and unapologetic, I'm entertained. Hence my enjoyment of her Wilhelmina Slater portrayal on Ugly Betty. With viewers getting that boss persona in A Diva's Christmas Carol, plus elements of Christmas, the movie is a must-watch.
How to watch A Diva's Christmas Carol: DVD available to buy on Amazon.
8. The Perfect Holiday (2007)
The Perfect Holiday tells the tale of Benjamin (Morris Chestnut), an aspiring songwriter, who falls in love with Nancy (Gabrielle Union). Unfortunately, their Christmas romance becomes complicated when Benjamin discovers Nancy is the ex-wife of rap star J-Jizzy (Charlie Murphy), the very person Benjamin has been working with to get his big break in the music business.
What earns The Perfect Holiday a spot on the list is the love story. It's complex, it's touch-and-go and it's Christmassy.
How to watch The Perfect Holiday: stream on Prime Video in the US; Netflix in the UK.
7. Last Holiday (2006)
Queen Latifah takes on the starring role in Last Holiday, portraying Georgia Byrd, a woman wrongly diagnosed with a terminal illness. After receiving her "deadly prognosis," she heads to Europe to enjoy a luxury vacation and gain a new lease on life. This romantic comedy is a reminder that you should live life to the fullest and take risks. Who doesn't need that as a reminder every now and then, especially over Christmas?
6. Black Nativity
Black Nativity, based on Langston Hughes' play of the same name, is a musical drama that features the vocal chops of EGOT winner Jennifer Hudson and Godfather of Harlem star Forest Whitaker. The movie focuses on Langston (Jacob Latimore) as his journey of maturity leads to healing his fractured family over the Christmas season.
Black Nativity earned its spot on the list more for the music featured in the movie. The great songs onscreen put me in the mood to spread good cheer, throw up tinsel and bake more than a dozen cutout cookies.
How to watch Black Nativity: stream on Tubi in the US; rent via digital on-demand in the UK.
5. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a feel-good Christmas movie for the whole family to enjoy. It just captures a spirit of miracles and child wonderment that brings a smile to your face. The movie follows Journey (Madalen Mills) as she visits her grandfather and former toymaker, Jeronicus (Forest Whitaker). Her curiosity and innocence reignite her grandfather's passion for toymaking, and in turn, his fondness for the Christmas season.
Many who have watched the movie couldn't help but rave about it, confirming my sentiments that it's a Christmas great.
How to watch Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey: stream exclusively on Netflix.
4. This Christmas (2007)
This Christmas has an amazing ensemble cast consisting of Loretta Devine (Family Reunion), Regina King (The Harder They Fall), Lauren London (You People), Idris Elba (Luther: The Fallen Sun) and music sensation Chris Brown, just to name a few stars. The movie zeroes in on the secrets within the Whitfield family, and how those secrets stir up some drama for the holidays. Without question, one of the standout moments of the film occurs when the Whitfield siblings are at a nightclub and the youngest (Brown) takes to the stage to sing a rendition of "Try a Little Tenderness" that would make Otis Redding proud. All in all, how could the movie not make the cut?
How to watch This Christmas: stream on Peacock in the US; stream on Prime Video in the UK.
3. Almost Christmas (2016)
Almost Christmas follows in the vein of This Christmas in that it centers around a family and secrets. But in Almost Christmas, the family is reuniting for the holiday for the first time since the matriarch of their family passed away. While the premise foreshadows a tearjerker, it's honestly one of the funniest Christmas movies I've seen in the last 10 years. How could it not be starring queen of comedy Mo'Nique and Curb Your Enthusiasm star J.B. Smoove? The laughs I enjoyed are honestly what helps Almost Christmas edge out This Christmas on the list.
How to watch Almost Christmas: stream on Peacock in the US; stream on Prime Video in the UK.
2. The Best Man Holiday (2013)
The Best Man Holiday is a fantastic movie and the perfect follow-up to the original The Best Man. It catches up with the college friends years after Mia (Monica Calhoun) and Lance’s (Morris Chestnut) wedding, and things among the group are still tense. While the movie has plenty of laughs, it's the sadder moments that I most remember. Mainly the unsuspecting death of a beloved character (it shouldn't be a secret who I'm referring to 10 years after the movie's release and a year after the release of The Best Man: The Final Chapters). The combination of laughter and tears is what helps The Best Man Holiday come in at a close second in the rankings.
How to watch The Best Man Holiday: stream on Peacock in the US; available to rent via digital on-demand in the UK.
1. The Preacher’s Wife
The Preacher’s Wife has everything you need to make a fantastic Christmas movie. It has phenomenal acting thanks to Denzel Washington (The Equalizer 3), Courtney B. Vance (Heist 88) and Whitney Houston leading the way. Additionally, it has a captivating storyline where miracles come and save the day for a church and its congregation. Lastly, it has the amazing singing voice of Houston, which led to the movie's soundtrack earning the title as the best-selling gospel album of all time.
How to watch The Preacher’s Wife: stream on MGM Plus and Tubi in the US; availalbe to rent via digital on-demand in the UK.