The Best Black Christmas Movies

Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
Christmas is upon us. Department stores are covered in red and blaring holiday music. The Hallmark and Lifetime channels are in overdrive with a lineup of both recycled and new holiday romance programming. And the number of unread emails in the folder where you get discount updates for all your favorite online shops has doubled. But if we’re being honest, a lot of this holiday cheer is pretty white. Let us never forget how comfortable Megyn Kelly was declaring that both Santa and Jesus, the guys whose birthday we’re supposed to be celebrating, were white.
But Black people have been known to put their own spin on Christmas, too. From soulful versions of Christmas carols — if you love yourself, download Santa Hooked Me Up by B2K — to running jokes about our families on Twitter, we can do holiday spirit with the best of them. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Mariah Carey, a Black woman, is considered the Queen of Christmas. And with his revamped line of dabbing Santa sweaters, I’m prepared to argue a case that 2 Chainz is the king.
Anyway, there are also a ton of offerings for Black Christmas movies. Not all of them are explicitly marketed for the Christmas crowd, but they are still just as good. I’ve done the honor of aggregating some of the best ones for your consideration. Hopefully this means that I have done my good deeds and will finally make someone’s ‘Nice’ list.
1 of 9
The Wiz (1978)
You probably already know that The Wiz is Barry Gordy’s Black spin-off of The Wizard of Oz. Adapted from a Broadway play and starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, it’s one of the most important Black films to ever exist. In this version of the story, Dorothy (Ross) gets transported to the Land of Oz during an eerie snowstorm that sweeps down her Harlem block on the evening of Christmas. “Don’t Lose the Feeling” is the song that Dorothy’s family sings as they prepare to dig in for dinner. I dare you to recreate the moment with your family.
2 of 9
Preacher’s Wife (1996)
Your mom probably already thinks that Denzel Washington is an angel amongst us mortals. But in Preacher’s Wife he actually plays one. Dudley comes to the aid of Henry (Courtney B. Vance), a reverend struggling to keep the doors of his church open. Dudley uses his powers to fight gentrifiers trying to shutter the church doors, but he also falls for Henry’s wife Julia (Whitney Houston).

The movie culminates in a midnight Christmas service at the church that reminds everyone that doing what’s right is sometimes more important than your own interests.
3 of 9
Holiday Heart (2000)
I’ve seen this movie too many times to count ,and I weep every time. Ving Rhames plays a drag queen named Holiday who assumes care of a teenaged girl. Taking place over the course of a few years, Christmas becomes tied to several key moments. Make sure you have tissues on hand.
4 of 9
A Diva’s Christmas Carol (2000)
This is the only remake of A Christmas Carol that you need to see, and it’s probably one of the few Hallmark movies that you’ll actually want to watch. No it’s not any less cheesy, but the premise is just too good to sleep on. Vanessa Williams plays Ebony Scrooge, a pop superstar with a nasty attitude and no Christmas spirit. Kathy Griffin plays the Ghost of Christmas Past and John Taylor from Duran Duran plays the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Let this movie be a reminder not to let those social media followers go to your head.
5 of 9
Friday After Next (2002)
If you or any of your loved ones are stoners, this is the Christmas movie is for you. The third sequel to the cult classic film Friday, rapper Ice Cube returns once again as Craig. In a last minute attempt to make rent after being robbed by someone dressed as Santa Claus, him and cousin/roommate DaeDae (Mike Epps) work a security job during the day and then throw a party at night. It’s hilarious, and at times problematic, but I still know the words to every scene by heart. I regret nothing.
6 of 9
This Christmas (2007)
Close your eyes and think back on the way things were 10 years ago, a simpler time. No one feared Trump in the White House, and the very first iPhone was released with the letter ‘i’ still intact. Chris Brown was also still the boyish heartthrob that we were all rooting for. It was in this year that his name helped bring droves of giddy girls to the movie theaters to see This Christmas.

Luckily, none of the family drama that transpires in the film when everyone gathers under the same roof for Christmas is even close to what would happen with Brown just a couple years later.
7 of 9
Best Man Holiday (2013)
A sequel to a romance dramedy film made 14 years later and marketed to an ethnic holiday crowd seems like the kind of idea that goes straight to DVD. This was not the case for The Best Man Holiday, which was the follow up to 1999’s The Best Man. It grossed over $71 million worldwide with an all-star cast that included Terrence Howard and Nia Long.

The story follows four couples that reunite for the first time in more than 10 years at the request of one of their friends. The trip, which takes place over Christmas, opens old wounds and creates some news one for both the cast and viewers.
8 of 9
Black Nativity (2013)

Do I really need to convince you to see a Christmas movie featuring Nas as one of the lead characters? If so, you should know that it’s a musical film based on the eponymous play by Langston Hughes and stars Angela Bassett, her arms, and Jennifer Hudson.
9 of 9
Almost Christmas (2016)
A newer offering in the Black Christmas catalog, Almost Christmas saw the epic return of comedienne Mo’Nique, and it was well worth the wait. She carried the movie as the foul mouthed Aunt May, the sister of the late family matriarch. Surviving patriarch Walter (Danny Glover) hopes that his four children can get along for five days over the holidays, the first without their mother. But things aren’t looking good.

It’s a hilarious break from the sappy tear-jerkers.

More from Movies


R29 Original Series