Black In The Day: Self-Care Playlist


Welcome to Black In The Day, your bi-weekly serving of yesteryear’s magical, inimitable and unforgettable Blackety Blackness courtesy of Alexander Hardy.

Life can be wack sometimes, especially when living and working amongst shitbag-electing jive turkeys, rabid Iggy Azalea stans, kitten heel hoarders and such. Contending with chirren, work, honey shortages at Popeye’s, and automobills can drain one’s spirit, so it’s important that we take a break from saving the world to enjoy some soul food, to replenish what institutional hateration depletes. Laughter is a wonderful way to shake off the blues and distract oneself while we await the arrival of Slavery 2.0 when the Tangerine Terrorist takes that oath in January. Here are a few spirit-lifting moments in Blackness to assist with your laughter-as-self-care situation. May your days be merry and moisturized.

Let’s start the party with Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen reminiscing and being silly with their mother on Dick Clark’s Mother’s Day special, “Superstars and Their Moms,” in 1987. They talked about what their mother means to them and why she’s a phenomenal woman. Any opportunity to see these two be wondrous together is a blessing. They cackle, they sing, they made their mama cry. Behold:

I have probably watched Life at least 37 times. The movie stars Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy as two surly prohibition-era Negroes who have been sentenced to life in prison. It came out when I was in the 8th grade. My friends and I spent the spring and summer of 1999 watching Life (and The Fifth Element) way too many times, laughing mindlessly about turning whites-only pies into nigger pies. This scene in the cafeteria features Bernie Mac, Miguel A Núñez Jr., Anthony Anderson, and Guy Torry being brilliant and hilarious together, and I can still recite it word-for-word just like ’99.

Once upon a time in 1993, Saint Damita Jo Jackson assembled a squad of elite dancers and your favorite choreographer’s favorite choreographer, Tina Landon, to produce a masterpiece that would bless the world for generation ‘pon generation. The result, the music video for “If” from her janet. album is among Janet’s most iconic and still inspires your fave 23 years after its release.

Meet young Anessah, who proved why kids are cooler than all of y’all, by baiting the school mascot into an impromptu #JuJuonthatbeat duet at a football game.

Jackie’s Back is the gift that keeps on giving. I find something new to love about it each time I watch. The Robert Townsend joint stars Jennifer Lewis as a washed up second-rate diva who couldn’t sustain and is preparing for her comeback concert. It features Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Arnold, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, Don Cornelius, Isabel Sanford (Weezy Jefferson), and a host of other famous folks. One of many highlights is Loretta Devine as Jackie’s chatty patty childhood friend, Snookie Tate, who had nothing but great things to say about “Aunt Jackie, you know the singer, the one who couldn’t keep no husband.”

I felt all the feels seeing the late Ruby Dee describe, in nicer words, how she thought her husband Ossie Davis looked like a field-plowing bamma when they first met: “It was this tall skinny guy dressed in the well-worn apparel of a short fat guy.” And later, she talks about the moment she knew: “I felt something like a bolt of lightning.” I know, boo. I feel that same bolt when the oxtail is cooked just right. Together, the two appeared in several films together, including Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever, and were an example for maintaining a long-term, healthy union (their secret: an open marriage). Bonus: Ossie recounting his first impression of Ruby.

Shoutout to the cast of Martin for making through these scenes with Martin’s goofy ass without laughing. And shoutout to the late Tommy Mikal Ford, the loudest laughter that ever laughed a laugh.

Remember that time Keisha Knight Pulliam took a break from playing the youngest Huxtable and starred in a TV movie alongside Phylicia Rashad, Prince Akeem’s jilted bride (Vanessa Bell Calloway) and the Black kid from Sandlot (Brandon Quentin Adams)? Twenty-seven years ago this weekend, Polly premiered on NBC, with Keisha playing the most jolliest little joy-spreading Black girl ever. And what would a televised Blackstravaganza be without direction and choreography by Debbie Allen? Enjoy.

And here is House Mother Shirley Chisholm, First of Her Name, Breaker of Chains, She Who Is Unbought and Unbossed, announcing her bid for the presidency of the U.S. in 1972. This made her the first Black major party (Democratic) candidate to crank dat presidential bid, four years after she became the first Black congresswoman. In short: she was the shit. She left politics after seven terms in congress to be a teacher and public speaker after President Reagan ruined much of the progress she had made in increasing minority employment and education opportunities. In 2005, she gave a candid, inspiring interview about her past and career spent giving white folks the business.

Lastly, way back at the beginning of The Jiggy Era, Whitney Houston recruited then Moesha star Brandy to play the Cinderella to her fairy godmother. Watch Brandy geek out over working with her mentor. Watch Whitney get Brandy’s wayward notes together.

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