When it comes to content, it’s easy for us to stick to what we know or want that old thing back. But for a rare few, being a true content connoisseur is about being on top of what’s hot, what’s trending, and what’s next. Luckily, this new guide is everything for your music, literary, film, TV, and live experiences needs.
Each week, yours truly, Kevin L. Clark, will be your go-to advocate, spotlighting all those content cravings worth enjoying.
You’re now tuned into This Weekend, a weekly round-up for content culture lovers and those who love to avoid FOMO.
For Friday, Dec. 24, we’ll share some freshly-discovered treasures from this week, your family, and friends to get into. It contains a healthy dose of sonic vibes, some powerful words, and, of course, something streaming that’s a feast for the eyes.
So bon appétit to all those true savants who are purveyors of content culture out there.
For Listeners Only:
It’s officially Christmas Eve and all through the house, Nas and Hit-Boy dropped an unexpected surprise that surely slaps through the speakers. The two Grammy-nominated hip hop stars pile on the win column with Magic, a follow-up to King’s Disease II. The new Gang Starr slid the stocking stuffer onto all DSPs in the early morning, and now, fans are enjoying the swag surf-inducing cut, “Wave Gods,” which also features A$AP Rocky and DJ Premier. A street cut that pays homage to Nas’s peers and today’s stars, Rocky and Preemo’s inclusion in this song makes it the gift that keeps on giving.
True-life Naija boi, Fireboy DML, just shared a new version of his song “Peru,” which now features Ed Sheeran. Yes, you read that correctly. The “Shape of You” singer (Hi, Kandi!) confirmed the remix during a sit-down with Elton John last week, where he revealed that he sings in Yorùbá. It marks another culture-expanding moment in amplifying Afrobeats outside the diaspora and is an exciting next step for Fireboy, whose The Apollo Tour will be his first U.S. headlining stint beginning early next year. Play this one on repeat to enjoy during the holidays.
Iman Omari is back! With IHY still in my personal rotation (listen to “Kama Sutra,” y’all!) — “Get a Job” serves as a new single by the L.A. native and features collabo king Buddy floating perfectly over Omari’s distinctive production. Freshly baked for his upcoming full-length album, Electric, Iman and Buddy explore themes ranging from the inner city grind to getting lifted for that party life — and make it sound effortless. “Get a Job,” with its jazz-and-808s-fused sound is a certified slapper to add to your next group chat.
Reading Under The Rainbow:
Punks: New & Selected Poems
John Keene is a popular poet and 2018 MacArthur Fellowship recipient whose work is known to many readers for his smartly inventive stories. In Punks, a landmark collection of poetry, Keene generously offers powerful prose that spans decades and includes previously unpublished and brand new work. An intricate and magnificent writer, his voice weaves together historic narratives that feature a cast of characters that include the poet’s friends, lovers, and historic Black personalities. You find yourself delving deeper into the pages the more you envelop his oracular style around your eyes and mind. Invigorating and rooted in the nature of the self, Keene’s Punks is a masterfully humane and sensual read that will transport you as soon as you turn the first page.
The Scent of Burnt Flowers
Multihyphenate Blitz Bazawule continues to add more distinctions to his already distinguished career, as the newly minted author readies The Scent of Burnt Flowers for a 2022 release. A title rooted in magical realism, a newly engaged couple, Melvin and Bernadette, avalanche into becoming fugitives after a pitstop in the wrong part of town ends with blood on their hands. With the feds on their heads, the two travel to Ghana to seek the help of Melvin’s old college friend, Kwame Nkrumah. Don’t wait to pre-order this one as it has already been optioned for TV, starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a charismatic musician who helps the tandem to preserve their freedom.
Roxane Gay and Kellie Jones collaborate for the first comprehensive monograph on Mickaelene Thomas, a key figure in 21st-century contemporary art. Best known as a painter of complex works, Thomas, whose original style opens the sweeping documentary, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, articulates a complex and empowering vision of self-image. Gay and Jones made Mickalene Thomas closely with the acclaimed artist and coincides with her first global exhibition, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, which is at Lévy Gorvy galleries in New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Paris. This book has a unique vibe to it and would make anyone’s collection pop lavishly.
Watch The Streams:
After Prime Video made headlines with their multi-year licensing deal meant to break into the Nigerian film market, Netflix has vaulted Kunle Afolayan and Kemi Adesoye’s A Naija Christmas into binge-watcher’s algorithms — and rightfully so. In the holiday rom-com, Madam Agatha Agu (Rachel Oniga), a single mother of three boys — Ugo (Kunle Remi), Obi (Efa Iwara), and Chike (Abayomi Alvin), have their world completely changed, taking viewers on a roller coaster ride of love, drama, and family-infused humor. If you’re missing some good jollof rice (or chicken stew) and want to leave your troubles behind, then add this film to your watch list with a smile.
In Miracles Across 125th Street, Nick Cannon plays an embattled rapper who returns to his family’s church after succumbing to drug addiction. Billed as a “New Holiday Classic,” the multi-talented host and entertainer wrote and directed this VH1-aired film, which also stars Todrick Hall, Marsha Warfield, Tommy Davidson, hip hop icon Lil Kim, and more. Featuring an array of heart, humor, and melodious musical performances, watch Miracles Across 125th Street and check out our exclusive chat with Nick over at BET Talks!
Should you want to enjoy an all-new entry into the wildly popular Matrix series, HBO Max has it where you don’t have to leave your couch to enjoy The Matrix Resurrections. Set almost two decades after the original film, which introduced us to crazy wire-work stunts and “bullet time,” Keanu Reeves is back as Neo, but this time as blue-pill-induced game programmer whose therapist seeks to subdue his strange visions of the Matrix. Newcomers Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jessica Henwick help The One to break free, find his love, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), and plunges viewers further down the rabbit hole. In case you’re unsure, you can read my review + interview with the cast here.
Live at the Experience:
The iconic, beautifully gifted, and exceptional Debbie Allen and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy returns for another year of the award-winning family spectacular, the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. Filmed last month at the Drive-Up Santa Monica Airport, this theatrical effort is powered by imaginative dance moves choreographed by Allen and Tony Award winner Savion Glover.
The plot finds three wisecracking rats narrating us into a laugh-out-loud adventure. Buoyed by an original score by Mariah Carey, Arturo Sandoval, James Ingram, and more, the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker is available for on-demand global streaming from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1. Tickets are $25 with the show available for viewing for 48 hours. This is a chance to see a sure-fire hit that resonates with audiences of all ages.
Check back to BET.com and BET Digital for more weekly installments of This Weekend.
Kevin L. Clark is a screenwriter and entertainment director for BET Digital, who covers the intersection of music, film, pop culture, and social justice. Follow him on @KevitoClark.