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Full disclosure: I’m off thoroughly enjoying this down week between Christmas and New Year’s.
But you should know I would never leave you without some thoughts on new content – because quiet as it’s kept, what to watch, listen to and talk about is never far from my thoughts.
And maybe you’ve got some time to fill too?
Three things to watch
‘The Witcher: Blood Origin’
Toss a coin to a prequel.
Set 1200 years before “The Witcher,” this new miniseries “tells the story of seven strangers who join together to fight an unstoppable empire.”
I’m not big into fantasy content, I will confess, but it’s good to see Michelle Yeoh starring in a project that already has a broad fanbase, thanks to the success of the wider “Witcher” world on Netflix (and beyond).
It’s streaming now on Netflix.
‘Lizzo: Live in Concert’
Let’s just go ahead and call 2022 the year of Lizzo.
From winning an Emmy for her Amazon series, “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” to serving as the host and musical guest on “SNL” – twice – and being on tour, she’s been super busy and super booked.
But not too busy to film a live concert that airs on HBO Max (which is owned by CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery) on New Year’s Eve. Prepare to sing out the old and dance in the new. Are you ready?
Learning can be fun – and should be fun! No one knows that better than the folks over at PBS Kids.
Take a trip to “City Island,” a new series of animated shorts meant to teach civics. Its episodes address topics like cooperation, conflict resolution and urban planning in the hopes of fostering a better understanding of how cities and communities work.
The first ten episodes are streaming now.
Two things to listen to
There aren’t any new album releases to get super excited about this week, so let’s look back at two of the best of the past year.
To quote Adele, the artist of my life is Beyoncé and she gave me everything with “Renaissance.”
It was worth the wait alone for the “Cuff It” dance challenge videos that flooded social media, not to mention all the other danceable tracks. I’ve already started my fund to secure tickets for the inevitable tour.
The only disappointment is that “Renaissance” wasn’t a visual album, though I don’t think my heart could have withstood whatever Queen Bey would have done to illustrate the record’s sexiest single, “Thique.”
You know an album is serious when you don’t even have to be able to understand what the artist is saying to love it.
My Spanish may be rusty, but my ears work just fine. That’s why I’m a huge fan of reggaeton artist Bad Bunny’s “Un Verano Sin Ti.” And given that it was the year’s most-streamed album on Spotify, I know I am not alone.
It’s both an ode to heartbreak and a call to get your groove – I am here for every single note. “Yo No Soy Celoso” and “Tití Me Preguntó” have been on heavy rotation for me.
Bien hecho, Bad Bunny!
One thing to talk about
Very few celebrities cause me to go into fangirl mode, but Dionne Warwick absolutely did.
I was blessed to interview her for the upcoming CNN documentary, “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over.”
I had always thought Warwick – the first Black woman to win a Grammy for a pop song – was in a league of her own with her elegance, grace and that voice. Talking to her just reaffirmed that. It was a personal and a professional thrill.
You will see what I mean when you watch the documentary, which premieres January 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT as part of CNN’s New Year’s Day programming.
Something to sip on
We lost more than a few celebrities in 2022, but for me the recent death of Stephen “tWitch” Boss has been one that particularly resonated.
Not that every life isn’t incredibly valued and important to note, but Boss’s death by suicide has stirred some much-needed conversations about mental health, especially when it comes to Black men.
Life is hard for all of us, and the loss of someone who seemed to have so much happiness – including a great family and a wonderful career – should make us all stop to reflect on how depression doesn’t always look as we imagine.
In addition to his legacy of love and joy, I’d like to think Boss also leaves behind an awareness that could save others. I’m so sorry he wasn’t able to be among that group of survivors.
Taking care of yourselves and looking out for each other is the absolute best New Year’s resolution I could ever imagine.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to connect with a trained counselor or visit the Lifeline site.