I haven’t done a #MustWatch post in a long, long while. I plan to do more but only when I find documentaries or shows that really inspire me to tap more into my passions
That was the case when I watched one of the latest Netflix documentaries centering around the legendary Debbie Allen — dancer, choreographer, actress, producer, entrepreneur, and the list goes on! This woman has a resume miles long so when I saw that Netflix was doing a documentary on her (produced by Shonda Rhimes, no less!), I knew I would be watching! Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcrackergives viewers an inside look at Ms. Allen’s career, her dance academy, and her unique production of The Nutcracker that she puts on every year with hundreds of students!
But, of course, there’s valuable lessons to take away from the documentary as well.
I was able to watch Becoming, a Netflix documentary featuring former (but more like forever) First Lady Michelle Obama while on tour promoting her book of the same name. The documentary was directed by Nadia Hallgren and was made by Mrs. Obama and President Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, which currently has an exclusive deal with Netflix
I, like a good chunk of the world, have read Mrs. Obama’s book. I also had the opportunity to see her on her Becoming tour during her first night in DC (A DREAM!). If you’ve read the memoir, the documentary is a visual, condensed version of that but also includes footage from some of the tour stops (including the show I went to!), as well as community events, intimate moments with her family and staff, and more.
I’ve already read mixed reviews from news outlets, but I don’t really care. I found it to be a good documentary to inspire and motivate, especially in these crazy times we’re living in right now. And you know me. I always love finding takeaways to share with you all.
Todrick Hall is famously known for his elaborate mashups and music videos. I wouldn’t say I’m a stan, but I greatly admire his drive, creativity, and talent. This documentary on Todrick, appropriately called Todrick Hall: Behind The Curtain, came out on Netflix last year. I watched it then and planned to write on it but fell off. So when it popped up on my things to watch the other day, I had to watch it again and share how I felt.
The documentary gives viewers an in-depth look at Todrick’s life and career literally behind the curtain. From the good days to the bad days to the extremely busy and crazy days. Check out the trailer below!
Of course, there were some great takeaways from the film. Here are five gems that inspired me…
Even when Todrick was a kid, he was always different from other boys. Other little boys would be playing catch or other sports, but not him. Todrick enjoyed playing with dolls and making up stories about them, which would pave the way for what he does now. Though I’m sure that was hard for him, especially growing up, he stayed true to who he was and what he loved to do, even if others didn’t agree or thought he was weird. He was truly himself. He eventually got into theater, honing his craft of singing and dancing, which has opened the door wide open for what he does today.
After competing in American Idol and making it to the Top 16, Todrick created his own YouTube channel and created his own opportunities for music and production. I knew he was a serious hustler, but I didn’t know just how much until I watched this doc. Yall. This man did an entire visual album for his second album, Straight Outta Oz, in TWO WEEKS. Literally music videos for 16 songs with a full cast and crew in fourteen days. Then he went out on tour literally right after performing it as a musical with Broadway-level sets and costumes. Todrick was constantly running around working and planning, and was sometimes a disorganized hot mess, BUT he got things done. He was always creating something or rehearsing something, because he was truly committed to putting out great music and then a great show for his fans.
Bruh. I have no excuses anymore. While I’m all for self-care and sleep, sometimes you have to push harder and sacrifice some things to make the most of your time so you can get stuff done. And, let’s be honest. Sometimes, our need for self-care is really us just being lazy. We owe it to ourselves to give our all.
Being a gay, black man in this country was/is hard for Todrick. He still experiences homophobia even within his own family. In spite of that, Todrick used his art to express himself. His music not only tells his own story, but also takes a stand for equal rights for everyone, especially within the LGBTQ and African-American communities, and other important topics that other artists might stray away from, like gun control. That’s important because we live in a tumultuous time in this country where hate and drama seem to reign supreme.
Even though he’s Todrick Hall, and he’s famous, he still stops to talk to every fan who sees him passing by. He could be walking down the street, or in Walmart, and he makes the time. He takes what seems like a million pictures at meet and greets, always giving off this happy energy even if he’s probably dead tired. He seems so humble and down to earth, and I loved that about him.
Be An Inspiration
So many of Todrick’s supporters love his music, but they also are so inspired by his story. The fact that he has vulnerably opened up about his struggles and risen above them has literally saved people’s lives. People, young and old, straight and gay, white, black, Asian and other nations, look up to him so much. You see it all throughout this documentary the type of impact he has.
While most of us may never reach that level of impact in terms of numbers, it was a reminder that we can still be a positive role model and commit to being good to those around us. It could be people in our family, in our churches, in our communities, or even at the job. I stress that I am not perfect at this every day, nor is every day a good one, but I’m striving to be someone that uplifts people instead of puts them down with my words and actions. Not for my own glory, but for God’s and so others might be better.
I absolutely loved this documentary, so I hope you guys check it out on Netflix or Amazon. Once you do, or if you’ve seen it, tell me what you think in the comments!
I’m such a bingewatcher. Sitting down with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant bring me this incredible happiness and peace (though, in hindsight, I’ve become a homebody and am attempting to break out into the world more…mehhh). Anyway, I always rack up shows, movies and documentaries on my watchlists across the board, and finally decided to take the time to watch some of them as I began cranking out more ideas and content for this site.
As 2017 kicked off, I began to watch and read more films and books to shape my mentality for the things I wanted to accomplish this year. One of the films I had sitting in my watch list on Netflix was The Women’s List, a PBS documentary featuring 15 women in entertainment, business, politics, etc., including Alicia Keys, Edie Falco, Shonda Rhimes, Betsey Johnson and more.
Not only was it inspiring to watch because these are incredible WOMEN out here killing it in their respective fields, but there were a lot of great lessons throughout from these ladies. They all had moments of adversity or failure or setbacks, like we all do, and managed to keep going and reach success. It was crazy inspiring to watch, and had a lot of takeaways.
For example, one of the women featured, Sara Blakely (the inventor of Spanx), came up with and developed the idea for a whole year before she told a soul. Not even her family. The whole point is because when you first come up with your idea is when it’s at its most vulnerable. Giving yourself time to work before you tell anyone allows you to grow more confident before someone comes along with concerns, poking holes in your dreams and possibly deterring you. Smart lady!
I watched Betsey Johnson speak while in my bed laying on her sheets (no lie), and I’ve always loved how she’s uniquely herself at all times from her designs to her style to her opinions. A lesson I took away from her was to not be afraid of putting yourself out there and just pray that someone relates to you. Clearly that worked for her. Hopefully, others can relate to what I share here from me just being B.
Another big takeaway came from Wendy Williams, surprisingly. Now, I’m not a huge Wendy fan, but I can’t deny that she’s been able to build a major name for herself, so I respect her. The lesson she reminded me of? You can’t do it all…at least you can’t do it all WELL. It really is okay to ask for help or to say no. Which, for a perfectionist/mini control freak like me, is easier said than done, but I try to do better.
Anyways, I strongly suggest you guys check this out! It’s a great watch for anyone, male or female, but ladies, you will definitely feel so empowered after seeing this. You can view this amazing documentary now on PBS.org or on Netflix!