You’ve heard about the war-torn Middle East: the civil unrest, religious conflicts, political corruption. But to what depths have you seen it? Filmed over three years on the borders of Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Kurdistan, this documentary is a gripping visual narrative of those communities in conflict, the constant shift of power and the culture that remains. With gorgeous cinematography and a real-life plot that pulls you in until the end, you better not hold your breath — because you might not get it back.
This Brazillian sci-fi-drama takes George Orwell’s Big Brother to the next level. Only this time, the trope comes in the form of a tiny, fly-like drone following you everywhere you go. At first, humanity’s new bug overlords seem to be a net positive: After all, crime has all been eliminated in this futuristic society. However, as the TV series progresses, the protagonist, Nina, begins to have doubts, especially after she finds her father shot dead. Because the law of this fictional land doesn’t allow people to access the drones’ feeds, Nina has to find answers for herself … even if that means taking down the entire system.
You won’t find a more likable thief than Assane Diop, whose brilliant mind and suave demeanor jump off the screen. Which is to say that if his disguise as a janitor to steal Marie Antoinette’s necklace doesn’t impress you, at least the way he rocks a three-piece suit while doing it will. Inspired by Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar — the titular character of French novelist Maurice Leblanc’s classic mystery stories — this Netflix adaptation explores the one motive above all else that drives Diop into his criminal actions, providing intriguing character development in tandem with nonstop action. It’s become a personal favorite of Dr. Christina Greer, OZY’s editor-at-large, who was thrilled and relieved to hear there will be another season. “It’s soooo good,” she says.
Award-winning actress Cicely Tyson passed away this week, leaving behind a legacy that hardly fits into words. Luckily in Just As I Am, the lead actress does it for us. From a soft-spoken church girl in Harlem to a six-decade-long career in Hollywood, the Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient retells her life story of how she became the icon for strong Black women everywhere in a memoir that’s a testament to why you shouldn’t give up. May she rest in power.
In this sci-fi fantasy dominated by strong female leads, the villain is more contagious than COVID — all it takes is you looking the diseased in the eye to catch it. And by it, we mean an affliction that turns you into a flesh-eating monster. Released this week, the latest Katharyn Blair page turner follows Charlotte Holloway’s search for purpose while being overshadowed by her older sister, a leader of the survivors, and a younger sister who is fated to find the cure. That search becomes even more complicated when, after their settlement is raided, Charlotte lies to save her siblings. Now she must prove herself, as the future of the world lies in her hands.
3. Infinite Country
As a child, Talia’s father took her to America to escape civil and social unrest in Colombia. But they find themselves separated after being deported, with her stuck in a women’s correctional facility in the mountains of Mexico while her father waits in anguish with a desperate plan to get them both back to their relatives in the United States. Written by Patricia Engel, a Colombian American author and the daughter of immigrants herself, Infinite Country is a rugged look into migration and undocumented America as Talia’s chances of reuniting with her family tick away.
4. Remote Control
Her looks kill — literally: One touch and it’ll be the last thing you feel. Her name is Sankofa, and she is the daughter of death. Set in futuristic Africa, this sci-fi thriller is the latest from Nnedi Okorafor, who has made a living merging Nigerian culture with magic realism.Remote Controlcenters around female empowerment and community as Sankofa searches for the meteor that made her this way. What she finds, however, is so much more.
Did you know urinary tract infections are the second most common infection in the U.S.? And yet for decades, there’s been no real innovation on how to handle this massive public health issue … until now. It’s time to get to know Uqora. After contracting eight UTIs in a single year, Uqora’s founder was inspired to collaborate with doctors and scientists to find a better way. Uqora specializes in UTI relief and proactive urinary tract health supplements. With more than 7,000 five-star reviews, the results are clear: You can do better than cranberry juice. Take 20 percent off your first order here.
Brazilian musical duo Anavitória, featuring Ana Caetano and Vitória Falcão, will permeate your senses with their newest album, COR — even if you can’t understand a single Portuguese word they’re saying. Their folk and pop sounds serve as a refreshing palate cleanser to modern pop’s obsession with hip-hop. Unexpectedly released on Jan. 1 to ring in the new year, the three-letter title is meant to represent the artists’ union of their bodies, spirits and minds in producing their third original album under the confines of COVID.
2. Living Corporate
When less than 3 percent of executives and senior manager-level employees are Black, the African American corporate experience can be lonely. This podcast fills the void for Black professionals looking for solidarity in the workplace by amplifying voices of color and holding genuine discussions on workplace discrimination, intersectional identity and other important issues.
3. It’s Just a Talk
Hosted by Bay Area educator Mauricio Amaral, this biweekly queer Latinx podcast for millennials tackles various topics such as sexuality, politics and culture. The effect can be a bit disorienting at times: One episode goes from thoughts on the Capitol insurrection to discussing Real Housewives, only to circle back with an update on COVID at the end. The podcast aims to “talk tea, talk truth and talk shit,” a mix that Amaral and his team nail to a tee.
1. Island Living
Why work from home with islands begging for company? Destinations like Barbados, Bermuda, Antigua and the African island nation of Mauritius have all launched one-year, tax-friendly digital nomad visas to attract stir-crazy professionals, with some even promising to drop the upfront charge in expectation of business, now that there’s a vaccine. Similarly, resorts like Vakkaru in the Maldives are offering nomad workers special packages, with ocean-view villa upgrades and office supplies, among other perks. As if an excuse was ever needed, going on vacay to work might even be in your best interest with these travel-friendly deals.
2. Xochimilco Canals
If you want a vacation and history lesson in one trip, the Xochimilco Canals of Mexico City are your surest bet. The ruins of the former Aztec capital are littered with canals and floating gardens called chinampas, allowing the former Mesoamerican empire’s ingenuity to shine hundreds of years later. At the place once known as “the Venice of Mexico,” you can tour these ancient water systems on colorful gondola-like boats.
Imagine lying on your back with someone you love, looking up at the most brilliant stars you’ve ever seen in the middle of an African desert … all from an open-air tent under the softest linens you’ve ever slept in. Africa’s “star-beds” are offering just that in the newest trend for safari lovers. The arrangements are luxurious, enough to make a cross-continent trip for a good night’s rest well worth it — although, between camel rides and helicopter excursions, you might not actually spend all that much time in bed anyway.