Dot (Jackée Harry), Amelia, and Maybelle performing in Jeb's church.
Dot (Jackée Harry), Amelia, and Maybelle

In the Family Reunion Christmas special, Jackée Harry guests stars, and the children are given a lesson on privilege.

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In the Family Reunion Christmas special, Jackée Harry guests stars, and the children are given a lesson on privilege.

Directed By Robbie Countryman
Written By Sa’rah L. Jones
Air Date (Netflix) 12/9/2019
Introduced This Episode
Dot Jackée Harry
Crystal Cooper Yindra Zayas


Innocent or Gullible?: Ami, Moz, Cocoa, Mazzi

With their youngest being 8, going on 9, it means she is the last one to believe in Santa and, of course, Cocoa and Moz are trying to hold onto that as long as they can. However, Mazzi tries to tarnish what could very well be some of the last years before Ami becomes a teen, and things could go downhill. So, as you can imagine, Moz and Cocoa are trying to steer him from revealing the truth and threaten him for challenging what they say in front of Ami.

Though in the end, with presents magically appearing while the family is out, it seems everyone’s belief in Santa and Christmas magic is renewed.

Do You Believe In Magic?: Shaka, Jade, Crystal, Jeb

Crystal Cooper (Yindra Zayas) talking to Jade and Shaka while going through their trash.
Crystal Cooper (Yindra Zayas)

How? Well, you can thank the combination of Jeb and Crystal for that. In terms of Jeb, his place in the magic is punishing Shaka and Jade for being ungrateful, wasteful, and privileged beyond his belief. So, to show them how the other side lives, he has them sleep in a tent in the backyard. Which, for reasons unknown, Moz and Cocoa say nothing about, and neither kid says a word to them – even as they are freezing outside.

Also, when Crystal shows up, rummaging through their trash, which is likely behind a property gate, nothing is said. Instead, a conversation ensues, and Crystal assumes Jade and Shaka are homeless – despite the giant, likely pricey tent they are in. But, who knows, maybe Crystal’s focus was more on finding bottles than taking note how nice of a tent these kids came out of and how Jade’s manicure looks fresh?

Either way, Crystal, in all her kindness, shows how the homeless stay warm and even gifts her gloves to Jade and Shaka. Also, she talks about the limited spaces in shelters and their services. Leading to, later on, Jade and Shaka wanting to pay her back, or at least pay it forward, and it seems between that and Amelia reconciling with her sister, Crystal, who is a Christmas Elf, made sure the family got all they wished for.

Sister, You Been On My Mind: Dot, Amelia, Maybelle, Cocoa, Jeb

Dot (Jackée Harry) talking to her sisters.
Dot (Jackée Harry)

While Maybelle and Amelia are close, Dot has been on the outs for 40 years – at least with Amelia. Someone who has never forgiven her for breaking up their group and going solo. In fact, it has hurt her so deeply that something as small as taking a bingo card has led Amelia to stop talking to her sister for more than a year.

However, Jeb and Cocoa find themselves helping the sisters reconnect. Jeb through threatening to have their rivals perform at his church and Cocoa? Well, with Amelia swimming in the “What If,” Cocoa pushes her to focus more on the what is. Be it the children who came after Moz, the family he produced, and so much more. And with that in mind, Dot is genuinely forgiven and gets to perform with Smokey, without issue, and have her sisters too.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Is what you missed better than what you have?
— Cocoa



Noting The Plight Of The Homeless

While this show isn’t likely going to bring up the homeless again and take it as far as Bigger did, you have to appreciate any and all reminders that we’re looking at a very privileged family. One with a house that can fit that many people, where the father can retire at such a young age, and still take care of his kids and that they have a supportive family. For many, that isn’t the case.

Heck, taking note of Crystal, many find themselves going through the trash and hoping for unintended handy downs to make their Christmas special, alongside what meager services the government and charities provide. Which, don’t get me wrong, are better than nothing, but with so few resources available, it makes a hard situation ever the more challenging. So, while the show, unfortunately, didn’t note names or numbers to donate, a nod is better than nothing.

The Dynamic Between Loretta Devine, Jackée Harry, and Telma Hopkins

Dot (Jackée Harry), Amelia, and Maybelle striking a pose while performing.
Dot (Jackée Harry), Amelia, and Maybelle

They better not have Harry show up just for this episode and then disappear. Heck, at the very least, have her in a similar capacity as Daniel where, even if she doesn’t show up every episode, they give her room to make a scene and leave a memory when she does show up. For truly, as much as we need to recognize Harry is consistently working, including having series regular roles, there is just something about her guest-starring on this one that feels different.

Mind you, not because of her connection to Mowry-Hardict but there just being something here that feels like she truly was an estranged family member you are so glad came back into the fold.


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Noting The Plight Of The Homeless - 85%
The Dynamic Between Loretta Devine, Jackée Harry, and Telma Hopkins - 86%


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