Wow. Has it really been 365 days since I posted my last movie tribute to Black History Month? I guess it has! I do hope that those of you who read last year’s post have been inspired to follow suit. By that, I mean dedicating some time, appreciating the cinematic contributions of the African Diaspora over the past century.
Like last year, don’t worry about what is or isn’t on this list. It’s not representative of Black Cinema in totality. It is simply what I choose to watch this time around (like I do with my “31 Days Of Horror Movies” in October).
Last year’s list was dedicated to the memory of the beautiful and talented Cicely Tyson, whom we lost before it posted. This year, my love and gratitude go out to another legend and pioneer for African American actors – Mr. Sidney Poitier, whose star sadly burned out from the Hollywood universe on January 6.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
28 Days Of Black Cinema (2022)
Movie synopses provided by the IMDb or the streaming service hosting it.
- In The Heat Of The Night (1967) Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger
A black Philadelphia police detective is mistakenly suspected of a local murder while passing through a racially hostile Mississippi town, and after being cleared is reluctantly asked by the police chief to investigate the case.
- A Choice Of Weapons: Inspired By Gordon Parks (2021) Various
Follows Gordon Parks’ stellar career from staff photographer for LIFE magazine, through his artistic development photographing everyday Americans, through his evolution as a novelist and groundbreaking filmmaker.
- Island In The Sun (1957) James Mason, Joan Fontaine, Dorothy Dandridge
Set during the 1950s on a British-ruled Caribbean island, this drama deals with local politics, interracial relationships, social inequality, racism, adultery, and murder.
- This Lady Called Life (2020) Bisola Aiyeola, Efa Iwara
Abandoned by her family, young single mother Aiye struggles to survive but stays focused on her dream of becoming an elite chef.
- Paul Robeson: Tribute To An Artist (1979) Paul Robeson
This documentary covers the life, career, and activism of Paul Robeson.
- Sankofa (1993) Kofi Ghanaba, Oyafunmike Ogunlano
A self-absorbed Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa is spiritually transported back to a plantation in the West Indies where she experiences first-hand the physical and psychic horrors of chattel slavery, and eventually the redemptive power of community and rebellion as she becomes a member of a freedom-seeking Maroon colony.
- Charm City Kings (2020) Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Meek Mill
Fourteen-year-old Mouse desperately wants to join the Midnight Clique, an infamous group of Baltimore dirt-bike riders who rule the summertime streets.
- Superfly (1972) Ron O’Neal, Carl Lee
The daily routine of cocaine dealer Priest who wants to score one more super deal and retire.
- Last Flight To Abuja (2012) Omotola Jalede-Ekeinde, Hakeem Kae-Kazim
Mid-air difficulties force a Nigerian commercial plane into an emergency landing with devastating consequences.
- 4 Little Girls (1997) Maxine McNair, Chris McNair
A documentary of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the Civil Rights Movement.
- Nappily Ever After (2018) Sanaa Lathan, Ricky Whittle
Violet Jones tired of waiting for her longtime boyfriend to propose, breaks up with him. But old feelings, and heaps of jealousy, no doubt, arise when he promptly begins dating another woman.
- I Called Him Morgan (2016) Lee Morgan, Helen Morgan
An exploration of the relationship between jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen, who was implicated in his murder in 1972.
- All Day And A Night (2020) Ashton Sanders, Jeffrey Wright
A young man who committed a homicide deals with the repercussions of his action.
- Buck And The Preacher (1972) Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte
A wagon master and a con-man preacher help freed slaves dogged by cheap-labor agents out West.
- Kalushi: The Story Of Solomon Mahlangu (2016) Thabo Rametsi, Thabo Malema
After the events of June 16th, Mamelodi township schoolboy-hawker Solomon Mahlangu joins the military wing of the ANC to fight against the brutal oppression of the Apartheid regime, and he ends up becoming an icon of South Africa’s liberation.
- Miss Evers’ Boys (1997) Alfre Woodard, Laurence Fishburne
The true story of the U.S. Government’s 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, in which a group of black test subjects were allowed to die, despite a cure having been developed.
- Fruitvale Station (2013) Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz
The story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.
- Cleopatra Jones (1973) Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casie
During the 1970s, U.S. Special Agent Cleopatra Jones proves to be an invaluable asset to the local police forces in the war on drugs.
- Cleopatra Jones And The Casino Gold (1975) Tamara Dobson, Stella Stevens
When fellow operatives (and childhood friends) Matthew Johnson and Melvin Johnson disappear during an undercover mission in Hong Kong, Cleopatra Jones travels there to find them.
- For Colored Girls (2010) Janet Jackson, Anika Noni Rose
Each of the women portray one of the characters represented in the collection of twenty poems, revealing different issues that impact women in general and women of color in particular.
- ’76 (2016) Efetobore Afatakpa, Tunde Alabi
The story is told from two points of view: that of a young pregnant woman, and that of her husband, a soldier accused of being involved in the 1976 military coup and assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, the Head-of-State of Nigeria.
- Light In The Dark (2020) Doddy Abili, Bimbo Ademoye
In the face of unspeakable pain, a couple must find a way to live and love again.
- Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (2013) Idris Elba, Naomie Harris
A chronicle of Nelson Mandela’s life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
- The Rape Of Recy Taylor (2017) Cynthia Erivo, Recy Taylor
Mrs. Recy Taylor was gang raped by six white boys in 1944 Alabama. Unbroken, she spoke up and fought for justice with help from Rosa Parks and legions of women.
- Mudbound (2017) Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan
Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.
- Atlantics (2019) Mame Bineta Sane, Amadou Mbow
In a popular suburb of Dakar, workers on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without pay for months, decide to leave the country by the ocean for a better future. Among them is Souleiman, the lover of Ada, promised to another.
- His House (2020) Sope Dirisu, Wunmi Mosaku
After the nightmare of their past, the house symbolizes a new beginning. The evil that lurks inside may not allow one.
- The Mirror Boy (2011) Genevieve Nnaji, Osita Iheme
A mystical journey through Africa, seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, Tijan. After a London street fight, in which a local boy is hurt, Tijan’s mother decides to take him back to their roots, to Gambia.
…and that’s it! What are some movies that you intend to watch this month? Please share in the Comments section below. I’d love to know. And don’t forget to sign up for email notification of new and future posts.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the month!