…and just like that, the first month of the new year is “history”. While we’re talking about history, it’s also that time to celebrate Black history. Black History Month to be specific.
If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you know that I kick this month off with my annual watch list, honoring the creativity and performances of members of the African Diaspora in film.
Now some of you newer readers may wonder why certain iconic movies are not included in the following titles. The answer is simple: I try to give a different list of projects each year so as to pay tribute to as much as the month will allow. Some of these films you might find on streaming services, some in your personal library and some you will have to find at your local library. That being said…
Let’s get to it, shall we?
Here are my recommendations for:
28 Days Of Black Cinema (2023)
Movie synopses provided by the Internet Movie Database.
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira
The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T’Challa.
- Mother Of George (2013) Danai Gurira, Isaach De Bankole’
Adenike and Ayodele, a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn, are having trouble conceiving a child – a problem that defies cultural expectations and leads Adenike to make a shocking decision that could either save or destroy her family.
- Till (2022) Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Frankie Faison
In 1955, after Emmett Till is murdered in a brutal lynching, his mother vows to expose the racism behind the attack while working to have those involved brought to justice.
- Shanty Town (2023) Sola Sobowale, Nancy Isime
A group of courtesans attempts to escape the grasp of a notorious kingpin- but political corruption and blood ties make freedom a near – impossible goal.
- A Jazzman’s Blues (2022) Joshua Boone, Amirah Vann, Solea Pfeiffer
Follows an investigation into an unsolved murder unveiling a story full of forbidden love, deceit and a secret.
- Learn How To Swim (2021) Thomas antony Olajide, Emma Ferreira
Two contemporary jazz musicians develop a stormy and tragic romance.
- Justice Served (2022) Moopi Mothibeli, Morne Visser
A band of freedom fighters invade the trial of a white police officer who shot a Black man and a hostage situation unfolds on screens nationwide.
- Emancipation (2022) Will Smith, Charmaine Bingwa
A runaway slave forges through the swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey to escape plantation owners that nearly killed him.
- The Banker (2020) Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nia Long
In the 1960s two African American entrepreneurs hire a working-class white man to pretend to be the head of their business empire while they pose as a janitor and chauffeur.
- A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But A Sandwich (1977) Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfiled, Larry B. Scott
A troubled boy becomes addicted to heroin, and his mother and foster father help him fight it.
- The Wiz (1978) Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell
An adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” that tries to capture the essence of the African-American experience.
- The Woman King (2022) Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch
A historical epic inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Skin (2008) Sophie Okonedo
Based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era.
- Truck Turner (1974) Isaac Hayes, Yaphet Kotto
While tracking a strong-armed pimp who has skipped bail, a bounty hunter discovers a contract has been put out on him and must go on the run.
- Porgy And Bess (1959) Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr.
A woman whose past is scorned by nearly everyone around her meets a man who’d love her regardlessly- if only everyone else would allow them to.
- Breaking (2022) John Boyega, Nicole Beharie
A Marine war veteran faces mental and emotional challenges when he tries to reintegrate into civilian life.
- All Day And A Night (2020) Ashton Sanders, Jeffrey Wright
A young man who committed a homicide deals with the repercussions of his action.
- Fatherhood (2021) Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard
A father brings up his baby girl as a single dad after the unexpected death of his wife who died a day after their daughter’s birth.
- Middle Of Nowhere (2012) Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Lorraine Toussaint
Ruby goes on a journey of self-discovery when she drops out of medical school in order to focus on her incarcerated husband’s well-being.
- Race (2016) Stephan James
Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.
- Amistad (1997) Djimon Hounsou
In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
- Black Caesar (1973) Fred Williamson, Gloria Hendry
Raised in Harlem, Tommy Gibbs becomes a successful mob boss but he clashes with the rival Mafia and his old enemy, dirty cop McKinney.
- Cry Freedom (1987) Denzel Washington
South African journalist Donald Woods is forced to flee the country after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend, the Black anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko.
- St. Louis Blues (1958) Nat ‘King’ Cole, Eartha Kitt, Cab Calloway
The story of W. C. Handy, the undisputed father of the blues.
- The Last King Of Scotland (2006) Forest Whittaker, Kerry Washington
Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin’s regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s.
- Silverton Siege (2022) Thabo Rametsi, Noxolo Diamini
Follows three young freedom fighters who seek refuge in a South African bank in Silverton, and take the bank and its customers hostage and would only release them in exchange for the release of Nelson Mandela.
- King Richard (2021) Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis
A look at how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams.
- Is That Black Enough For You? (2022) Elvis Mitchell, Margaret Avery, Harry Belafonte
Tracks the history of Black cinema, focused mainly on the ’70s, with archival and new interviews with many of the key players from the era.
…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 at the bottom for email notification of new and future posts.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the month!
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Great list! 👍🏽
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you! I hope you get to catch a few of them this month.