There’s no better time to catch up on your Black Pop Culture than during Black History Month. Whether it’s a historically based film or a comedy, “black” films tend to be underrated. If you haven’t seen these films before now’s as good a time as any to see what you’ve been missing.
1. The Best Man
The 90s were a great time for Black films. This film is a hilarious dramedy focusing on Harper, a novelist, who’s recently written a book based on his college days. However, the books contains a secret that Harper has been hiding from his best friend, Lance, who is about to get married. Filled with a very attractive cast this movie will have you laughing, crying, and gasping all the way through.
2. The Wood
1999 was clearly a good year for films that revolved around a wedding and a group of guys. Friends, Mike, Slim, and Roland, reminiscence on their high school days (shown in flashbacks) as Roland prepares to get married (or maybe not). Showing the hilarity of a man (or boy’s) mind this one is definitely a goodie.
3. Love & Basketball
Seriously, if you haven’t seen this film before I just can’t. I love this movie. Following two kids from the first day they meet on the basketball court all the way through their college years we get to see all the drama, laughs, and fights that define their relationship. As they say in the film, “Nothing’s fair in love and basketball.”
4. Remember the Titans
Again, another movie everyone should watch. Classic film. What I love about this movie is it deals with the issues of segregation in a way that keeps people interested but also makes it clear that this isn’t just for entertainment. This film tells the story of integration and how a football team was able to bring together two different groups of people in a way that hadn’t been done in that town before. Amazing.
5. The Great Debaters
Another amazingly moving film. This film not only has a great cast (Denzel Washington and Forest Whittaker amongst so many others) but was also directed by Washington and produced by Oprah Winfrey. The movie itself is great because it deals with a time that many don’t talk about. The time between the Reconstruction Period and the start of the Civil Rights movement. It has been argued that the civil rights movement started long before Martin Luther King, Jr. was around and I think this movie kind of shows that. Many stories of African-Americans doing great things has been lost to an American history that lacks color. The thing that I love most about this movie is it shows people there’s more to Black History than just the big names. There’s so many others that have been forgotten and people need to be reminded of that.
6. The Butler
If you’re looking for something a little more recent this movie was fantastic. Forest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey did a great job in this movie. What makes it so inspiring is it shows two different generations of African-Americans: one who grew up being taught to be silent and respect the white man and one who challenged those ideas. I still can’t believe it didn’t get nominated for any Oscar. A shame.
7. The Color Purple
Based on the novel written by Alice Walker, this film tells the story of Celie, along with many other African-American women during the 1930s. The story demonstrates the trials these women faced, how they overcame them, and how some didn’t. I think this movie gets a bad rap sometimes because it’s not the easiest movie to watch but that’s because it deals with tough issues that can make people feel uncomfortable. However, I think it’s a great film and the musical was awesome as well, though it’s sadly no longer running.
8. Coming to America
I love Eddie Murphy. I think he is absolutely hilarious and talented. Playing multiple roles in this movie, he shows the story of a African prince traveling to America to find his Queen which of course leads him to Queens, NY. Naturally hilarity ensues as Prince Akeem (Murphy) pretends to be a normal American and falls in love.
Out of the whole trilogy (though supposedly they’re making a fourth one) this is the funniest one. Ice Cube and Chris Tucker make a hilarious pair. These two friends go through their Friday running from gangsters trying to kill them, trying to get money, and just plain trying to survive. These two are hilarious as is the whole cast. Definitely a movie to watch.
10. Set It Off
Last but certainly not least is Set It Off. This cast is filled with four amazing black actresses. The premise is four women getting even with a system that they feel is against them and in a way most certainly is. Obviously I’m not saying robbing banks was the best solution but it definitely makes for a good movie. A must see!
There are way more films that could be added to this list but for now I’ll leave you with these. Definitely try to expand your horizons this Black History Month by not only watching movies but actually learning about black history. Enjoy!