This February, we recognize Black History Month. To celebrate the many accomplishments brought about by African Americans over the years, here are four great movies to watch this month.
The first is “Black Panther.” Not only was this film a huge box office hit last year, but it marked a cornerstone for minorities in entertainment. The movie stars the first black superhero ever put on the big screen that was heavily pushed by a major studio such as Disney. Almost all of the talent both on screen and behind the scenes were black, which is still rare even now in 2019. “Black Panther” celebrated African cultures and presented black people as strong, wealthy and intelligent. Hopefully, its box office success will spur more films that do just that. Gone are the days where African Americans can only be slaves, poor or servants in movies.
The next movie to watch is “Moonlight,” directed by amateur filmmaker Barry Jenkins. This film features the life of a black boy named Chiron, and chronicles his life as he grows from a child into an adult in the ghetto. What is great about this film is that at no point does it ever feel like the movie exists simply to perpetuate the stereotype that black people are poor. Instead, it sheds some light on what life growing up in the ghetto is really like, and the hardships and choices people must face. “Moonlight” balances on a fine line between exploiting the ghetto and educating its viewers. The main character is also gay, which is monumental to put in a Black film. More movies today are dealing with the topic of being gay, but very little discuss what it is like to be Black and gay.
The third movie you must see is “Hidden Figures,” which is a true story starring Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer. The three women play NASA scientists during the Space Race in the 1960s. These characters prove to be vital in getting man to the moon.
This is a perfect movie to watch for Black History Month because it is a feel good movie starring supremely intelligent black women. You do not get a movie like that very often. It is still rare to get minorities as leads in films, but it is even rarer to have female minorities as leads. “Hidden Figures” has three of them. This is a beautiful film about the black experience in the ‘60s, and the persistence and motivation needed to overcome any odds. Not only is it funny, but also wonderfully acted out and earnestly heart-felt.
The fourth movie you must watch for Black History Month is “The Wiz.” If you are not familiar with it, this movie is essentially an alternate version of “The Wizard of Oz.” Diana Ross stars as Dorothy, Michael Jackson is the Scarecrow and Richard Pryor is the Wizard of Oz himself. The movie has some of the same story beats as the original film, such as Dorothy meeting up with a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion to walk down a yellow brick road towards Oz. However, this movie is basically the Black version of that. Instead of Kansas, Dorothy is from Harlem. Instead of showtoon style songs, all of the music is from Motown. Almost all of the actors are black, and there is an entirely different look to the film. It is a fun movie that puts a unique spin on a classic tale and celebrates all things Black within a whimsical setting. Oh, and the music is phenomenal.
So if you are looking for something good to watch or if you are looking for a way to celebrate Black History Month, then watch these four films. They will leave you inspired and ready to take on anything.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment