Although Black History Month takes place during the shortest month of the year, it is still a time to take pause to celebrate Black History. At MCCN we celebrate culture all year round. The Black Diaspora is wide-reaching. Our list tells of stories from countries including Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Gambia and the United States. It celebrates leaders such as Stephen Biko, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela to the unsung hero. It acknowledges the so-called “dirty little secret of race mixing” which is prominent in the American story. Almost every Black American has European ancestry. Conversely, many caucasian Americans have no idea their lineage may include an African-American light enough to pass to begin a new life as a White person. The book “One Drop” also addresses this issue. Without further ado, MCCN’s Black History Movie List.
Roots– Written by Alex Haley, Roots was the TV movie that shocked America. Never, had the imagery of slavery in America been depicted onscreen. It made people angry. It made people sad and apologetic but most importantly it brought enlightenment to millions of people. Every parent regardless of race should educate and share this film with their children. The story begins with Kunte Kinte being abducted from the shores of Gambia.
Amistad– Directed by Stephen Spielberg and starring an unknown actor back in 1997, Djimon Hounsou, Amistad is a story of About a 1839 mutiny aboard a slave ship that is traveling towards the northeastern coast of America. Much of the story involves a court-room drama about the free man who led the revolt. Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins star.
Invictus – Many films have produced about Nelson Mandela but this story tells of his political life intertwined with the world of Rugby. As a former athlete, Mandela understood the power and influence of sports. He identified its ability to unify people. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon star.
Sally Hemings: An American Scandal or Jefferson in Paris: This is the story of former President Thomas Jefferson and his slave/mistress Sally Hemings. Thomas Jefferson is still one the most celebrated presidents in American history so the story of his mistress, his descendants with Black skin living in a America is a hard pill to swallow for some. Visit Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. They have accepted incorporating some discussion of Hemings in the tours. Thandie Newton stars in the 1995 Jefferson in Paris but the more popular forbidden love story of Jefferson and Hemings is the TV movie, Sally Hemings, An American Scandal.
Malcolm X- When this movie was in theaters I didn’t love it but I did appreciate. I did read Alex Hailey’s biography of Malcolm X and like people who appreciate a book the movie don’t quite appeal in the same way. But over the years, it has been a classic with moving performances by Angela Basset and Oscar worthy performance by Denzel Washington. And we even have the famous quote, “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.”
Hidden Figures- Story of 3 African American women worked and NASA and one who pivotal to John Glenn’s peace of mind because of his confidence in her brilliance. See Film and Foodie Review.
Selma– A very humanizing and layering picture of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Selma is a moving story and unsettling story about the true uphill battle over true voting rights for African Americans without hinderance.
Hotel Rwanda – Starring and produced by Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda is a film which reminds us of Holocausts repeating its cycle throughout the world. How long do super power countries turn a blind eye toward crimes against humanity? It also recognizes sometimes we do not want to be heroes but we need to be heroes.
We have 10 More Films on the list. READ MORE
This list is composed by Crystal A. Johnson, MCCN Editor, a film critic with a masters in English/ Screenwriting. Her undergraduate minor is in history from Historically Black University, Morgan State University. She is also a video production coach.