Black History Month Film Recommendations

3 min read

Hannah Smith ’26

Staff Writer

In honor of Black History Month, here is a list of films made by some extraordinary Black filmmakers who deserve so much more credit than they have received up until now. “Sorry to Bother You” is one of the most bizarre films I have ever seen.

This science fiction comedy directed by Boots Riley starring LaKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson should be watched with absolutely no prior knowledge. The same goes for Juel Taylor’s “They Cloned Tyrone.” Starring John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris, this film is a combination of “The Truman Show” and “Get Out” in the best way possible.

This list would not be complete without Spike Lee. “Do The Right Thing” is an absolute classic that I always find myself recommending to anyone who will listen. “One Night in Miami,” directed by Regina King, follows a fictionalized friend group consisting of Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Cassius Clay, and Jim Brown who make up arguably the most powerful team ever assembled as they discuss their lives while living through the Civil Rights Movement.

Speaking of Regina King, she was awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking love stories based off the James Baldwin novel by the same name. Keep an eye out for “American Fiction” at this year’s Oscars. This drama comedy is a satirical commentary on white wokeness and it is genuinely hilarious. Similarly, “The Blackening” hysterically draws attention to the stupidity of slasher films and their treatment of Black people who are consistently killed off within the first few minutes of the film.

If you are looking for a great horror film, the 2021 “Candyman” directed by Nia DaCosta combines art and ghost stories to create this terrifying addition to the “Candyman” film series. “Guava Island” is basically a 50-minute long music video for Childish Gambino with Rihanna filled with a moving storyline and great music set in paradise. Going back a few years, “Love & Basketball” is one of the most well-made sports films that perfectly explores the relationship of two star athletes being pulled apart by their careers, but always finding their way back to one another. “Fruitvale Station” stars a young Michael B. Jordan playing a man recently released from prison who attempts to work his way back into the lives of his girlfriend and daughter. Based on real events, this crime thriller is a reminder of police brutality and blatant racism in America.

“I Am Not Your Negro” and “13th” are two documentaries from 2016 directed by Raoul Peck and Ava DuVernay respectively. The first is a continuation of James Baldwin’s unfinished book, “Remember This House.” Samuel L. Jackson narrates Baldwin’s stories regarding the lives and deaths of Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King, Jr., focusing on their work during the Civil Rights Movement. “13th” looks at racial injustice and the incarceration rates of African Americans throughout history. DuVernay is an incredibly talented director and screenwriter, so I highly recommend looking at some of her other work if you enjoy this film.

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