We can’t get through Black History Month without talking about the significance of Black film and how it has influenced the culture. Oscar Micheaux’s 20th-century race films were made to combat mistrial images of the era. Sir Sidney Poitier reigned in the 1960’s. There was the Blaxploitation era of the ’70s, Black City Cinema of the ‘90s and now there is a current resurgence of Black films. Like the rest of popular culture, Black folks have made their mark in movies. Though there is a vast list of acclaimed Black films, we chose some of the most unforgettable movies to watch during Black History Month.
F. Gary Grey’s feature film debut from the script written by Ice Cube was destined to be a classic. Fresh off his performance in Boyz n the Hood, Cube was clearly ready to write his own stories.
The film’s premise is simple; Craig (Ice Cube) is fired on his day off, and we watch what happens in the aftermath of the fallout. Joined by his homeboy Smokey (Chris Tucker), the men decide to get high and get into more shenanigans. The characters in Friday are what makes it so iconic. From Mrs. Parker to Felicia and obviously the late Bernie Mac’s Pastor Clever — the lines in the flicks are endlessly quotable.
Family and food will always be timeless for Black folk, and George Tillman Jr.’s 1997 flick Soul Food paired both of them together. The Chicago set film follows three grown sisters, Teri (Vanessa L. Williams), Maxine (Vivica A. Fox), and Bird (Nia Long) who are trying to come to grips with the death of their mother Big Mama (Irma P. Hall)
As the matriarch’s death begins to rip the family apart, it’s up to Maxine’s pre-teen son Ahmad (Brandon Hammond) to get the family back together again. We know you remember that scene when Vanessa Williams pulls that knife on her cheating husband.
The story was so dope that it spawned a long-running television series on Showtime.
In the Heat of the Night
Despite the racial politics of the time, Sir Sidney Poitier dominated the box office in the 1960’s, and one of his most memorable films was the 1967 flick, In the Heat of the Night. In the film, Poitier plays a straight-laced detective Virgil Tibbs, who heads to the South to help catch a murderer.
Obviously, the good ole boys don’t take too kindly to his presence. The film pretty much goes as one would expect for Hollywood during that time period except for the fact that Poitier slaps the sh*t out of the racist white sheriff. It was the first time a Black person had ever hit a white person in the movies.
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