It’s Black History Month, and at a time when White Supremacy has reached alarming new levels of normalcy in our country (including among elected members of congress), it’s more important than ever that those of us who oppose racism and structural violence (fortunately, the majority of Americans), become part of the solution as opposed to adding to the problem. One tiny step we can take towards that end is to support movies and shows that are produced, directed and star artists of color and that tell stories about a diverse array of African American lives. Following are a few recommendations to get us started…
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (1967, Prime): Every bit as poignant and engaging as when it first came out, this extraordinary comedy features an all-star cast helmed by Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and masterfully interweaves humor, romance and social justice. If you’ve never seen it, I urge you to do so now. If you have, see it again. It bears repeating.
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (Series – Hulu, 2020): Based on the critically lauded novel by Celeste Ng, this compelling drama explores race, gender, sexuality and economic equality from a variety of diverse perspectives via the intersecting lives of three mothers and their children. It’s moving, chilling and unforgettable. Don’t watch it alone. You will need to discuss it after viewing at length.
BRIDGERTON (Series – Netflix, 2020): Okay, I’m just come out and gonna say it: Shonda Rimes is a crazy-talented, super-goddess genius. Who else could create a series that is essentially the love child of an over-the-top Harlequin-style romance novel and a glamourous nighttime soap with the wit and sensibility of Jane Austen and fabulously sexy, yet classy cast reflecting a diverse array of skin tones, body shapes and sexual fluidity? It’s deliciously decadent, highly addictive and very likely the most fun you can have in a pandemic with your clothes on. This woman should be greenlit to create anything she wants.
SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT (1986, Netflix): The feature film debut of director Spike Lee celebrates the independence of a young African American woman making her way in New York City while enjoying a sexually liberated lifestyle. The film is still groundbreaking for its representation of Black characters at a time when there was a dearth of diversity in film.
THE COLOR PURPLE (1985, Hulu /HBO Max): This epic film tells the story of a woman who overcomes a lifetime of domestic abuse and racism. Based on the novel from Alice Walker, the film features breakout performances from Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.
HIDDEN FIGURES (2016, Hulu): Inspired by the true-life story of African-American female scientists who helped launch the NASA space program, this film tells the story of the racism these pioneers faced in the segregated Deep South and their ultimate triumph over both Jim Crow and the male dominated space program.
Isabel will be back next month when we all return full time to BTB again. See you in March!
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