These Movies Encapsulate The Black And Afro-Latino Experience From Sci-Fi To Documentaries
What are you doing to celebrate Black History Month? If your answer is something such as “what can I do?” Here’s a tip: lots! Education and understanding is the first step at correcting ignorance of other cultures. We’ve narrowed down the best movies about the Black experience that will feed your soul and your mind. While some of these may be fictional (even sci-fi), there’s still an abundance of truth within them. This kind of binge-watching is actually good for you, so happy Black History Month!
While many of us might be in interracial relationships, these legal unions weren’t always allowed. If it weren’t for the love and bond between Mildred and Richard Loving, many of us wouldn’t be able to get married simply because of the color of our skin. “Loving” tells the story of this extraordinary couple who fought for love and won.
Being Black is hard enough, now imagine what that must feel like for a gay Black boy. The discrimination and bigotry toward this community, within their own community, is horrific, which why this movie is so important to witness.
“The Color Purple”
Based on the book by Alice Walker, “The Color Purple” shows what life for Black people was like during the slave era and its lasting repercussions. The movie is powerful, moving, and unforgettable.
If you watch this movie without knowing it’s a true story, there’s no way someone would ever fathom that something like a Black man infiltrating the KKK could be possible. But it is, which makes this movie even better. Directed by Spike Lee, and based on the story of Ron Stallworth, the film not only looks at life for Black people post Civil Rights movement, but how it is today.
Yes, “Get Out” is a scary af movie, but what makes it scarier is understanding how the feelings of being in the “Sunken Place” is very accurate and very real. Gentrification isn’t something that can just happen in communities; it can also occur to your mind.
This movie starring a young Denzel Washington tells the story of American Muslim minister and human rights activist, Malcolm X. While he and Martin Luther King Jr valued the same equality, they had very different beliefs on how to achieve that. This film focuses on his life, his work, and his legacy.
“Wakanda Forever” isn’t a make-believe place that exists in another world. It is also a state of mind. That is something that will resonate with you after watching “Black Panther” which is way more than a superhero movie.
If you genuinely want to feel depressed but also educated you must watch this Ava DuVernay-documentary. It will not only school you on the incredibly unjust justice system in the country, but it will also show how America has been against Black people from the very start.
“Sorry To Bother You”
One of the trippest movies about the Black experience has to be “Sorry To Bother You” about what it’s like trying to get out of poverty while being Black and seeking to climb that social ladder.
Trying to be beautiful as a brown person isn’t an easy thing, especially when society tells you the white and straight hair is better. In “Pelo Malo” — bad hair— we meet a young Venezuelan boy who wants to straighten his curly hair and as a result, causes tension with himself and his single mom.
Written by Alex Haley — “Roots” became a phenomenon as a mini-series not only for an extraordinary cast but more important because of its historical value. The story centers around a slave named Kunta and his family, which begins in the 1800s. It’s a compelling look at slavery in America and what people will do for their freedom.
“The Pursuit of Happyness”
Chris Gardner, a single father of a young boy, is a smart man, there’s no question about that. However, being an intelligent Black man sometimes isn’t enough in this country. This true story shows what exact determination looks like, and what the human spirit is capable of especially when you’re trying to raise a family.
While many of us might know the story of Martin Luther King, some of us don’t understand the kind of work he did in communities that resulted in his massive legacy. “Selma” shows precisely that.
“Black In Latin America”
What does being Black actually mean? The answer to that is the focus to this 2011 documentary starring Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. who explores “how Africa and Europe came together to create the rich culture of Latin America and the Caribbean.” The documentary features Black people from six countries including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru.
“Standing in the Shadows of Motown”
To understand the birth of rock and roll is to realize that it began with the rhythm and blues, which is a sound that was created by black singers and musicians. “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” is a documentary that shows how America embraced the sound and music of Black people but only when a white man was singing it.
“12 Years a Slave”
When we see movies about slavery, for some reason, they always take place in the south. One reason for that is because there were Black people on the northeast coast that were living as free people. “12 Years A Slave,” tells the true story of one such Black man that was educated, a musician, and was free, until he wasn’t.
Black boys that live in poverty in the inner city who dream about getting out of that situation can at times only turn to their talents as their ticket out. For some it could be as artists, for others it can be sports. “Hoop Dreams” looks at the lives of a few young men in Chicago who have aspirations of going pro in the NBA. However, sometimes their reality can keep them from getting there. This is an extraordinary documentary about what it looks like to have a desire to improve your life.
“City of God”
Someone’s life can dramatically be different if only they made a left turn instead of a right. For two friends growing up in Rio — and in one of the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods in the world – one chooses to be a photographer while the other gets involved in the drug world. But are they all that different especially when they’re from the same place?
Police brutality in the U.S. is a real thing that had existed long before we ever had cell phones to capture it. “Fruitvale Station” is a true story about a young Black man who was killed at the hands of police, thankfully because of good people watching out for each other, we can know the truth about what happened that night.
“Buena Vista Social Club”
When Fidel Castro took over Cuba, it’s as if time stood still and even the music of that time was erased simply because of politics. In this documentary, we meet old Cuban musicians that reunite to bring back the music of pre-Castro when Cuba was still thriving, which in turn jump starts their musical career once again.
Former President Barack Obama made history when he was elected the first Black president of the United States, so his story is a crucial one to know. In “Barry” we see how the young man came to be one of the most believed presidents of all time.