February is almost over but there is still time to learn more about Black History Month. There are many great films that you can watch during this important month. These films can spark up conversations about prominent figures and the obstacles they faced. Here is a list of a few films you can watch that will guide you to a better understanding of what this month is meant for.
1. The Color Purple (1985)
Based on Alice Walker’s heartbreaking novel, “The Color Purple” is the pivotal story of Celie Johnson and the hardships she faced as a black woman in early 20th century America. Though the story is a personal and fictionalized account, the trials and tribulations that Celie endured were representatives of entire generations of African American women. This shows true in various scenes where the men in her life verbally and physically abuse her. Directed by Steven Spielberg, “The Color Purple” was Whoopi Goldberg’s breakout role.
2. The Help (2011)
An aspiring author (Emma Stone) during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book from the point of view of the help. The help (Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer) are predominantly black women who spend more time taking care of white families then they do taking care of their own, all while dealing with the hardships of discrimination and intolerance. Some by the very kids they used to take care of. Directed by Tate Taylor. Octavia Spencer won her first Oscar for her role in this film.
3. Green Book (2018)
Set in the 1960s, a tough Italian-American bouncer from the Bronx, Tony Lip, (Viggo Mortensen) is hired by a world-class Black pianist, Don Shirley, (Mahershala Ali) to drive him on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South. They rely on the “Green Book” to guide them to the establishments where African-Americans are safe. They go on a life-changing journey where they have to set aside their differences to confront the obstacles ahead. Directed by Peter Farrelly, Based on a true story. Currently up for five Oscar nominations.
4. Remember the Titans (2000)
When a recently promoted African-American head coach (Denzel Washington) comes to the small town of Alexandria, Virginia in 1971, he arrives at a newly desegregated high school where tensions are high and racism is prevalent. He must work with the man who was demoted because of him (Will Patton) and together have to put aside their differences to create a winning team. Directed by Boaz Yakin. Based on a true story.
5. Ray (2004)
In easily one of the best bio pictures, Jamie Foxx stars as Ray Charles, the legendary pianist that helped shaped soul music. The film captures his life from his poor childhood to his rise to fame. It also gives a raw depiction of his drug addiction. The film is filled with numerous of his most famous songs and the struggles he faced being a successful Black musician during the 1950s. Jamie Foxx won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Ray Charles.
6. 12 Years A Slave (2013)
Based on an 1853 slave memoir of the same title by Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) he was a born free New York African-American man who was kidnapped by two conmen in 1841 and sold into slavery. He was sent to Louisiana where he slaved for 12 years. Directed by Steve McQueen, the film won 3 Oscars.
7. Selma (2014)
Based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights march led by prominent civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis. The film shows an in-depth look at how courageous it was to take a stand when tensions were at an all-time high, regardless of whether or not it was safe to do so. Directed by Ava DuVernay.
8. 42 (2013)
A true sports biopic about the integration of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), the first African-American player to be allowed to play with white players in Major League Baseball. He signs with the Brooklyn Dodgers and faces racism from everyone, including his own teammates. Directed by Brian Helgeland.
9. Hidden Figures (2016)
Three brilliant African American women (Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae) working at NASA, serve as the brains behind one the greatest operations in history; the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. This story had been previously untold and is based on a true story. Directed by Theodore Melfi.
10. Blackkklansman (2018)
In the early 1970s, the first African American man, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) to serve as a detective on the Colorado Springs police department successfully infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan by getting in contact with their leaders through a series of phone calls. In hopes to expose them, he receives help from his fellow white officer (Adam Driver). They must help keep up the facade that he is the man who they have been speaking with on the phone. Directed by Spike Lee. Currently up for six Oscar nominations.
11. Black Panther (2018)
T’Challa, (Chadwick Boseman) heir to the hidden and highly advanced country of Wakanda must take over after this father’s death to become king. He faces trouble when someone from the past comes to Wakanda to change everything they once stood for. Directed by Ryan Coogler. Based on the Marvel comics created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Currently up for six Oscar nominations.