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Black American Films You Need To Watch From The Last Decade

by Ben Saunders about a year ago in list
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From Get Out to Selma

Credit: Universal Pictures

Here are five black American films that have a strong message and depict the struggle that people of colour continue to experience.

1. Blindspotting (2018)

Directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada, Blindspotting follows the story of two men who have experienced the highs and lows of Oakland, California. When Collin witnesses the shooting of another black man, he becomes haunted by the incident. His world turns upside down when he begins to experience hallucinations.

Blindspotting not only covers discrimination from Collin’s point of view, but also his best friend Miles’. The gentrification of their neighbourhood destroys him as he comes to terms with the fact that he will never understand what the black community goes through, despite being a part of it his entire life.

The film depicts a terrifyingly realistic portrayal of the struggle people of colour go through on the daily, and how white people still continue to fetishise it.

2. Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight delivers the story of Chiron, a child from a troubled background who grows to experience life as a gay black man.

The film tackles multiple issues from racism, sexuality to drug addiction, all within the black community. After its premiere around the festival circuit, director Barry Jenkins went on to receive high praise for his depiction of an issue thousands of people in the black and LGBTQ+ community unfortunately endure. It won the Best Picture award at the Oscars and landed Mahershala Ali Best Supporting Actor.

3. Get Out (2017)

Jordan Peele directs this multi-genre masterpiece following the story of Chris, a Black American man who visits his white girlfriend’s family to spend the weekend with them. When strange events begin to happen to him, he realises he’s involved in an elaborate racist scheme, forcing him to battle his way out of the house.

Peele not only manages to tackle the important issue of America’s rampant still-alive racism, but he delivers it through comedic undertones. From the music score to the horror-filled action scenes, he reels the audience in by making them experience an over-the-top event that still depicts everyday racism.

Daniel Kaluuya stars as the hero of Get Out and brings this upbeat thriller to life, helping Peele land an award for Best Original Screenplay.

4. Selma (2014)

Ava DuVernay directs this historical drama which depicts Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s continued fight after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It follows the peaceful protest that took place in Selma and how it was met with violence by the police.

The film was released around the 50th anniversary of the march to honour and remember the immense efforts and pain the participants went through for equality. David Oyelowo’s portrayal of Dr King received world-wide praise as he delivered an emotional performance paying homage to the man who inspired a nation to stand up for basic human rights.

Film critic Richard Roeper claimed the film to be an “important history lesson that never feels like a lecture.”

5. Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Straight Outta Compton is a biographical drama that follows the journey of the renowned hip-hop group N.W.A.

The film not only shows their rise to fame, but their continued struggle for their freedom of speech and the right to not be targeted by the colour of their skin.

Produced by one of the original members of the group, Ice Cube, it shows an accurate (yet dramatised) timeline of America’s racism throughout the late 1980s, including the 1992 Los Angeles riots which was brought on by the horrific beating Rodney King endured through the hands of police brutality.

Director F. Gary Gray reached a large audience by marketing the story of a generation’s favourite band and educating newer fans of the inequality that still plagues the nation to this day.


About the author

Ben Saunders

Writer from the UK. Interested in drama, thriller, and tragedy.

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