It started with a simple, straight-forward goal: I decided I was going to watch more Black-centric movies for Black History Month this year. I’ve already been watching tons of movies (particularly horror movies) with all my quarantine free-time, and this felt like a really easy, accessible way to broaden my horizons and hopefully walk away with some meaningful lessons.
Ok so first of all: Hahahahahahaha I just used the word “easy” in the same paragraph as “Black History Month” so clearly I did not have a clue what I was getting myself into!
As naive as it may sound, I did NOT expect this little personal challenge to hit me over the head with so many heavy truths. To be honest I’m kind of still reeling from and processing most of the important themes from these movies…many of which I didn’t even expect to be so deep! But rather than keep putting off this post until I achieve perfect clarity, I thought I’d just share a list of the movies (and other media) I watched and to very briefly address a few of the major themes that have been on my mind ever since. You’ve probably seen a few of these, and might even like to chat more about them…if so, please reach out! 🙂
Movies I Watched for Black History Month:
Do the Right Thing
Coming to America (original)
Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror
Judas and the Black Messiah
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Tales from the Hood
I Am Not Your Negro
Attack the Block
The Last Black Man in San Fransisco
One Night in Miami
Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Other Black media I’ve been consuming lately (honorable mentions):
Woke (show on Hulu)
Grownish (show on Hulu)
Luster (novel by Raven Leilani)
Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia (book by Abigail Perkiss)
Some other great Black-centric movies that you should watch if you haven’t yet:
Queen & Slim
Black is King
The Girl with All the Gifts
Lovecraft Country (show on HBO Max)
A few of my takeaways from this little project:
– I need to learn more about gentrification and how as a white woman I can use my voice (and dollars) to help and not further hurt the Black community (both locally and at large).
– I need to learn more about Malcolm X.
– I need to learn more about how the medical establishment has let the Black community down and how we can amplify more trusted Black leaders in the current STEM community.
– Stories matter, representation matters. Storytelling builds empathy. Quality “entertainment” always does more than just entertain. The more we expose ourselves to stories about people who don’t look like and live just like us, the better off we all will be.
– Decades of crappy marketing has tried to tell us that there are the kinds of movies that only Black people will like, and then there are the movies for “the rest of us”. White people need to consume more Black media so we can send the message that we want to see more Black representation on our screens and that Black media deserves bigger budgets.
– Black horror is Black empowerment. There are some really incredible stories being told in the Black horror genre, and I’m here to keep seeing more Black heroes (and supervillains) to keep pushing these conversations forward. (And frankly I could go on and on about how horror as a movie genre is also really great for dealing with anxiety, but that’s a whole other post for another day…)
– Black history is American history. I’m definitely planning on watching more Black-centric movies from here on out, not just in February. And if you have an interest in anything I just wrote about, I would invite you to do the same. I’m always happy to chat!
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