Hollywood has a long history of overlooking Black excellence, opting instead to focus on Black pain and struggle in films. While stories of racism, slavery, and other hardships are important to tell, they should not be the only stories that Black people see themselves reflected in. There’s another side to Black stories, one of joy, success, and triumph over adversity.
That’s why it’s so important to highlight films that showcase Black excellence.
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1. Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse (2018)
It features an Afro-Latino teenager, Miles, becoming one of the greatest heroes of all time. This animation of Spider-Man reflects an ultimate Sperverse as it is the total opposite of what one would find reflected by Hollywood in black families.
2. Moonlight (2019)
This another film that focuses on the unique experiences of Black men, exploring the impact of upbringing and surrounding community on identity. It won three Oscars, proving that there’s an audience for stories that delve into the nuances of Black experiences.
A 1997 adaptation of the classic fairy tale, this movie breaks free from racial limitations in its casting. The king is white, the queen is Black, their son is Filipino, and Cinderella is portrayed by the Black icon Brandy. Seeing a Black woman in such a traditionally feminine role is inspiring to young Black girls who often feel unrepresented in popular media.
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4. Black Panther (2016)
This is a groundbreaking film that celebrates Black excellence in all its forms. It tells the story of a never-colonized fictional nation of Wakanda, led by the legendary Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. After the death of the king, Black Panther must navigate nuanced cultural differences within his own racial group, proving that even in fictional worlds, Black people have complex and diverse experiences.
All these films have Black influence in front of and behind the camera, ensuring that the stories being told are authentic and representative. They know their target audience and are giving Black children the movies they deserve: ones that celebrate their excellence and inspire them to achieve greatness.
It’s time for Hollywood to recognize that Black stories aren’t limited to pain and struggle, but are full of joy, success, and triumph over adversity.