Written by Regina Sanders. Media by Hengyi Chi.
February is Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History Month,” founded Negro History Week to encourage schools to educate students on Black History. Woodson chose February because it coincided with Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. Negro History Week evolved into the Black History Month we know today.
In honor of Black History Month, here are some Black films and television shows worthy of your time:
“Black Panther” (2018): Based on the Marvel comic, T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, is the Black Panther and the King of Wakanda. The film, directed by Ryan Coogler, follows T’Challa as he must defend his position as both Black Panther and king. The character was first featured in “Captain America: Civil War.”
“Get Out” (2017): This horror film has recently been nominated for four Academy Awards — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay. The film follows Chris Washington, played by Daniel Kaluuya, as he visits his white girlfriend’s (Rose Armitage) family. The trip goes from awkward to downright horrific.
“Friday” (1995): Starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker as Craig and Smokey, respectively. Two friends find themselves in a race against time to repay money that is owed. GU student Demonie Hughes likes this movie because of its comedic nature. “I watched it ten times and it was [still] funny,” she exclaimed.
“Love and Basketball” (2000): This romantic drama’s title perfectly describes itself. Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are friends from childhood who grow up together. They share a common interest in basketball, and their love for one another weaves a story for the ages. “It’s a great movie,” student De’Shon Wellington had to say about the film.
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“Malcolm X” (1992): Denzel Washington leads this biopic, detailing the life of the human rights activist from childhood to adulthood. “[It] speaks to Black empowerment. [It] shows Black leaders at their most pivotal points and what led to their demise,” student Sean Brooks commented.
“Glory Road” (2006): “It shows the struggles of trying to be accepted by society while not giving up who you are. You see them glorified on the court for their talent, yet hated for the color of their skin. You also see how they’re treated off the court by those who didn’t like them, and how it takes a special type of person to put up with it and keep moving forward,” Clarance Falls elaborated.
Other Black films worth noting are “Hidden Figures“, “Cinderella” (1997), “Selma,” and “The Help.”
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“Atlanta” (TV series, 2016-present): Created by and starring the ever-talented Donald Glover, the show follows Glover as Earnest Marks. Marks, a Princeton drop-out, is trying to prove himself to his cousin, his parents, and his daughter — all while attempting to boost his cousin’s rap career.
“Black·ish” (TV series, 2014-present) and “Grown·ish“ (2018-present): Black·ish stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as Andre and Rainbow, respectively. They attempt to live their lives while educating their children and co-workers on Black culture in a predominantly white area. “Grown·ish“ serves as a spin-off following the oldest daughter Zoey as she attempts to navigate college.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996): Will Smith stars as a fictionalized version of himself. From West Philadelphia, Smith finds himself living with his aunt and uncle in Bel-Air. The series follows his life as he tries to navigate his life, which often clashes with his location.
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“A Different World” (TV series, 1987-1993): The show follows students at Hillman College, a fictional historically Black college. In its original season, the story focused on Denise Huxtable. Following Lisa Bonet’s depart, the story shifted its focus to Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy) and Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison).
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“Black Lightning” (2018-present): Jefferson Pierce has retired his superhero alter ego Black Lightning in pursuit of normalcy. But when his neighborhood is oppressed by a gang, he decides to suit up again.
Other Black television shows worth noting are “The Get Down,” “The Proud Family,” “KC Undercover,” “True Jackson VP,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Doc McStuffins,” “The Bernie Mac Show,” “She’s Gotta Have It,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” and “Luke Cage.”
Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut, said: “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” These films and tv shows, as well as countless others, refused to be limited, and imaginations dreamed up timeless entertainment. They are worthy of your time.