In 1926 historian Carter G. Wilson began what was known as Negro History Week in an effort to make the African American story more prevalent in our culture's consciousnesses. The week evolved into an entire month-long celebration and promotion of African American history, which we recognize this month. To spread the love, Art Attack has compiled a list of some of the best African American films to help you celebrate Black History Month.
10. Stormy Weather
The lovely Lena Horne belts out the hits in this 1943 musical, which also features the amazing performances of Fats Waller and Cab Calloway.
Amistad, directed by Steven Spielberg, was released in 1997 and told the true story of a rebellion of captured slaves in the late 1800s. It is a lesser known, but historically significant, story of the plight of African Americans of the time.
8. To Sir With Love
Ahh, how can you not love Sidney Poitier in this classic film about a high school teacher dealing with racial issues in an inner-city school? The movie led the way for all other "teachers can make a difference!" movies going forward.
7. Coming To AmericaEddie Murphy playing just about all of these characters.
To date, Coming To America remains one of the funniest movies Eddie Murphy has ever created and made "Sexual Chocolate" a household name.
6. Boyz N the Hood
John Singleton's opus, starring a very young Cuba Gooding Jr., was as heart-wrenching as it was eye-opening when it was released in 1991. It introduced the entire world to the hardships of South Central, LA. Singleton was nominated for Academy Awards in both directing and screenwriting, the youngest ever, at age 24, and the first African American to be given the honor.
Glory told the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first formal unit of the U.S. Army to be made up entirely of African American men. The movie introduced to the world a little actor commonly known as Denzel Washington, who won a well-deserved Academy Award.
4. Malcolm X
Spike Lee's biographical film is about the life and tragic death of the notorious black nationalist. The film, like its subject, was clouded with controversy over how Lee portrayed Malcolm X, but the role garnered Denzel Washington another Oscar nod.
C'mon, John Shaft is awesome! Shaft is cooler than ice, tougher than nails and will 'eff you the 'eff up if you cross him.
2. Do the Right Thing
Spike Lee's best work and the film that put him on the map, Do the Right Thing is a movie that openly discussed the realities of racism in this country when no one wanted to talk about them.
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1. The Color PurpleRock it Oprah!
The first Spielberg masterpiece, which highlighted the issues affecting African American women in the 1900s, was based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker. The film is star-packed with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover and co-produced by Quincy Jones.