Recognize Black films


Photo Courtesy of IMDB

Mahershala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert star in “Moonlight.” The film was released on Nov. 18, 2016.

By Raina Kutliroff, staff writer

During February, America celebrates Black History Month. Black culture should always be recognized, but Black History Month reminds us of the many contributions Black Americans have made to culture, particularly pop culture. The following movies are pivotal in highlighting Black American culture and reminding viewers of the contributions Black people have made in American culture. 

“Good Burger”

A cult-classic of sorts, “Good Burger” stars an all-star African American cast featuring Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson. Based on an “All That” skit, “Good Burger” tells the hilarious story of two men working in a fast-food restaurant. Not only does “Good Burger” teach young viewers the value of hard work, but it attempts to break down racial stereotypes. Many other blockbuster hits in the 90s featured a racial stereotype of Black characters, while “Good Burger” highlights the hilarious Black actors while leaving their race out of the discussion. 


Starring Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” tells the coming-of-age story of young Juan growing up in a complicated community full of inequality, poverty, confusing sexual desires and other struggles that come with growing up in a Black community. Featuring an almost all African American cast, “Moonlight” allows viewers to relive some of their own coming-of-age stories through Juan’s eyes.


A fascinating and extremely informative to watch, “13th” discusses mass incarceration and racial inequality in the prison system. Americans often misunderstand this issue, and this movie brings insights that can change the way people look at systemic racism and some ways to fight against it.

“Coming to America”

Creator and star of the 1988 film, Eddie Murphy stars as comedic African prince Prince Akeem who takes on different personas to charm a New York City woman into marrying him. Murphy and Arsenio Hall act in this romantic comedy and show viewers some of the secrets of living in black city life. During the height of Black culture becoming popularized, “Coming to America” was released the same summer that “Straight Outta Compton” was released while hip-hop was rising. “Coming to America” celebrates Black culture.


Pixar’s most recent film “Soul” reveals the story of what happens after death. Jamie Foxx mesmerizes audiences as he attempts to come back from the afterlife for a second chance at life. The first Pixar film to star and highlight Black actors and Black culture, “Soul” allows younger Black viewers to finally see themselves represented as the main character in a Pixar film and engage in the beauty of Black culture.

“If Beale Street Could Talk”

Based on a James Baldwin novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a beautiful, graceful and emotional film. Everything is perfect between passionate lovers Fonny (Stephan James) and Tish (KiKi Layne) and their unborn child. That is until Fonny gets wrongly accused of a crime he never committed. This film shares the struggle everyone knows well of wanting to be with a love badly enough that you will do anything to be with them. This film also explains the struggles many African Americans face when wrongly accused of a crime, an issue that has plagued America for centuries. We should remember that Black history month is not the only month to celebrate Black culture and Black history, but rather an excellent opportunity to educate and inform and enjoy some fantastic and barrier-breaking films.

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