Black Entertainment

Films That Properly Show the Black Narrative, Part 3

By Kayla Maroon

(Part 1 and Part 2)


Sankofa (1993)

There are very few films that depict the boat journey of the Atlantic Slave Trade. In fact, there aren’t very many films that talk about our history pre-slavery. Sankofa does something no slave movie has done before: bring together both, the past and the present.

It stars Mona, a Black American model, who preparing for a photo shoot set at one of the forts used to hold captured Africans heading to America. As she is exploring the fort, she goes into a trance and finds herself in the past surrounded by slaves. Although she looks like a free American, she is not assumed to be one and they make her a slave.

This epic movie follows her journey to discover “Sankofa,” the Ghanaian word meaning to go back, look for, and gain wisdom, power and hope. This film does a wonderful job making the character relatable and entrancing you to feel as if you were a part of their world.


Rosewood (1997)

Black Americans are known to take the non-violent approach when rioting, but there are only so many times when you can tolerate the death of an innocent man due to his skin tone. Rosewood is exactly what can happen when the tolerance of a people has been pushed to its limit.

In January 1923, in a small Florida town, a white woman wrongly accused a black drifter of raping her. This led to a genocide against the black folks in the neighboring city, as a white mob decided they wanted to retaliate by lynching innocent people. As a result, several black people fled to other countries before they could become victim to the unwarranted hate. The film by the same name does a wonderful job depicting this historical event.

One of the few witnesses, known as Aunt Sarah, lays claim that it wasn’t a black drifter, but a man named John Bradley. Unfortunately, she is shot in the head by someone in the vigilante mob and this incites a full on clash between the black and the white residents of the area. This movie is an amazing depiction of what it means to truly give white people a taste of their own medicine.


The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Directed by Gabriele Muccino, this is one of the few movies in this series that has a lighter tone to it. It doesn’t really talk about race per se, but it does show what it looks like for a black man to experience upward mobility.

The central character, Chris Gardner, starts off with a dream that doesn’t go exactly as planned. His ambition quickly depletes itself after he is faced with homelessness and poverty.  Fortunately for him, he is given an opportunity to become one of the elite.

In a matter of years, he and his son go from hitting rock bottom to pursuing happiness. This film, which is based off a true story, is inspirational and one of the few movies that show a black man making it in the world.

The post Films That Properly Show the Black Narrative, Part 3 appeared first on On The Black List.

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