10 must-see movies to watch in honor of Black History Month

Photo courtesy of IMDB

Story by Isong Maro / Contributing Writer

It’s Black History Month, which explains the celebratory local events taking place throughout February. However, another way to celebrate black excellence is by sitting back and watching its portrayal on the big screen. If that interests you, here are 10 movies that you have to see this Black History Month.

“Black Panther”

“Black Panther” is one of the year’s most anticipated films so far. (IMDB)

“Black Panther” is scheduled to be released this Friday. If the reviews and ticket sales are anything to go by, this film is shaping up to be one of the best of 2018. Directed by Ryan Coogler, this is a movie about a fictional marvel hero. It boasts a rich cast of African and African-American actors, including the seasoned Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett.

The “Blade” Trilogy

Snipes’ role in this action packed film is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. (IMDB)

Before “Black Panther” there was “Blade,” the original black marvel superhero. “Blade” is somewhat darker than your typical marvel hero. Set in a universe where vampirism is real, the movies tell a story about a vampire hunter, who is played by Wesley Snipes. His character is half vampire, which happens after suffering an unfortunate attack at birth. This trilogy is a must-see for fans of alternative black culture.

“The Color Purple”

This iconic film is a staple for any film lover’s must see list. (IMDB)

Based off the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by novelist Alice Walker, this movie tells a story of an African-American girl growing up in Southern America during a time when racism and misogyny — especially toward women of color — was rampant. The cast includes Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey. The incredible soundtrack was crafted by the great Quincy Jones.

“Malcolm X”

Washington beautifully executes his performance in “Malcolm X” and does the black nationalist leader justice. (IMDB)

Directed by Spike Lee and starring Denzel Washington as the main character, this is a movie about the life of the great African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X. Angela Bassett plays the supporting role of Betty Shabazz, Malcom’s wife. This eye-opening and inspirational film is one that you won’t forget.


Foxx’s portrayal of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles is a must see performance. (IMDB)

Comedian Chris Rock once joked that Jamie Foxx’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Ray Charles was so good that the world didn’t really need two Ray Charles. In a truly amazing performance, Jamie Foxx brought the legendary singer’s life to the big screen, telling the story of his rise to fame and struggles. This movie also features a young Kerry Washington in a supporting role.

“Coming to America”

Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall deliver comedic gold in this 1988 classic film. (IMDB)

For comedic relief, watch “Coming to America.” It’s one of Eddie Murphy’s most hilarious movies. This movie depicts the adventures of a young African prince, played by Eddie Murphy, who comes to America to have a good time. It also stars legendary talk show host Arsenio Hall and iconic actor James Earl Jones.

“Hotel Rwanda”

Don Cheadle offers an awe-inspiring performance in this film. (IMDB)

Set during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, this movie tells the story of hotel runner Paul Rusesabagina, played by Don Cheadle, and his attempts to save the lives of several Rwandans displaced by the war. If you’ve yet to see “Hotel Rwanda,” you may want to reconsider that. 

“Training Day”

Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke deliver incredible performances in “training day.” (IMDB)

Denzel Washington also stars in this movie, and he portrays a police officer who flirts with the other side of the law. His epic portrayal of a villain in this movie was one for the ages. It’s still potent barber shop conversation today, and his distinct cadence in this movie has been mimicked by several stand-up comics.

“The Secret Life of Bees”

Fanning’s character, Lily, is introduced to the world of beekeeping. (IMDB)

Set in 1964 and based off of the book by the same name, this film stars Dakota Fanning alongside an amazing female cast including Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Sophie Okonedo. This is a story that depicts cross-racial bonds and friendships, as well as family ties.

“The Pursuit of Happyness”

Will Smith’s actual son Jaden portrayed his on-screen son, Christopher. (IMDB)

Will smith stars as entrepreneur Chris Gardner in this movie, which is based on a biography of Gardner. It depicts the story of Gardner’s struggle of trying to raise his son while simultaneously battling homelessness and searching for steady employment. This film is an emotional roller coaster that you won’t want to get off of. 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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