Black women movies during recent years became more common. Of course, there are many films in Hollywood that feature black women, but black women-centered films as relatively less. Today we will speak about the best black women movies and stories.
Looking back at the past decades of Hollywood entertainment industry, I think I can conclude that this industry has some serious sexist and racist problems. To illustrate, in 2016, for the second year in a row, only white people were nominated for the Academy Awards in the lead and supporting actors’ categories.
The issue of Hollywood’s diversity also caught attention, thus inspiring the #OscarsSoWhite campaign. Furthermore, during the 90-year history of the Academy Awards, Black women have been nominated for Best Actress in a leading role for numerous times, but only Halle Berry won that award.
Now let’s highlight some great black women movies. Whether they are fictional or based on real events, some of the most charismatic film characters are strong black girls and women that feature stories about love, survival, and careers.
Black women movies 1) Hidden Figures
‘Hidden Figures’ is an American biographical drama film, released in 2016, based on the non-fiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly. The director of this movie is Theodore Melfi.
‘Hidden Figures’ is an inspiring movie that tells the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians, who worked at the NASA during the Space Race program and served a vital role.
The film features beloved actress Taraji P. Henson who plays Katherine Johnson, a prominent mathematician, who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and many other missions.
Octavia Spencer plays the role of NASA supervisor, Dorothy Vaughan. Janelle Monáe stars as NASA engineer, Mary Jackson. By the way, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali and some others are in supporting roles.
As the USA rushed to put a man in space, NASA found a group of African-American female mathematicians who served as the brains behind one of the most prominent operations in the history of the United States. It tells a story of the unbelievably true life experiences of those three women, known as “human computers”.
Generally speaking, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional obstacles. They dreamed big and firmly established themselves in the history of US as true American heroes.
‘Hidden Figures’ received positive feedbacks from critics and was chosen by National Board of Review as one of the top ten movies of 2016. Furthermore, it was nominated for numerous awards, including three Oscar nominations in the categories of Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, and two Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actress for Spencer and Best Original Score.
Black women movies 2) The Help
‘The Help’ is a drama film written and directed by Tate Taylor. It was adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s novel. The movie features an amazing cast, including Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone.
The film tells the story of a young journalist, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, during the period of Civil Rights Movement in Jackson, Mississippi. The story focuses especially on her relationship with two black maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson. With the aspiration to become a legitimate journalist and writer, Eugenia decides to write a book about the life and experience of the maids, uncovering the racism they face as they work for white families.
The Help had a critical success and got four Academy Award nominations in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress for both Chastain and Spencer (Spencer won the award).
Black women movies 3) The Secret Life of Bees
‘The Secret Life of Bees’ is an American drama film, based on the novel of Sue Monk Kidd. The movie was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Will Smith.
By the way, the executive producer of the movie is Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith. The film brought Queen Latifah an acclaim for her performance as August Boatwright.
In general, the film has mostly black cast, such as Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okonedo and some others. These black girls made this movie even more impressive and emphatic.
The story happens in South Carolina, in 1964. It is an amazing tale of Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning), a 14-year-old girl, who is haunted by the memory of her mother.
In order to escape her troubled relationship and lonely life with her father, she flees with the housekeeper and her caregiver, Rosaleen, to a South Carolina town where she can find the secret to her mother’s past.
Black women movies 4) Dreamgirls
The movie ‘Dreamgirls’ is an American romantic musical drama released in 2006, directed by Bill Condon. The story is about the development of American R&B music during the 1960s and 1970s.
Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson and many others star in the movie. Notably, this movie is the most expensive film to feature an all-African-American starring cast in the history of American cinema.
The story of this film starts with a car salesman, named Curtis Taylor, Jr., who breaks into the music business with big dreams. He meets a black girls’ group, known as “The Dreamettes”. This turns out to be a groundbreaking step for everybody.
‘Dreamgirls’ garnered positive reviews from critics and received a number of accolades, including three awards at the 64th Golden Globe Awards ceremony and two Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards.
Black women movies 5) The Color Purple
‘The Color Purple’ was adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same title by the author Alice Walker. This American drama movie was directed by Steven Spielberg.
By the way, this was his eighth film as a director. The cast of the movie includes Danny Glover, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg, the last two ones with their film debuts.
The film tells the story of a young African American girl named Celie Harris and demonstrates the problems African American women faced during the early 20th century, such as racism, sexism, domestic violence, pedophilia, and poverty.
Celie struggles to find her identity after being abused by her father. Finally, she transforms as she recovers her self-esteem through the help of two strong female companions.
This is a film that warms the heart, nourishes the soul and can make you shed tears of sadness and tears of joy.
Black women movies 6) Waiting to Exhale
Friends are the people who let you be yourself… and never let you forget it.
Waiting to Exhale is an impressive movie that tells about the challenges black girls and women face in modern America. The story centers on the lives and loves of four different black women who are all good friends.
Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon star in the movie. Interestingly enough, their challenges are tempered by their ability to call on each other for wisdom and support.
Indeed, these four successful, beautiful and hardworking black women find it hard to meet a good man. However, unlike those movies that focus on the weaknesses and problems in black America, this one showcases one of the strengths of black girls and women. They learn that they sometimes have to make compromises when it comes to men. But they can always count on each other and they know they will be okay, with or without romance or drama.
By the way, as the Los Angeles Times called this movie, it is a “social phenomenon” as it is notable for having an all-African-American cast.
Black women movies 7) Set It Off
The movie tells the touching story of four friends who are struggling to make ends meet. The cast includes Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise.
One day four close friends decide to execute a bank robbery, having different reasons for this plan. One thing they all shared was their deep frustration.
As the women add to the amount of their loot, not only their tastes and interests start to change, but their suspicions of each other increases as well.
This is a great movie that illustrates loyalty and true friendships. What sets this film apart from any other movie is that it features some very impressive and strong performances and gives us a graphic insight into the possibility of what people can do under certain circumstances.
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