A few modern classics that will make you laugh, cry, and feel black AF.
Fruitvale Station (2013)
Writer: Ryan Coogler
Director: Ryan Coogler
What it’s about: The film follows the last day in the life of Oscar Grant III (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who was murdered by police on New Year’s Day 2009.
Why you need to see it: By giving such a tight 24-hour look at Grant’s life, Fruitvale Station really forces audiences to see him as a whole person and not just another headline — an important message in a world where black men are murdered so often that people seem to become numb to the fact that they are human beings who have families, dreams, and fears just like everyone else.
The Weinstein Company
Straight Outta Compton (2015)
Writers: Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus
Director: F. Gary Gray
What it’s about: The biopic follows N.W.A’s trajectory from Compton to hip-hop legends in the mid-1980s.
Why you need to see it: Newcomers O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, and Jason Mitchell play Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E so well, you’ll forget that they’re not actually them (and that this wasn’t the way it all really happened).
Writers: Taylor Hackford, James L. White
Director: Taylor Hackford
What it’s about: The biopic follows the life and career of music legend Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx) from his childhood in the South to his rise to fame amid his battle with addiction in the 1950s and ’60s.
Why you need to see it: Because THIS is how you do a legend justice! Foxx’s transformation into Charles will give you chills. Kerry Washington and Regina King also give stellar performances.
12 Years a Slave (2014)
Writer: John Ridley, based on the novel by Solomon Northup
Director: Steve McQueen
What it’s about: The story follows a free black man, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), as he struggles to adapt to the horrors of slavery after being kidnapped and sold in the South.
Why you need to see this: A rough but necessary reminder of this country’s horrid relationship with black people.