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After years of complaint and self-criticism about the shortage of prominent movies by and about black Americans, film companies are poised to release an extraordinary cluster of them across an array of genres in the last five months of 2013. At least 10 new films will be released, including several awards contenders, from both independent and major distributors, like the Weinstein Company, Fox Searchlight and Universal Pictures.
Black filmmakers say the wave of 2013 releases was built in large part on the creativity that has flourished on the independent-film circuit, which has become a laboratory of sorts for more prominent African-American-themed productions. Studio executives also say there is a growing audience with more multicultural tastes that gives these films a broader appeal. In addition, a cohort of black cultural figures, including directors, actors, writers and playwrights, has fostered a shared spirit that has sustained black filmmakers, even when studios were paying less attention.
As recently as 2010, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” which was directed by Mr. Last year Hollywood’s principal companies released only one prominent film from a black director with a black cast, “Sparkle,” from Sony Pictures and the filmmaker Salim Akil, in the July-to-December stretch. But a substantial new wave will arrive on July 3 with Lionsgate’s release of a documentary, “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain,” from two black directors, Leslie Small and Tim Story.
Over all, movies that feature a predominantly black cast in a specifically African-American story have been caught in a squeeze between foreign markets, where those films often come up short, and demographic pressures at home.
This year the Motion Picture Association of America in its annual statistical survey said that African-Americans, who make up about 12 percent of the population, account for about 11 percent of North American movie ticket sales.
But executives are also discovering, or rediscovering, filmmakers who have attracted notice, and some awards, with small, independent films. She said fresh studio attention to indie-bred filmmakers recalls an earlier era, when Spike Lee, with “She’s Gotta Have It,” and Reginald and Warrington Hudlin, with “House Party,” parlayed outsider hits into studio careers.
In this year’s crop, several films have independent roots: “Big Words,” directed by Neil Drumming and released by Ms. The film follows Solomon Northup, a free black who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. With so many great African American movies to choose from, it wasn’t easy coming up with ten favorites. What’s Love Got to Do with It is a 1993 biopic which tells the life story of Tina Turner.
The Five Heartbeats is a 1991 musical drama film directed by Robert Townsend, who co-wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Wayans.
Malcolm X is a 1992 biographical film directed by Spike Lee about the African-American activist and Black Nationalist Malcolm X. Leon I love this list…Where are Sparkle with Irene Cara and Philip Michael Thomas and Poetic Justice with Tupac, Janet Jackson and Regina King? Do The Right Thing would be first closely followed by The Color Purple, I am shocked YOU don’t have Malcolm X first so I realize you took many factors into account! AND THANK you for listing A Soldiers Story truly one of the most underrated movies of all time! The movie Ray, because of the flawless performance by Jamie Foxx, might be a top 15 contender.
I also think Waiting To Exhale might be due some consideration particularly from a female perspective.
Oops made a mistake I meant How Stella Got Her Groove back and not WTE (brothers easily get these two mixed up)! Lady Sings The Blues, Shaft, New Jack City, and The Best Man were considered for the top 10.
The first thing that I thought of when I read the list was most of the movies that most of the movies that Terrance mentioned.
And by the way, I’m pretty sure that I know the answer to the question that you proposed to Shack. Keep in mind that it’s no way in the world that he would have won an Oscar if he was not good in that particular role. Leon, very good list but you did forget Waiting to Exhale and DreamGirls, chick flicks but good movies.

But ARITS (A Raisin in The Sun) is one of, if not the most, classic Black dramas ever produced. This African American movie is about an a friendly independent woman have both mind-blowing sex and a satisfying relationship without giving up her individuality? His historical drama “The Butler” — based on a real-life White House butler who served eight presidents — is to be released by Weinstein on Aug. Writers and directors have been sharpening their skills on indie films the last several years while waiting for big distributors to regain interest.
Talbert, who wrote and directed “Baggage Claim,” a romance that is based on his novel of the same title and will be released in September. Talbert, also a playwright, compared the support system among black filmmakers to the time when black musicians and writers buoyed one another in the early 20th century. While black-themed films have never disappeared, the interest of distributors has waned when the movies stuck to more singular genres like urban dramas, about, say, the problems of a drug culture or family dysfunction. Daniels, provoked worried debate about the status of African-American cinema when it stood out as the only movie by a black director ever to be nominated for a best picture Oscar. Other films include “Fruitvale Station,” directed by Ryan Coogler, in July; “The Butler,” by Mr.
By contrast, the association noted, Hispanics, who make up 17 percent of the population, account for 26 percent. It joined successes like “Think Like a Man,” “Jumping the Broom” and a string of Tyler Perry films to give executives new confidence in the potential of movies built around black themes.
DuVernay, who in 2011 started the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement to issue black-made films that were being overlooked by commercial distributors.
DuVernay’s company, about the members of a once-hot hip-hop group confronting midlife, and both “Fruitvale Station” and “Mother of George,” a pair of Sundance darlings rooted in urban black experience. Its backers include New Regency Pictures and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, and it is based on a script by both Mr. Daniels said, it is the sudden presence of other black directors that has him feeling less isolated. The ten that I chose as my favorites, are movies with plenty of drama, realism, and great acting.
The film stars Omar Epps, Sanaa Lathan, Debbie Morgan, Alfre Woodard, and Dennis Haysbert. It is the story of two next-door neighbors in Los Angeles, California who grew up loving basketball and, eventually, each other. The film stars Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, who both received Oscar nominations for their incredible performances.
A black officer is sent to investigate the murder of a black sergeant in Louisiana near the end of World War II. The film, set in 1964 Chicago, Illinois, stars Glynn Turman and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, and featured a soundtrack made up primarily of 1960s Motown hits. The film is the true story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as told from the point of view of its commanding officer, Robert Gould Shaw during the American Civil War. Director Lee stars in the film, alongside Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, and Bill Nunn. Starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Angela Bassett, Regina King and Laurence Fishburne, the film depicts life in poor South Central Los Angeles, California and was filmed and released in the summer of 1991. Any way here are some to consider Lady sings the blues Sounder The Great white hope Shaft In the heat of the night American Gangster Jungle Fever The Mack New Jack city & The best man. As a matter of fact, I had The Best Man at number 10, but changed my mind at the last minute. So since that is too debatable, here is one you must not have considered since it would surely knock Love & Basketball out of the TT. Don’t recall who CGJ competed against but it had to be a weak field and the Tidwell role, please!
Its impact and ALL Performances in the movie are “crystal clear” in my mind so I admit my bias! I can watch either film over & over as I would most of the movies on the list but Raisin (as well as Heat ITN) are two of my favorite Sidney P.

Sensual Chicago painter Marilyn Ross(Marie-Francoise Theodore,LOVE JONES)struggles with the dilemma as she tries to change her uneventful life. The music sets the mood for interesting romantic questions and adventure for the characters.
African-American-themed films, when they do find mainstream distributors, are often playing at more theaters in more cities than in the past, Mr. Coogler, for instance, wrote “Fruitvale Station,” based on the killing of a young black man at an Oakland, Calif., transit station, while still a student at the University of Southern California, and he directed it with backing from independent financiers, including one from China. McQueen, whose “Shame” was distributed in 2011 by Fox Searchlight, and John Ridley, whose extensive credits reach back to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” television series. Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano and others, raising the odds in favor of an audience hit, though the memoir it’s based on is not widely known. Whitaker plays a White House butler based on the real-life Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents through Ronald Reagan, is cast with an eye toward an audience as broad as that of “The Help.” Mr. These are movies that I could watch over and over again, and still enjoy them as if I were watching them for the very first time. So, without further ado, here’s my list of Top 10 favorite African American movies of all time.
The film tells the story of a young African American girl named Celie and shows the problems faced by African American women during the early 1900s; including poverty, racism, and sexism. Denzel Washington was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his stunning portrayal of Malcolm X. The film is also notable in that it marks the feature film debuts for Martin Lawrence, and Rosie Perez.
It was nominated for both Best Director and Original Screenplay during the 1991 Academy Awards, making Singleton the youngest person ever nominated for Best Director and the first African–American to be nominated for the award. After reading most of them I must honestly look at the film again and re-evaluate it since I don’t remember much about it! Talbert’s “Baggage Claim,” in August; and “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas,” from Lionsgate, on Dec. Whitaker is joined in the cast by Oprah Winfrey, along with John Cusack, Robin Williams, Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, among others. The plot of the film (which is loosely based on the lives of several artists; The Dells, The Temptations, Four Tops, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke and others) follows the three decade career of the fictional band The Five Heartbeats.
Army regiment with white officers deep in the Jim Crow South, in a time and place where a black officer is unprecedented and bitterly resented by nearly everyone.
The character Celie is transformed as she finds her self-worth through the help of two strong female companions.
And as I recall, this film ran “neck and neck” with New Jack City in terms of popularity at the time so where would it rank on your list? The dialogue is fantastic and the pace of the movie is excellent.This is one of the best African Ameircan romance movies ever made for film or straight to DVD.
The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards: for Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Adolph Caesar as the murder victim), and Screenplay Adaptation. The song was covered in 1991 by Boyz II Men on the group’s first LP, named Cooleyhighharmony in honor of this film. Three of the film’s star’s, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Margaret  Avery were nominated  for Academy Awards for their brilliant performances.
The film stars Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher, and Denzel Washington who won an Academy Award  for his role as a proud escaped slave named Trip.
It was also the film that President Barack Obama took his then girlfriend, Michelle Obama to see on their first date. Cooley High is frequently compared favorably to the 1973 George Lucas film American Graffiti.

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