Celebrating Black Culture: A List of Movies & Influencers
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Celebrating Black Culture: A List of Movies & Influencers

February 2, 2022

We are inspired by the black filmmakers, artists, athletes, and activists who’ve shared their stories and made an impact in communities across the country.  You’ll find a list of movies and influencers below.

What to watch:

  1. The Great Debaters
    Professor Melvin Tolson coaches the debate team to a nearly-undefeated season that sees the first debate between U.S. students from white and black colleges and ends with an invitation to face Harvard University's national champions.
  2. Soul
    Soul tackles passion, purpose and the meaning of life — topics that aren't usually addressed in animated films, following lead character, Jazz musician and teacher (voiced by Jamie Foxx).
  3. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
    Chadwick Boseman's final performance is one of his absolute finest in the August Wilson adaptation, which casts Viola Davis as a fiery 1920s blues singer and Boseman as her self-centered cornet player. Produced by Denzel Washington.
  4. The Color Purple
    Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this is an inspiring movie that tells the story of a woman who finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world. This 1985 film is being remade as a movie-musical adaptation to be released in 2023, starring Taraji P. Henson.
  5. Hair Love
    A 7 minute short film that is based on the relationship between a black dad, his daughter and her hair. This story was created due to a lack of representation in mainstream animated projects as well as wanting to promote hair love amongst young men and women of color.
  6. Hidden Figures
    A true story of the Black mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. This story is essential to our understanding of race, discrimination and achievement in modern America.
  7. Soul Food
    A story told from the eyes of an 11-year-old whose grandmother falls into a coma during an operation to amputate her leg. The family is instantly thrown into chaos. He watches his mom and aunts struggle to adjust to the sudden absence of the family matriarch; falling into old rivalries, sharing memories and working to maintain the long-standing tradition of Sunday family dinners.

Who to follow:

  1. Filmmaker, Ava DuVernay
    For her work on Selma (2014), DuVernay became the first black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director, and also the first black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. She has also been recognized for many of her other films including Middle of Nowhere, Wrinkle in Time, and the 2017 documentary, 13th.
  2. Tech Savant, Marques Brownlee
    28 year old, Marques Keith Brownlee, also known professionally as MKBHD, is an American YouTuber and professional ultimate frisbee player, best known for his technology-focused videos as well as his podcast Waveform. He has over 15 million YouTube followers.
  3. Author & Activist, Deray McKesson
    DeRay Mckesson is an author, civil rights activist, podcaster, and former school administrator. He has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen. As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of Campaign Zero, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies that ensure equity.
  4. Athlete, Allyson Felix
    Allyson Felix is an olympic athlete, competing in track and field. She has won dozens of medals since 2003, individually and on the United States women's relay teams. She is also a fierce champion of athlete mothers. Felix called out her then-sponsor Nike in May 2019 for cutting her pay after the birth of her daughter, Camryn. Now she’s advocating for child-care help for mothers as they train and compete for the Olympics and beyond.
  5. Chef, TV Personality, Author, JJ Johnson
    JJ Johnson is an award winning Chef, Founder, TV Personality and Author. JJ presents an environment for connection through food that transcends people, memories, and generations. His diligent efforts toward the food industry has amounted to untouchable accolades: James Beard Award Winner for Best Author and Nominations for Best Chef and Rising Star NYC, Forbes and Zagat 30 under 30, and 2 time Best New Restaurant of the Year Winner by Esquire Magazines.
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