Hollywood is soon to release a record number of films made by Black directors or starring Black actors. This is notable because in years past, we’ve all lamented the lack of diverse story arcs in major releases.
Major film distributors including Fox Searchlight
Pictures, the Weinstein Company and Universal Pictures are backing this new wave—an indication that our stories really do resonate with mainstream audiences.
The Black-directed films include the musical Black Nativity (inspired by a Langston Hughes work), a Tyler Perry comedy, a follow-up to The Best Man and Baggage Claim. The movies are of various genres, and they’re not the typical Black film prototype, with storylines revolving around maids, gangsterism and domestic abuse.
“I always thought it would be an indicator of success when we had a full spectrum of films,” director Kasi Lemmons, best known for her work on Eve’s Bayou and The Caveman's Valentine, has said.
If that’s true, then success seems to have arrived. Other films releasing before the end of the year that showcase singular Black talent include dance darling Battle of the Year, starring Chris Brown, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, in which Idris Elba offers up another interpretation of the Nelson Mandela story. One film of note, Twelve Years a Slave, will likely garner an Oscar nod for acting heavyweight Chiwetel Ejiofor. And with an original score written and produced by Raphael Saadiq, count on Black Nativity to snag an Oscar nomination in one of the music categories. Indie favorite Fruitvale Station (already released) and the Lee Daniels-directed The Butler (due this month), starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, might also be short-listed as Oscar material.
So get your popcorn, candy and drinks ready for an entertaining viewing season.
THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY
IN THEATERS: November 15
Directed by Malcolm Lee and starring Nia Long, Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Terrence Howard and Morris Chestnut. This long-
anticipated sequel to The Best Man revisits our favorite couples as they reunite for
Christmas some 15 years later.
IN THEATERS: September 27
Directed by playwright David Talbert and starring Paula Patton, Djimon Hounsou, Taye Diggs, Derek Luke and Tia Mowry-Hardrict. This film tells the story of Montana, who goes on a 30-day, 30,000-mile trek, all in the name of wooing a man.
IN THEATERS: November 15
Written and directed by Kasi Lemmons and starring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson. This Christmas tale focuses on faith and family as it follows a streetwise teen’s holiday move from Baltimore to NYC
to spend time with estranged relatives.
TYLER PERRY’S A MADEA CHRISTMAS
IN THEATERS: December 13
Directed and written by Tyler Perry and starring Chad Michael Murray and Tika Sumpter (and featuring Perry, of course, in the role that made him famous), this comedy takes us
to the country with family matriarch Madea
during the holiday season.