In conjunction with Verizon, EBONY is journeying through our rich archives in honor of Black History Month to highlight the cultural contributions of African Americans in this country. The final video in this archival series explores the deep importance of Black film and those behind the scenes who have had a significant hand in making Black movie magic so real and relatable.

Since its inception, Black films have been an outlet for escape while at the same time serving as a mirror of our own realities. Black filmmakers like Spike Lee, Ava Duvernay, Barry Jenkins, the late John Singleton and Dee Reaves have shifted the visual language in which Black people are categorized. We look to popular Black films made by these cinematic luminaries and various others for how they shed light on our community's multifaceted nature.

This video includes the experiences of Viola Davis, Tyler Perry and Naturi Naughton, notable figures in the Black film realm who have dedicated their craft to showing the complexities of Black life throughout their careers.

"I wanted to change the ways people of color are seen, the narrative. I wanted to normalize and show people that we are indeed worthy of complicated and wonderful stories," said Davis in the video.

We hope that this series has allowed for reflection and education surrounding the richness of Black life and culture this Black History Month through the illumination of Black culinary traditions, the power of Black innovation in music and the significance of representation of our community through film.