african american biopics

Here’s a List of African-American Biopics to last you the E-N-T-I-R-E month of February!

1.) Whats Love Got To Do With It

2.) 42

3.) Introducing: Dorothy Dandridge 

4.) Ray

5.) The Jackson’s: An American Dream

6.) The Josephine Baker Story

7.) Malcolm X

8.) Basquiat

9.) ALI

10.) The Rosa Parks Story

11.) Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story

12.) Lady Sings the Blues

13.) Why Do Fools Fall In Love 

14.) Hotel Rwanda

15.) Antwone Fisher

16.) Race

17.) Miles Ahead

18.) What happened, Miss Simone?

19.) Bessie

20.) The Temptations

21.) The Five Heartbeats

22.) Jimi: All is By My Side

23.) Get on Up

24.) Notrious

25.) Straight Outta Compton

26.) Roots

27.) Selma

28.) Little Richard

And here’s some bonus films :

*Confirmation

*The Hurricane

*Cadillac Records

*13th

*Hidden Figures

(Anything else we should add?)
10

Black-led films have dominated the box office for five weeks in a row. After only three weeks after release, Straight Outta Compton became the highest-grossing musical biopic of all time. Let’s face the music: Audiences want to see black stories told on screen. All of the above and a few more legendary names deserve their own movies.

The Hidden Figures in Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures is the Inspirational film that black people as a whole really needed to see this year. It headlines with the star power such as the academy award winning Taraji P. Henson as Mrs. Katherine Johnson, the academy award winning Octavia Spencer as Mrs. Dorothy Vaughn, and the Grammy award winning Janelle Monae as Mrs. Mary Jackson. Hidden Figures tells the story of how three brilliant and brave black women become the very foundation of the engineering and computing of NASA’s role in the infamous Space Race. Through sheer determination and will these ladies blow past the obstacles of racism and discrimination and literally fly over the stumbling blocks of sexism to become some of the brightest minds to grace the National Aeronautics Space Association. 

        First things first. This movie shows Black People, more specifically Black Women, succeeding, overcoming, and winning on the big screen. Just like with Colin Kapernick, Marvel’s Black Panther, and all the Black Women into the Olympics: representation matters. It’s important for us as a people to have positive images shown to us to remind us who we are and what we’re capable of. This sets into the mind conscious and subconsciously and ignites the fire of excellence in us all. Sometimes just the glimpse of someone making the impossible possible is just what’s needed to inspire greatness. 

Originally posted by electragallifrey

       But what we don’t need is a false story strategically placed in our narratives that cater to the white savior complex. For those that are unfamiliar with the term “white savior”, it is a situation found in books and often in Hollywood in which a white character is seen as needed to rescue people of color from their awful predicament. This Caucasian “hero” usually stumbles on learning more about themselves in the midst of their heroic deeds. Examples of this heinous crime can be found in movies like Django, Glory, The Help, Mr. Church, Lincoln, Last Samurai, The Blind Side, and many others.

        Some white savior moments can be found in this box office hit. The first strong whiff of this comes after Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson, comes back to her desk soaked from the rain after running across NASA’s campus to use the only colored women’s restroom in the facility. Soon after her frustrations were rightfully expressed to her supervisor AL Harrison, Kelvin Coster, he notices and removes the colored sign on the coffee machine and proceeds in the next scene to remove the colored sign above the restroom with a crowbar. Now when I saw this in New York for the first time it was before the nation wide release date. The audience cheered and applauded his actions! And to be honest it did feel good to see what seemed like a win and turnaround for us.  Unfortunately, this apparently never happened. According to Margot Lee Shetterly, author who wrote the book “Hidden Figures”, to which the movie is based on, she reveals that Johnson used the white restrooms and refused to use the colored restrooms.  Now that’s the boldness I would love to see on the big screen.

          Another fictional scene is the moment when Johnson brilliantly calculated the coordinates for John Glenn’s launch and delivered them to mission control. Once passed the doors slammed in her face and she was denied entry, at least until our hero Harrison gave her clearance to enter and take part in the success of the mission she greatly contributed to. In an interview with Katherine Johnson she explained that she was not admitted to enter mission control at the time of the launch.  It is said in the book that she “sat tight in the office, watching the transmission on a television. Theodore Melfi insisted that there is nothing wrong with placing a white savior in the African-American biopic. “There needs to be white people who do the right thing and there needs to be Black people who do the right thing, but who cares who does the right thing as long as the right thing is achieved?“ 

Originally posted by n-wordbelike

We care! POC have had their history rewritten, copied, erased, and whitewashed to favor people it has nothing to do with and is shown as false evidence to make white people feel better. It is not acceptable to rewrite our history to appease your guilty conscience. When you come across a story in which black people do the right thing AND white people do the right thing, feel free to write that movie script. I will buy my ticket early and cheer at the appropriate times. Until then, save your white savior moments for the sequel to Seabiscuit. 

 Back to the biopic, remember that every film made about the Black race and the struggle endured was 10x worse than displayed in that particular film. As sad as it is, it is the truth.  It shows a glimpse of what our people were truly dealing with during this era.  Some of which has trickled its way down to today. Maybe they don't want to be remembered on the wrong side of history, that’s why they do it. Well hopefully Hollywood will cease the white savior nonsense one day. That may be the same day when the “All Lives Matter “crew finally realizes that statement is false unless Black Lives Matter.