Juneteenth - 2021

Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. About two months after Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered, on June 19, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was put into effect.

In celebration of this momentous achievement towards freedom for all humankind, here are some of my favorite movies and series featuring African-Americans (behind and in front of the scenes).

CREED   (Feature - 2015)
Directed By:  Ryan Coogler
Written By:    Ryan Coogler & Aaron Covington

Son of (former boxing champion) Apollo Creed, Adonis Creed fights to create his own legacy, while still trying to embrace his family name. With the help of Rocky Balboa (former friend and rival of Apollo Creed), Adonis sets out on a path of self-discovery, love, and legacy.

Being a massive fan of the previous six "Rocky" films (with Sylvester Stallone as the star), I was very skeptical that anyone else could tap into the magic of the "Rocky" story besides Stallone (writer of the previous six Rocky films). Boy, was I ever mistaken. Writer/Director, Ryan Coogler seamlessly updates the franchise for present-day and perfectly casts the new headlining characters. The incredible onscreen chemistry between Adonis (Michael B Jordan) and Bianca (Tessa Thompson) gives the film legs to stand on its own, along with spinning a whole new trilogy.

WATCHMEN   (Series - 2019)
Created for Television By:  Damon Lindelof

Set in an alternate reality where masked vigilantes work on both sides of the law, WATCHMEN follows Detective Angela Abar as she investigates the reemergence of a white supremacy group.

Perhaps the smartest move the writers of "Watchmen" made was setting the character roots of the show in the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Race Massacre of 1921. Not only does this give a deep look into the racial disparities that have stained our county, but it also educates the audience on the (little known) Tulsa Race Riots of 1921.

Headlined by the powerful, Regina King (as Angela Abar), "Watchmen" tells a deliciously satisfying story that makes use of history, character dilemmas, and addresses the modern day rise of white supremacy. Drawing similarities to past events while also pointing out new, developing methods of racial suppression.

GET OUT  (Feature - 2017)
Directed By: Jordan Peele
Written By:   Jordan Peele

When a young African-American man visits the family of his white girlfriend, he must navigate a family who (seemingly) never has had a black man to a family gathering.

First and foremost, Jordan Peele's script is purely magnificent in slowly building the awkward tension at the family gathering. Allowing the audience the imagine how a similar scenario would unfold in their own family. I likened "Get Out" to a feature length episode of "The Twilight Zone." The moment of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) driving to her parents house, being the moment where they cross into the Twilight Zone.

SYLVIE'S LOVE  (Feature - 2020)
Directed By: Eugene Ashe
Written By:   Eugene Ashe

Set in the 1950/60s, SYLVIE'S LOVE tells the love story of an inspiring television producer and inspiring musician. When their paths continue to cross then pull them in different directions, they're forced to define they version of the meaning of life.

Eugene Ashe's screenplay really finds its footing in the dilemma of the push and pull between (personal) love and career. A dilemma all of us face at one point or another. Additionally, the time and attention given to Sylvie (Tessa Thompson) and Robert's (Nnamdi Asomugha) struggles outside of their relationship give a unique point of view into the life of two aspiring creatives. Sylvie's juggling responsibilities of being a single mother while assisting a TV Producer, and Robert attempts to adapt to the ever-changing musical landscape.

SMALL AXE: Red, White, and Blue (TV Movie - 2020)
Directed By: Steve McQueen
Written By:   Steve McQueen & Courttia Newland

Motivated by witnessing the assault of his father by two policemen, "Red, White, and Blue" follows the incredible true story of Leroy Logan, as he attempts to change the racist attitudes of the Metropolitan Police.

The shinning force of this TV movie is John Boyega's portrayal of Leroy Logan. Known for his role of "Finn" in the Star Wars sequels, Boyega proves (through this performance alone) he's a force that can't be ignored. The tensions behind what isn't said is a unique point of view into this story. Whether it's between father and son, commander and officer, or white man and black man, McQueen, Newland, and Boyega reflect societies racial injustices in a matter in which you won't want to look away.


  1. What I love about Creed is that it never once explicitly mentions race, yet the entire film is filled with those themes. Rocky & Adonis interact as individuals, not "old white man" and "young black kid" stereotypes even though it would have been so easy to do that (it just would have been a completely different--and probably worse--experience).

    I knew Watchmen would be on here before I even clicked on the link (!). Just today I was out walking and the "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" Sinatra version came up in my shuffle. Such a great miniseries.

    I need to watch Get Out again. I didn't fully appreciate its social commentary in the first (and only) time I've seen it thus far.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Favorite Feature Films of 2022

Major League Baseball (MLB) Opening Day Review - 2021