Home / Blog / The Year for African American Directors and Actors!

The Year for African American Directors and Actors!

This looks like the breakout year for film for Black and African American themed films, actors, and directors. Early in 2018, “Black Panther”, broke so much new ground with its almost total Black casting and its strong African influences. It is the first comics film to be grounded in African and African-American culture and experience. Its director, Ryan Cooglier, also directed the great Fruitvale Station several years back. Next to arrive was “Sorry to Bother You”, a debut by Boots Riley that is great social satire on race and race relations. Where it is its most hilarious and inspirational is its skewering of capitalism. That almost followed immediately by “Blindspotting”, directed by American-Mexican director Carlos Lopez Estrada but featured a star performance by Daveed Diggs.  “Blindspotting” provides commentary on race relations and the assumptions regarding race that tend to lay unexposed (and thankfully we have films like these to expose them). Spike Lee’s “Blackkklansman” portrayed the true story of a team of detectives who infiltrated the KKK, and of course, this is in a long list of excellent Spike Lee films.  The latest two films, both directed by African-American film makers, take on the weighty theme of the shooting of unarmed Black men by White police officers. “Monsters and Men” and “The Hate U Give” both examine, in different ways, the humanity of the people involved who must make choices that will have a lasting impact on them and their families. Finally, in November, “If Beale Street Could Talk”, an adaptation of the excellent book by James Baldwin of the same name, is coming. Its director is Barry Jenkins, whose film Moonlight won Best Picture in the 2017 Oscars.  Each of these films tackles important subjects very differently and are uniquely creative. The message is clear: We have a generation of directors who are making movies that are damned excellent, challenge us, and force us to recognize that African-American directors and actors are bringing their unique experiences to film and in the process giving us incredible movies and performances. And they are not going away. Perhaps the color of Hollywood is finally changing.

About Gary Burkholder

Check Also

My Favorite Films of 2017

Several films clustered right at the top for me, making it challenging to pick what …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave the field below empty!

Skip to toolbar