Black Authors and Filmmakers – The Pioneer

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By Paul Acobphoto editor, Maha Sanadsocial media editor

In honor of Black History Month, The Pioneer has curated a list of films and books by black authors and filmmakers. Black inventions, education and history continue to lack representation in public school curricula, making it our responsibility as members of the public to educate ourselves and each other through the consumption of media and of speech.

“The ‘Black Film Paradigm’ is a collection of cast, crew, stories and themes that transpire what we know about blackness in the film world,” according to Steven “The Prof” Cleveland, MFA, Entitled Lecturer Lecturer in the Department of Ethnic Studies and BIPOC Fellows in the Department of History, Steven “The Prof” Cleveland, MFA.

Through the expansion of this paradigm, audiences can be introduced to more stories relating to the black experience in America. Cleveland, MFA states that “it is important for Americans to see black movies and black stories as a way to extend this paradigm because this paradigm dictates what we will see in the future, so if people are not not exposed to a Black Diversity Film Paradigm, we just see the same type of images over and over again.

As Black History Month comes to an end, we’ve chosen to share some amazing stories about the contributions of black people in America as well as movies and TV that have great black representation.

Movie :

Concrete Cowboy (2021)
“Stranger Things” star Caleb McLaughlin plays Cole in The Philadelphia Tale of Family, Brotherhood and Horses. In a modern tale of the cowboy community located in North Philly, “Sonic The Hedgehog 2,” star Idris Elba leads his son down the cowboy path.

The More They Fall (2021)
“The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” star Jonathan Majors directs this epic western tale of Nat Love regrouping his gang to defeat old enemy Rufus Buck, played by Idris Elba. Additionally, Majors is joined by Lakeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, and Rj Cyler on their journey to defeat Buck and his gang.

One Night in Miami (2020)
Similar to ‘Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019)’, One Night In Miami is a fictionalized tale where African American icons such as Muhammed Ali, Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and Jim Brown come together to discuss their roles in civil rights. Movement that takes place in the 60s.
Directed by “The Harder They Fall” star Regina King, the concept for this story allows audiences to reflect on what it would be like for these iconic figures to meet in a time that needed black community unity.

King Richard (2021)
Based on the lives of successful tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, the story follows in the footsteps of their father, played by Will Smith. Coached by their father, the girls would work hard to get to where they are today.
This film was nominated for an Oscar in the “Best Picture” category. Will Smith also won an award at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards for “Best Male Actor in a Leading Role” on February 27.

Respect (2021)
Played by Jennifer Hudson, the Aretha Franklin biopic is the incredible story of the music icon’s rise to fame and her journey in finding her voice. This film was recently nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role at the SAG Awards on February 27, 2022.

Summer of the Soul (2021)
Directed by brilliant musician Questlove, this is a documentary about the legendary Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969, which celebrated African-American music and culture and promoted pride and community. The film was nominated for the 94th Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature. Prizes will be awarded on March 27.

Soul (2020)
From the great mind of Pete Docter comes the story of black musician Joe Gardner, played by Jamie Foxx, who is mortally killed and sent to a world between life and death. Partnered with another soul in need of guidance, played by Tina Fey, Gardner sets out to teach that soul about the beauty of life in exchange for her conscience.

Shows:

Abbott Elementary School (2021)
“Abbott Elementary” is a sitcom that follows a group of teachers at a Philadelphia public school who are determined to see their students succeed in life despite the odds stacked against them. It’s a hilarious show with heartwarming moments that feel personal and relatable, created by writer, producer, comedian and actress Quinta Brunson.

Jeen Yuhs (2022)
Released weekly on Netflix, this documentary begins with a young Kanye West, following his journey through hip-hop and culture. The story gives audiences insight into his music-making process and his life as an inspirational producer and rapper.

Euphoria (2019)
Directed by Sam Levinson, this show follows Rue, played by Zendaya, a depressed teenager who navigates her way through high school and sobriety while battling drug addiction, gang violence and school drama. The show isn’t afraid to explore themes of addiction, sexuality, racism, violence, enough to shock fans with every episode released.
Achieving in multiple categories, Euphoria was nominated and awarded Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Contemporary Makeup, and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics at the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2020.

Books:

“You Really Assumed” by Laila Sabreen

A recently released young adult contemporary novel follows three young black Muslim women who face Islamophobia following a terrorist attack. Debut author Laila Sabreen is a compelling and thought-provoking look at the perspective of a young black Muslim woman, a group grossly underrepresented in the media.

“Buy Black: How Black Women Transformed American Pop Culture” by Aria S. Halliday

A non-fiction novel that examines the role black women in America play on black consumption in the United States and around the world, with a focus on their “central role in the packaging of female identity black since the 1960s. This is a bold, must-read book exploring true stories depicting black youth and femininity.

“Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience and Restoration” by Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts

A series of refreshing essays that share uplifting stories about the evolution of joy, especially in the face of trauma, in the context of black culture. This novel challenges the one-note narrative that being Black means a life of only trauma and hardship. “Black joy is not only a weapon of resistance; it is a resilience tool.

“The Violin Conspiracy” by Brendan Slocumb

“The Violin Conspiracy” is a thrilling mystery novel about a prodigious black classical musician whose family heirloom violin was stolen the day before he entered the world’s most prestigious classical music competition. This multi-dimensional story explores family drama unfolding in the present while having hints of historical fiction. Ideal for fans of thriller films!

While Black History Month is only celebrated 28 days a year, we as consumers must continue to educate ourselves and create a safe space for black voices to rejoice.n popular media. Our hopes of keeping this list will encourage readers to expand their libraries, supporting black stories all year long.

“To understand black movies right now, you have to understand hip hop right now, you have to understand art right now,” Cleveland said when discussing the cohesiveness of black history.


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