Top 13 Movies Celebrating Black Liberation

Chi-Raq Trailer

These are my personal choices. There are doubtlessly more, some I may not know about. Please contribute your own suggestions in the comments.

Malcolm X (1992): Spike Lee’s masterful bio pic which rivals Citizen Kane as best movie ever IMHO.

Chi-Raq (2015): A musical comedy about urban/gang – and worldwide – violence based on Aeschylus’ Lysistrata told in hip-hop verse (think sex strike)! And it works!

Deacons for Defense (2003): Forest Whittaker and Ossie Davis in a drama about armed resistance among Alabama Blacks in the Civil Rights Movement.

Freedom Road (1979): Muhammed Ali (!) stars in this Reconstruction story about armed resistance to the imposition of Jim Crow, based on the novel by Howard Fast.

Nothing But A Man (1964): Abbey Lincoln. Story of a Black working-class family fighting for respect in an Alabama town.

Do the Right Thing (1989): Spike Lee’s tragicomic story of how a hot summer day in a Brooklyn neighborhood leads to a racial confrontation and conflagration.

The Chi (2019-20): TV series on Showtime, three seasons, created by Lena Waithe, about a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Kind of like The Wire but from a Black perspective.

Queen & Slim (2019): Lena Waithe’s road drama, a Black Bonnie & Clyde, except the fleeing “suspects” are innocent.

When They See Us (2019): Netflix mini-series created and directed by Ava DuVernay about the Central Park 5, young teens tried, convicted, and jailed for a crime they didn’t commit.

Harriet (2019): Should have been up for an Oscar, just like Tubman’s picture should be on the ten-dollar bill.  

13th (2016): Documentary by Ava DuVernay explores the “intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States.”

I Am Not Your Negro (2016): Documentary about the life and work of James Baldwin.

The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973): A Black CIA agent goes rogue and uses his skills to train groups of Chicago youth to be “freedom fighters.”

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