Power is often discovered through struggle. The vast importance of powerful black women in the world, in media, and society is undeniable. When it is remembered how far they have come as a group, their power becomes so much more prevalent. Black women face many encounters that highlight how their experiences in America are so much different from other racial groups and sexes. Media captures many stories of resilience and going against oppressors in many movies that tell real stories of black women in America. The following are five MUST WATCH movies that capture the quintessence of a black woman’s experience inside and outside the United States, as well as the many rigorous trials and tribulations encountered.
- For Colored Girls
Tyler Perry’s film, For Colored Girls, debuted in 2010. It is a film based on Ntozake Shange’s poetry and theatre piece of 1976 “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.”The film is full of powerful poetic monologues from the work of poetry. The movie follows nine African American female protagonists who all encounter each other in some way and give the audience pieces of their own story. The film is heartbreaking and makes viewers feel the pain that many black women go through all too often. Some of the issues covered in the movie are rape, domestic abuse, child abuse, alcoholism, childhood trauma, adultery, infertility, and a few other topics. Each woman featured in the movie does a fantastic job of portraying their parts. Each of the nine resonates with each other’s pain, and, at the end of the movie, there is finally a moment of peace among the women. This film truly encaptures how much an African American woman can go through and have gone through, how many of our struggles are the same and disgustingly common, and how we can come together in helping each other be strong through our circumstances and move forward positively. (This movie can be found on Hulu and Netflix)
- She’s Gotta Have It
You may know of this title as being attached to a popular Netflix series, but it is also a very popular movie that debuted in 1986. Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It is a very game-changing movie similar to the series that depicts an African American woman’s journey of sexual freedom, self-love, and personal growth, ideas relatively new to media in regards to African American Women in the 80s. Nola Darling, the movie’s main character, balances three lovers, all while redefining herself for herself and no one else. (This movie can be found on Netflix)
- Set It Off
Set It Off is a more popular movie in regards to this generation, being that it was made more recently in 1996. It follows a group of black girlfriends who become tired of societal traits that hold them back. These women experience many instances of racial poverty and decide to take matters into their own hands by robbing several banks. This movie was a great depiction of what African American women go through in America and having to deal with racism, police brutality, and sexism. It was also a movie that, for one of the first times, truly showcased black women actively carrying a film of the action/heist genre. (This movie can be found on Netflix)
Precious, the 2009 film based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, features a very in-depth and strong depiction of the struggles of an illiterate sixteen-year-old mother to a child with down syndrome, living with an abusive mother in Harlem. The film’s main character, Precious, bears the reality of her situation of being a teen mom, abused daily, a rape victim, and living in poverty. The short scenes in which Precious is raped and the many conflicts with her mother show her raw reality; these scenes were also hard for some to watch in theaters. Precious finally gets help from an outside source by the name of Ms.Rain; she helps her write about her situation so she can understand how she feels. Eventually, Precious overcomes her mother’s tight hold, and many of the reasons Precious’ mom is so resentful is revealed to the audience. This story definitely encourages people to keep a sense of empathy for the most vulnerable members of the African American community. (This movie can be found on Netflix)
- The Color Purple
The film adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple made its debut in 1985. It is one of the most renowned movies in African American movies. It is essential due to being one of the first movies that fully depicted the many struggles of African American women during the time. The main characters experienced domestic violence, rape, racism, and various forms of neglect. The story took place in Georgia, a place where racism was all too familiar. Celie, the story’s main character, experiences constant abuse and hardships in a society that couldn’t lend an open ear to her cries. With the help of other black women she meets as she grows up, she sees what hardships they all go through and how they remain strong, and she eventually overcomes her struggles. Celie and her friends, Shug Avery and Sofia, become so much stronger throughout the movie. They all reclaim their lives, which makes this movie nothing less than evolutionary. (This movie can be found on Netflix)
All of the movies mentioned provide an in-depth and specific depiction of the many struggles African American women continuously go through and how they have overcome them or how they went against their sources of oppression. These films provide a background of the history of black women while also providing ideas that they can overcome anything and are extremely powerful and resilient. Very unfortunate circumstances are placed in front of many of us, but the people whose stories are told give us hope and more of an idea of why black women need to stick together. Black women are indeed the only people who can understand each other’s struggles wholeheartedly.