Movies Crafted by Black Directors

Racism runs deep in the United States. It is in the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and unsurprisingly so, the American films we consume. The first blockbuster in the United States was "The Birth Of a Nation," an extremely racist film that I won’t give the pleasure of describing. This film was such a success that other white American filmmakers made films similar to it. So did the white filmmakers after them… and the white filmmakers after them. You get the picture. Rarely main characters and often misrepresented, Black people are not done nearly enough justice in films.

However, Black people know that the U.S. is racist, and they don’t need to be reminded through graphic images. I will, therefore, try to recommend movies that aren’t too triggering so Black people can enjoy the movies, too. 

Here are three movies crafted by Black directors:

  1. 1. "Boyz N the Hood "

    John Singleton directed "Boyz N The Hood," and it is as powerful today as it was in 1991. The film follows the life of Tre Styles, a boy growing up in South Central Los Angeles. As a result of living around crime, drugs and gangs, Tre soon gets involved with it himself. This story seeks to tell a bigger story—a story where over-policed, Black communities are insufficiently sustained, and this cycle leads to violence. Tre didn’t just get involved with violence because he was around it. Tre gets involved with violence because Black communities are not nurtured, funded or protected. 

  2. 2. "Barbershop"

    Director Tim Story let people see a genre that didn’t circulate around racism, but instead community. In this 2002 comedy (which my older brother had on VHS), a South Side Chicago barbershop is a center for the Black community. The owner, Calvin Palmer, inherited the shop from his late father, and at first, he saw running the business as a burden. Slowly but surely, his community members teach him what a beautiful thing his father passed down to him. 

  3. 3. "The Hate U Give"

    George Tillman Jr. directed this movie, and it is a book-to-movie adaptation written by bestseller Angie Thomas. It follows the life of a girl named Starr who has two sides: the side she shows at her mostly-white, private school and the side she shows her Black friends. In finding her voice and talking about things that truly matter, it hits home and is sad in the most accurate way. Trigger warning: The movie features a scene where a police officer murders a childhood friend and a teenage girl. If violence is triggering, it may be best to choose a different movie from this list for your mental health. But the reason I am recommending this movie is because of all the topics discussed.