February is African American history month. It is a time to remember African Americans and the many contributions they have provided in all areas of life including the arts, science, medicine, fashion, business, music, education, politics and many, many more. Sadly, this year not one African American writer, actor, director, musician, technician or any area in the movie industry was nominated for an Oscar. Here are just 3 of the thousands of movies written, produced, directed and acted by African American artists about African Americans and won numerous awards.
Malcolm X – Is a film written, directed and produced by Spike Lee. It is based on the life of activist and Minister Malcolm X. The all-star African American cast and production team included: actor Denzel Washington who played Malcolm X, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman, Jr., Delroy Lindo and Spike Lee. The movie is based on the book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X written by Alex Haley. Music for the film was by Ernest Dickerson. The movie was produced by 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks owned by Spike Lee. Also appearing in the film was President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, Activist, Rev. Al Sharpton and Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale. Dr. Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X’s widow, served as a consultant for the film. The Fruit of Islam served as security for the movie.
The Jungle – Is a documentary written, edited, filmed and acted by teenagers Charlie “Brown” Davis, Jimmy “Country” Robinson and David “Bat” Williams. This dramatization tells the story of their involvement in the 12th and Oxford Street Gang in Philadelphia in 1967. The movie was entirely produced by the 12th and Oxford Street Gang. They wrote the script, handled the camera, filmed the scenes, recorded the sound, blocked their own fight scenes and recorded the music soundtrack.
The Learning Tree – Is an autobiographical novel written by Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks. In 1969, Gordon Parks became the first major Black director in Hollywood with the film adaptation of his book, The Learning Tree. He also wrote the screenplay and composed the musical score. In addition to being a director, he was also a photographer, poet, essayist, writer, musician and composer. He also directed the blockbuster film, Shaft in 1971 and Solomon Northup’s Odyssey based on Twelve Years a Slave.
This Black History Month, forget the Oscars and take some time and view a movie with Black actors, writers, directors and musicians.