At the beginning of the week, we asked friends, followers and “LIKErs” to come up with the top ten Best of Black Cinema. This is the result. Let’s get down baby….

10. Do the Right Thing (1989 dir. Spike Lee). Lets face it. This is the movie that white America fears. Lee uses a microcosm of BK as a metaphor for our national racism. You can never stop watching this movie. And if you’ve never seen it, shame the fuck on you…
Mookie rules!

9. Glory (1989. dir. Ed Zwick) Believe it or not, finding a film that focuses on black history is not as easy as you’d think. For every one Glory or Red Tails, there’s a bunch of Driving Miss Daisys (Bagger Vance anyone?) which makes this film all the more important. Zwick does not shy away from the racism inflicted on black troops, a new concept during the Civil War, as well as the privations of war in general. Oh yeah, it’s got Denzel so yeah. There’s that! This is a must see. And if you don’t drop a tear at the end, you’re a cold mutha fukka…

8. Remember the Titans (2000. dir Boaz Yakin) say what you want about Disney, but this movie had to be made and they have a knack for making good sports films. Titans stars Denzel (who pretty much pwns our list) as head coach Herman Boone who takes over a Virginia high school football team its first year after desegregation. You can feel the hate for Coach Boone in this story.

7. In the Heat of the Night (1967. dir Norman Jewison) Because of this scene (check Sidney’s shrug at the end):

6. Shaft (1971. dir Gordon Parks) While director Marvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song may have opened the door to black cimema, Shaft’s director and Life Magazine photojournalist Gordon Parks opened the door for black photographers everywhere. This is his first film and it was a HUGE hit. Parks broke boundaries in both the photographic and cinematic arts. Without Shaft, Parks’ name could have faded into history. Incidentally, Shaft was created by a white dude who has since been honored by the NAACP for the creation of the first real black private eye. Shaft started as a book series by author Ernest Tidyman. Check it here.

5. Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip (1982) This live concert film by one of America’s greatest comedians launched a thousand funny careers from Eddie (watch the clip and think of Eddie’s red jump suit in Delirious) to Chris. Pryor never did find a niche in films, although Blue Collar is one of his best, but when you watch him on stage on the big screen you’re watching an American genius at work.

4. Wild Style (1984. dir. Charles Herndon) We’re always surprised at the yung’uns who have never seen THE movie about the birth of hip-hop and street art. Before Beat Street and Breakin’, Wild Style featured legends like Grand Master Flash, Coldcrush Brothers etc.. WS should be shown in every music history class. It’s a little hammy on the drama, but it’s THE film to check out if you’re interested in the beginning of the hip-hop nation.
(one of the greatest rap b-ball battles ever)

Fuck it. We’ll give Wild Style another shout. SO much love here:

3. Killer of Sheep (1979. dir Charles Burnett) Burnett is the James Baldwin of filmmaking. This is one of the most important black films ever made. It’s focus the black Los Angeles ghetto of Watts in the mid-1970s. Not to be missed if you’ve never seen it.

2. Boyz in the Hood (1991. dir John Singleton) NWA. South Central LA. Cube. Gangs. It’s all here. Boyz ripped open the reality of what was going on in S.Cen and exposed it to the nation. Truly one of the most important films about a community ever made. It’s STILL hard to watch. Classic.

1. Malcolm X (1994. dir Spike Lee) No matter what you think of this film in terms of historical accuracy, you cannot not help being blown away by the performance of Denzel Washington as the polarizing black leader. If anything, this film and the controversy surrounding it will have you picking up Malcolm X’s autobiography and getting the real deal. It’s sad that there are no other definitive films about other black leaders…

And just because. A relevant message from Chuck D and friends. 🙂

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