I am a black person aficionado. I would even go as far as to say I’m hella, hella black. I love black people, black traditions, black music, and most of all—black movies. There is just something about a black ass movie that makes you feel like everything is right in the world. You become a part of the cast. You learn the lines that become classic sayings. No matter what the storyline or plot, most black people can find something or someone to relate to in a black movie. Black movies give you this feeling of self-empowerment and light-heartedness that you just can’t get from other movies. Whether it’s a low-budget film or blockbuster hit—I love them all!
Like music, black movies contribute to finding your way and fitting into black culture. They solidify your ranking on the black-o-meter—letting everyone know where you fall (not really, but I’m just saying) in the culture pool. Having a wide repertoire of movie lines, you can recite at the drop of a dime, makes the movie even more memorable, and you a lot cooler. It allows you to form a bond with other people who look like you that often leads to random conversations and laughter. Though nothing has ever been set in stone—there are just some black movies that are a right of passage into adulthood—and should be seen before one descends into the heavens.
I hear you looking at me. Wondering which movies that you haven’t seen—and may have you almost ejected out of black community [laughs]. But, I’m going to give you 10 movies (yes, there are more but this is my post, and I don’t have time to list 40 movies) that every black person should see (or should have seen) by the time they officially say, “I’m grown as hell.”
1. Coming to America
Let me just start by saying this, “I don’t trust any black person who hasn’t seen Coming to America!” I once had a college roommate who had never seen this movie and when I tell you there was an echoing silence throughout the room—you could hear a pen drop. I don’t know how anyone can even make to 16-years-old and not see this movie. Hell, by the time I was a freshman in college, I could quote 90% of the movie with it on mute and sing “She’s your queeeeeeen to be,” at the highest falsetto. Everything from Soul Glo, McDowells, the barbershop, and Randy Watson & the Sexual Chocolate band—made this is the blackest damn movie ever. If someone doesn’t know at least 10 lines from this movie, you may want to rub their cheek to see if there is someone else hiding underneath.
2. Harlem Nights
This is another black film that is a must-have punch on your black card. Although, this is nowhere near a kid movie, I’d probably seen it a few times before I was 12 (I had questionable babysitters aka my older siblings). Anyway, this all star cast of blackness and glance into a 1930’s underground gambling house mixed with the comedic profanity will forever be a classic. Not to mention, the way Della Reese beatdown Eddie Murphy after he accused her of stealing gave most people flashbacks to their own aunts and grandmothers (Bring ya ass Trip!). Oh, and let’s not forget Richie’s unforgettable phone call to his wife cause yeah, he ain’t coming home!
“Excuse me brother, what we call drugs at the 74th Street Baptist Church we call the sin of sin sins.” If you can’t finish this line, run to your nearest TV, open Netflix (or whatever movie app you have) and watch this immediately—because no one will ever believe you are a black person if you can’t.
4. Boyz N the Hood
“Riccckkkkkky!” If you don’t still scream out for him to duck down when you see Morris Chestnut running down the alley—you aren’t human, and that’s all I’m going to say about this one.
(Sidenote: You can swap this out for or add Menace 2 Society, New Jack City, CB4, Dead Presidents and a million other hood movies in here as well, but I’m only doing 11.)
5. Color Purple
If you ever approach anyone who doesn’t recognize the following: “You told Harpo to beat me,” “You sholl is ugly,” or “Until you do right by me, everything you think about is going to crumble [insert weird finger pointing],” run because like I said about Coming to America, they can’t be trusted, and they are probably an impersonator.
6. Love Jones
I’ll be honest, this movie made the cut because it’s my favorite movie. Also, well because how can you even say you know anything about love if you don’t know who Darius and Nina are? This movie (aside from it’s dope ass soundtrack and poetry), is the flip side to the overcompensated love storylines. It’s contains the right amount of grittiness, complex relationships, and again, I like the poetry…don’t hate, I’m cultured.
(Sidenote: I will also insert Poetic Justice, Waiting to Exhale, Jungle Fever [shout out to Gator] and She’s Gotta Have It in here as well, but again I’m only doing 11.)
“Maaaaarcus Darling,” is the official cougar line to date. Everybody from Lady Eloise, Boney-T, Marcus, Jacqueline, Gerard, Tyler, Angela, and her sarcastic ass art students makes this love-comedy must see blackness. Not to mention, if you have no idea who Strange (pronounced: Stronjay) is then well just stop scrolling now—there is officially no hope for you.
8. I’m Gonna Get You Sucka
Before there was Nicki, K Michele and all the other fake booties—there was Candy, a seductress who just so happen to start peeling away (literally peeling) her body parts during what was supposed to be a one-night stand. Now granted I had watched this movie most of my childhood (again blame my sitters), it ranks right up there with the rest of the sheer black movies the Wayans family has blessed us with. A perfect combination of pro-black, crazy love, hood martial arts, and ghetto fabulousness that any blaxpolitation should have. This movie also contains one of the coldest pimp poems ever uttered in the history of pimps…Jerome ain’t have nothing on Flyguy.
9. House Party (at least 1-3)
Kid n’ Play’s cinematic chemistry mixed with Martin and Robin Harris’s comedy automatically stamps this as a classic. Their house parties were legendary and had you mischievously planning your own. If you haven’t at least seen two of them, I can certainly say I wouldn’t trust your party planning skills…at all.
I’m not sure this needs any explanation—it’s black history. There isn’t a black household—or shouldn’t be—around where everyone was forced to watch this week-long series at least once (because that’s all I’m ever going to see it) in their lifetime.
11. Malcolm X
This was one of the blackest performances (next to Alonzo) Denzel will be remembered for. He gave one hell of a performance and with Malcolm X being such an iconic person, who played such an intricate role in the progression of black people—it’s almost impossible to forget or add to the right of passage blackness.
Tell me your some of your black right of passage movies in the comments below!