Last summer I decided to introduce Olivia to a series of classic Black culture movies. we had just spent several weeks in NYC where I did everything I could to make sure she was able to see black and brown faces on Broadway. As an aspiring triple threat (singer, dancer, actress) I felt it was time to expand her view about her future. I wanted her to see firsthand that she doesn’t have to portray a criminal or drug dealer to be acclaimed for her work.
So Harold and I started compiling a list of movies we wanted her to see. And it got LONG y’all. So I am sharing a list of Black Culture movies GenX parents should watch with their GenZ teens. We’ve been watching them on Amazon Prime Video, but you can stream them from almost anywhere. Here we go.
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Coming of Age Stories
There are certain things about coming of age in Black Culture that are better demonstrated than explained. These movies will help plant the seed for a more in-depth discussion with your teen.
1. The Inkwell
3. Boyz N The Hood
Black Culture consistently manages to find humor in even the worst circumstances. We have to laugh to keep from crying.
4. Coming To America
5. Harlem Nights
8. House Party
Parodies and Spoof Movies
And then there are those times we have to laugh at ourselves.
9. Hollywood Shuffle
10. Meteor Man
11. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka
Movies About Sports
Like Black culture, sports have always been about overcoming the odds.
12. Above The Rim
13. He Got Game
14. Coach Carter
15. Remember the Titans
17. Soul of The Game
18. Cool Runnings
Representation Matters: I Made Sure My Teen Actress Saw Black Broadway
Why I Can’t Celebrate With Taraji: A Black Stage Moms Dilemma
We’re not always the villain. Black Culture has some heroes too. And some fine ones at that. **looking at you Taimak**
20. The Last Dragon
21. Low Down Dirty Shame
22. Bad Boys (the whole franchise, actually)
Stories on Urban Life
Because we’re always about that action, even when we’re not the heroes.
23. Do The Right Thing
25. New Jack City
27. Menace To Society
28. Dead Presidents
29. Set It Off
The tragedies of life in Black Culture are the reason we have to laugh to keep from crying.
30. Cornbread, Earl and Me
31. Cooley High
32. Queen and Slim
Black History is American History and these Black Culture movies teach us about some of the iconic historical figures who helped to shape it.
33. Lean On Me
34. Malcolm X
37. Hidden Figures
38. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Movies with Musical Influence
If it doesn’t have music then it ain’t Black Culture. We are more than just hip hop, but we got that too. These movies will highlight for your teen how music punctuates all of our life experiences.
39. Sparkle (the original version with Irene Cara, not the one with Jordin Sparks)
40. The Wiz
41. The Five Heartbeats
42. Sister Act 2 (and Sister Act by default, but it’s not really necessary)
43. What’s Love Got To Do With It
45. Krush Groove
So those last three are technically biopics, but they cover the stories of the lives of musicians and artists, so I put them in this category. Call it what you want, they’re all good movies to demonstrate the breadth and diversity of musical prowess within Black Culture.
Black Culture has a way of leading the pack with dance trends. You can’t hear a good groove and not want to make your body move. And of course, the Jheri curl juice helped with the head spins.
46. Electric Boogaloo
47. Roll Bounce
History hasn’t been kind African Americans. These movies demonstrate the tenacity, will, and undying courage your teens will discover in Black Culture.
As if tragedies and historical dramas weren’t scary enough, we have actual Black Culture Horror Movies. But they’re mostly just what’s happening inside the mind of Jordan Peele.
53. Get Out
Historically Black College & University (HBCU) Stories
When colleges wouldn’t allow Black students to enroll, Black Culture banned together and created our own. There’s nothing like the HBCU experience. These movies will teach them it’s more than what they saw in Homecoming.
54. School Daze
56. The Great Debaters
57. Stomp The Yard
Ain’t no love like #BlackLove. Through all the tragedies and comedies of life love prevails, uplifts, and inspires Black Culture to keep going.
58. Love and Basketball
60. Love Jones
61. Poetic Justice
62. The Wood
63. Best Man
64. Jason’s Lyric
Black Family Life
65. Soul Food (I should have my Black Card revoked for not including this sooner)
67. Lee Daniel’s The Butler
68. This Christmas
What movies did I miss? Which ones are you most excited to watch with your teen?