I love pretty much all movies, but I really love movies that represent the Black community, whether they’re big-budget genre works or Black indie films. In recent years, we’ve seen a bit more diversity on-screen than in the past, and it’s a necessary change. And thankfully, there are a good number of Black movies coming out in 2017, which will provide even more diverse storytelling.
From biopics to fantasies to thrillers, 2017 provides an impressive list of films featuring people of color, and many of them are a refreshing change from the normal genre of slave stories seen far too often. And in light of Black History month this February, it’s especially important to see so many upcoming Black films that tell a variety of stories. Mark your calendars now, because you won’t want to miss out on any of these nine movies set for release later this year.
Finally, we get to see Black actors take on a fantasy sci-fi film. In Sleight, a teenage orphan (Jacob Latimore) finds himself way over his head after indulging in illegal activities and being forced to use his skills as a magician to save his kidnapped sister. The movie premiers Apr. 7 and I’m curious to see how it plays out.
2. Deidra & Laney Rob A Train
Premiering Mar. 17 on Netflix, Deidra & Laney Rob A Train follows two sisters who plan a train robbery in order to support their family after their mother ends up in jail. The dramedy looks like a younger version of Thelma & Louise.
3. All Eyez On Me
“I can’t deny it” — I’m excited about seeing this Tupac biopic. The movie takes an in-depth look into Tupac’s thoughts about Black men in America and his incredible career. The film is set to release on Jun. 16, what would have been Pac’s 46th birthday.
4. Burning Sands
Burning Sands, streaming now on Netflix, is about the journey of fraternity pledging through the eyes of pledge (Trevor Jackson) who is torn between standing up against the violence of hazing or honoring the no snitch code. The complicated bonds of brotherhood are tested and explored in this film, director Gerard McMurray’s feature directorial debut.
Kidnap looks to be a nail-biting emotional rollercoaster in which Halle Berry’s character’s son is snatched from an amusement park. The movie, which premiers in theaters Mar. 10, seems like a Fast & Furious film but with a mom and a minivan.
6. Get Out
Jordan Peele of the Comedy Central show Key & Peele is changing the narrative of Black horror films with his upcoming movie Get Out, which premieres Feb. 24. Judging from the trailer, the movie seems like it’s set to kill many stereotypes about race and feature racial commentary. Get Out is one of the first major horror films since the early ’90s to have a Black protagonist, and I believe that with the growing tides of micro-aggressions based off race and religion lately, this film will have a lot of people talking.
7. The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks
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Oprah Winfrey will play Deborah Lacks, the daughter of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cancerous cells were taken without her knowledge and eventually used to create the first immortal human cell line. Long after her death in 1951, her cells lived on by being researched and contributing to medical advances, like the development of the polio vaccine, the cloning of cells in 1953, and the identifying the key receptor in HIV in 1986. This adaptation of the book by Rebecca Skloot began filming last summer and will premiere later this year on HBO.
8. Girls Trip
Starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish, this movie looks exactly like my usual girl trips. The movie is directed by Malcolm D. Lee, best known for The Best Man Holiday, and the script is co-written by Black-ish scribe Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver. Expected to be released in July, this looks like the ultimate movie to watch before taking a summer girls trip.
Chance the Rapper acts in this mystery-comedy about a killing spree that targets pizza delivery boys. Written by the Chance’s frequent music video director Austin Vesely, the film stars the rapper as a werewolf with a motorbike. The movie was inspired by George Saunders’s CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Magnolia, and hopefully, the music will be fire.
This is a great time for Black cinema, and if you’re hoping to add diversity to your moviegoing choices, you should definitely keep these films in mind.