Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: Taking back power through Black Films

<p>Malcolm X, played by Kingsley Ben-Adir, performs in &quot;One Night in Miami.&quot; </p>

Malcolm X, played by Kingsley Ben-Adir, performs in "One Night in Miami."

Since last summer, Black stories have been gaining recognition in the United States. Our lives have been plastered all over social media, news networks, magazines and the internet because of police brutality and senseless murders of Black individuals. 

This year, several films have already been released that can teach Americans about the lives of Black Americans. Films reflecting Black stories are important because they show the reality of being a person of color in a world not always accepting of differences.

These films are necessary and have the ability to connect people with different backgrounds. 

“One Night in Miami” was released to stream on Amazon Prime Video Jan. 15. The  directorial debut for Regina King, a well known Black actress, emphasizes  the importance of Black stories being told by Black people. 

The movie highlights a fictional night in 1964 when four Black icons gather to celebrate Cassius Clay, known as Muhammad Ali, and his big win against Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall. 

Clay is joined by Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown in his hotel room, where they discuss being a conscious Black man during the civil rights movement. They talk about how they can use their positions as an activist, a singer and an athlete to bring awareness to discrimination to empower other Black individuals.

“This is one strange fucking night,” Jim Brown, played by Aldis Hodge, says in the movie.

Although there were obvious differences between them, the men still found a way to be friends and bond to make change in America.

“Everybody talks about they want a piece of the pie. Well, I don’t,” Sam Cooke, played by Leslie Odom Jr., says. “I want the goddamn recipe.” 

“American Skin” was released to stream on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube on Jan. 15. The film was executive produced by Spike Lee, a well-known Black film director, producer, screenwriter and actor. 

The film starred Nate Parker, who wrote and directed the film. “American Skin” follows a Black war veteran in pursuit of justice for his son after he is killed by police during a routine traffic stop. Lincoln Jefferson — played by Parker — has a student film crew follow him as he fights for his son. 

The world embraces Jefferson and mourns with him through protests against police brutality, but that isn’t enough for him. Jefferson takes justice into his own hands and reacts to the situation the way the police did — violently. Jefferson won’t stop fighting until he gets justice for his son. 

“Why are we the only people in this country that are expected to do things without violence,” Jefferson says.

The film brings racial profiling to the forefront and examinates it from perspectives of different races. It can be seen as a wake up call for America.

We can expect to see the emergence of more Black movies this year. 

According to The Root, some Black films to keep an eye out for in 2021 are “Malcolm & Marie,” coming out Feb. 5, “Judas and the Black Messiah,” coming out Feb. 12, and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” coming out Feb. 26.

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