Or.....Better Late Than Never....
Already one solid week into this Black History Month and the pull of procrastination threatens to overwhelm my high- minded intentions for this abbreviated month. With an initial momentum fueled by the replacement of #45, the confirmation (as if we needed one) of the prevalence of white rage coddled by the dual justice systems, I conjured a plan to post snapshots of my own family’s Black history to supplement my primary objective for this month: to screen 28 movies and television shows in tribute to the celluloid endeavors of our people.
As February continues to ebb, the best path towards this short term screen goal - at least the one most aligned with my own schedule - most likely involves the screening of four or five television shows during the next two Sundays.
Either way, Boyette’s Black History ScreenFest kicks off Wednesday February 10 with Mississippi Masala. Director Mira Nair’s tale of two cultures on a romantic collision course introduced audiences to Sarita Choudhury and qualifies for this list thanks to the leading man Denzel Washington. Do I need to state the obvious inspiration for choosing this particular selection? I think not.
The works in my list appear in no particular order except how they occurred to me. The cannon of Black film is extensive (of course it could be larger) holding enough selection to overwhelm this Hollywood-adjacent popcorn lover (soy sauce, hold the butter, thank you very much). A few parameters helped narrow things down:
Following Mississippi Masala, we move on to Within Our Gates by Oscar Michieux - the oldest known surviving film made by a Black director. At least that’s what the internet tells me.
What classic movies made your list?
Check this space on Friday morning for my weekend picks!
UPDATE 10 Feb 2021:
Unbelievably, Mississippi Marsala does not appear on any streaming service! #RookieMistake
However, as the adage goes: one door closes and another one opens. In lieu of gazing upon Denzel's star turn along the Gulf Coast, let us head over to Tinsel Town with Robert Townsend's "caustic satire about the dearth of substantial roles for black and Hispanic actors in Hollywood" [Garin Pirnia, Vanity Fair March 2017] - Hollywood Shuffle. It's been a long minute since I watched this classic work, with a message that still resonates.
To recap: Kicking off Black History Month ScreenFest tonight with Hollywood Shuffle accopanied by a bowl of popcorn fresh out of the air fryer!