About 10 years ago, I had the good fortune of spending a significant amount of time at Lucas Films with one of George Lucas’s producing partners, Rick McCallum. At that point, one of the feature projects they were developing was “Red Tails,” a film about the Tuskegee Airmen. This film was the first that the company would go outside of its own resources to fund. 

I had a front row seat to witness Rick’s fury as he was emotionally manipulated by white Hollywood’s tactics. George and Rick were intent on hiring a black director for the project, and as he phoned agencies he made it abundantly clear that he exclusively wanted to meet with black directors. Guess what a number of agencies sent? White directors. I recall I had never heard anyone ripped to shreds the way Rick tore through the agents that day. At one point, as we sat on the couch talking, he teared up and said of many of the black directors he knew, “I have never met more talented people in my life who are forced to do roles so beneath their training just to keep food on the table for their children. It is heartbreaking.”

On Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” George revealed that it took him 23 years to find someone to finance “Red Tails.” Even the creator of 10 of the highest grossing films of all time couldn’t get funding to make a movie because its lead characters were all black. He said, “It’s because there are no major white roles in it at all. I showed it to all of them and they said nooooo. We don’t know how to market a movie like this.” 

Why am I sharing that? Because the fact that we even have movies listed below took a practical miracle on Earth. Watch them, honor the effort, and find yourself in the shoes of another. Black films matter.

NETFLIX

13th (film)

“13th”
Ava Duvernay

American Son (film)

“American Son”
Kenny Leon

See You Yesterday

“See You Yesterday”
Stefon Bristol

Dear White People

“Dear White People”
(TV series)
Justin Simien

When They See Us

“When They See Us”
(Mini-series)
Ava Duverney

HULU

If Beale Street Could Talk

“If Beale Street Could Talk”
Barry Jenkins

The Hate U Give

“The Hate U Give”
George Tillman Jr
*with Cinemax

Atlanta

“Atlanta” (TV Series)
Danny Glover

AVAILABLE TO RENT

Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975

“The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975″

Clemency

“Clemency”
Chinonye Chukwu

Fruitvale Station

“Fruitvale Station”
Ryan Coogler

I Am Not Your Negro

“I Am Not Your Negro”
James Baldwin Documentary

Just Mercy

“Just Mercy”
Destin Daniel Cretton

Selma

“Selma”
Ava Duvernay

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

“The Black Panthers:
Vanguard of the Revolution”

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