“Menace II Society” is a 1993 film written by Tyger Williams and directed by The Hughes Brothers. I consider “Menace II Society” to be a part of the classic 1990s Black film canon. It contains similar themes to “Boyz in The Hood” and “South Central “by telling the story of young Black men growing up in environments where gangs fill the gaps left by their absent fathers.
“Hidden Figures” is a 2016 movie adapted from Margot Lee Shetterly’s book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race”. The film tells the story of three Black women who used their talents in mathematics and engineering to aid in America’s quest to successfully put an astronaut into orbit and safely return him to Earth. Pushing against racism and sexism, these three women would emerge as pioneers in the S.T.E.M. field and inspirations beyond.
“Just Mercy” is a courtroom procedural drama adapted from the 2015 New York Times Bestseller of the same name. Written by Bryan Stevenson the original book was a memoir that told the story of his experience as an attorney focused on working to appeal death row convictions. Beginning in 1989, Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) is a new Harvard grad but instead of launching his career at a cushy law firm he chooses a different path. Heading south to Alabama, Stevenson establishes the Equal Justice Initiative and hangs out a shingle as a lawyer open to working on death row cases pro bono.
“Queen & Slim” is a drama written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas. The film tells the story of a young Black man and woman out on their first date in Cleveland, Ohio. When the date doesn’t exactly turn out to be a love connection, the two prepare to go their own way. On the drive home what should be a routine traffic stop goes wrong and the couple find themselves on the run after shooting a police officer in self-defense.
“Moonlight” is a great study in the facade of machismo and hyper-masculinity. It explores the development and suppression of Black boys’ and men’s identities and sexuality. On a basic level, it’s a coming of age story about a gay Black male. Yet, because it’s about that it’s also about so much more.