Despite a lack of big films, 2020 provided a voice for Black filmmakers. 2020 was a year of delayed blockbusters and tentpole films, but it was a great year for independent films with Black filmmakers at the helm. The logical place to start is with the legendary Spike Lee who had another solid outing with the Netflix-produced Da 5 Bloods, which was Chadwick Boseman’s second to last role before his tragic death. Chadwick Boseman’s final role was also a Netflix film titled Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which he co-starred in alongside Viola Davis.
Regina King beautifully transitioned from acting in the critically-acclaimed Watchmen HBO series to directing feature films. Her directorial debut for Amazon Prime, One Night in Miami, was truly a special ensemble film that tells a fictionalized account of a night with Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown. British filmmaker Steve McQueen directed an anthology film series for Amazon Prime titled Small Axe. The five films center around different immigration stories in England from the 1960s through 1980s. The first of the bunch, Mangrove, is a stellar courtroom drama and what The Trial of the Chicago 7 aspired to be.
Judas and the Black Messiah was just released and stars two of the biggest up-and-comers in Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield. The stirring tale of loyalty and betrayal when Stanfield’s character infiltrates the Black Panther Party for the FBI. It is currently streaming on HBO Max until March 14 and is also in theaters.
Most of these films mentioned are available on streaming platforms, making them easily accessible. We’re finally beginning to see more Black voices get an opportunity to tell their stories and it’s as important as ever to watch their films.
Sources: Deadline, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max