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Movies, books, and music to celebrate Black History Month

Movies:

Hidden Figures 

Hidden Figures is a biopic about three African American women in the 1960s and all their contributions to putting a man in space. Directed by Theodore Melfi and based on the nonfiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly, this movie showcases the forgotten stories of Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan. While the film takes some liberties to make the story more entertaining, it does a wonderful job of highlighting these three incredible women and their story. 

Remember the Titans 

Remember the Titans is a realistic fiction movie about a high school football team dealing with integration in the 1970s. Written by Gregory Allen Howard, the movie explores the complexities of racial division with a feel good film about sports. The movie is set in Alexandria so it’s interesting to see what life was like for students in Virginia after the Civil Rights Movement. 

Race 

Race is a biopic about Olympian medalist Jesse Owens. He won four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and the movie follows his struggles dealing with racism while being an incredible track runner. The movie shows the details of his training for the Olympics and his infidelity, but unfortunately simplifies the hatred and backlash he received for excelling in a mostly white dominated sport. However, it is still a great film to watch. 

A Ballerina’s Tale 

A Ballerina’s Tale is a documentary about Misty Copeland, the first African American woman ever to be made principal dancer in the history of the American Ballet Theatre. It is a simple film directed by Nelson George. The movie, however, showcases her struggles with her injuries and body image issues more than her talent. 

Books: 

The Hate U Give 

The Hate U Give is a New York Times Best Seller young adult novel by Angie Thomas that tells the story of a highschool girl coming to terms with racially based injustices. The main character Starr becomes a witness in a case dealing with police brutality after her friend is shot in front of her by a cop. The story deals with all kinds of race relations through the perspective of a teenage girl, bringing awareness to how racism affects people very differently. 

Little & Lion

Little & Lion was written by Brandy Colbert. The two main characters, Suzette and Lionel, are extremely close step siblings in an interracial household dealing with intense changes in their life. This story deals with figuring out labels in a not so understanding world while discussing topics like mental health, racism, and coming to terms with your sexuality. 

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone is the first book in a trilogy written by Tomi Adeyami. It is a fantasy novel about West African mythology that brought a lot of attention to the Afrofuturism genre. The protagonist, Zélie Adebola, is tasked with bringing back magic stolen from her people by the Maji and bringing down the tyrannus king in Orïsha.

Happily Ever Afters  

Happily Ever Afters was written by Elise Bryant and tells the story of Tess Johnson, a biracial girl in California with dreams of being a writer. As she begins life at a new art school, she attempts to play a more active role in life in order to become a better writer but struggles due to anxiety. This novel is a coming of age and romantic comedy that’ll tug at your heart strings. 

Music: 

Enny 

Enny is a South London rapper most famously known for her single ‘Peng Black Girls’ that became a hit in 2020. She is an outstanding lyricist and writes songs of empowerment specifically for other black women. She is signed to FAMM and her music can be found on all music streaming apps. 

Frank Ocean 

Frank Ocean is a Grammy award winning R&B singer. He has three albums out called Blonde, Nostalgia Ultra, and Channel Orange all of which have an electronica and indie rock mixed with soul vibe to them. Frank is one of the first black artists to openly talk about his sexuality in his music. 

Bo Diddley 

Bo Diddley was a very famous blues and rock and roll singer and guitarist in the 1950’s. He was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, and received the Governor’s Award of Excellence in the Arts for Lifetime Achievement and rightfully so. His style was so unique that his sound became known as the Bo Diddley beat which changed rock and roll into what it is today. 

Nina Simone  

Nina Simone also known as the “High Priestess of Soul,” was a very famous jazz and folk singer in the 1960s. She was called the voice of the Civil Rights Movement and wrote many songs bringing awareness to the injustices black people were going through. She will always be iconic, not just because of her inspiring and empowering songs but because of activism and contributions to the black community. 

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