By Jesse Childs
It’s Black History Month and in 2018 and there is no shortage of Black films hitting screens in historic fashion. Audiences and creatives alike have waited decades to see Black people represented in diverse and complex ways. If the following films are any indicator, this is our year. Join us in celebrating these melinated cinematic contributions that will be adding some much-needed color to theaters in the coming months!
Speaking of making history, Black Panther has already made waves by selling the most pre-sale tickets of any Marvel property to date. The trailer has almost 17 million views and counting on You Tube. If you don’t know why #BlackPantherSoLit, let’s run down the reasons. The star-studded cast includes Chadwick Boseman, Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o, Sterling K. Brown and Florence Kasumba among others. If that wasn’t proof enough, the entire soundtrack is being produced by Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Ent. Finally, the film was directed by Bay Area native Ryan Coogler and the events in Black Panther will tie into another Marvel blockbuster set for release this year, Avengers: Infinity War. It doesn’t get any more lit than that. Black Panther hits screens Feb 16th so get your kente cloth, head wraps, and daishikis ready for premiere night because this is probably the Blackest event happening in 2018. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Ryan Coogler’s Marvel movie sports a 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.” Now that’s F-R-E-S-H, fresh, fresh, fresh… yo that’s FRESH!
Taraji P. Henson has showcased her range in spectacular form lately. She has branched out into TV, action and historical period pieces in recent years and in the forthcoming Acrimony, she shows off her fiercely dramatic side. The project was produced and directed by collaborator Tyler Perry and cast’s Taraji as a faithful woman scorned by a deceptive husband. She decides to even the score. What better time to celebrate a Black woman taking her life back from a cheating spouse than in 2018 when movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are buzzing. Watch Taraji (Ms. Henson if you’re nasty) in Acrimony March 30th and see why #RevengeIsOnlyTheBeginning. As reported in Bustle, Taraji is very vocal about Black films not getting the same budgets as their counterparts and the need for Black actors to receive equal pay.
Paula Patton and Omar Epps join forces in Deon Taylor’s Thriller titled Traffik. The project also features Paula’s previous collaborator (Jumping the Broom and Laz Alonso in a supporting role. There are racial undertones addressed in this film that are all the more relevant given the volatile condition of political discourse in present-day America. Patton and Epps play a couple on vacation in the mountains who are attacked by a biker gang and must defend themselves at all costs. Check out this edgy nail-biter April 27th and see why each of these stars is #NotAVictim.
There is another must thriller hitting theaters this spring in Breaking In. The Gabrielle Union-led project is about a mother who is forced to defend herself and her family from a dangerous home invasion. The phrase #PaybackIsAMother is the movie’s tagline and from the looks of the trailer, it is a perfect fit. Ajiona Alexus, star of both Empire (young Cookie) and Acrimony, plays Gabrielle’s daughter. It is exciting to see Gabrielle Union has been hard at work in the wake of Being Mary Jane getting canceled. Just goes to show that it is impossible to keep a good sista down. Look for Breaking In to hit screens May 11th.
A Wrinkle in Time
Madeline L’Engle’s young adult novel A Wrinkle in Time has been developed by Disney before. The most recent incarnation has the combined star power of Oprah Winfrey and Ava Duvernay behind it and Disney bankrolled the epic sci-fi work into the visually stimulating wide release version the book deserves. Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine among others lend their high profile names to this likely blockbuster. Storm Reid, who played Emily in 12 Years a Slave and had a supporting role in 2016’s Sleight, stars as the lead character Meg Murray. This time around, Meg is multi-racial which is unique given that previous versions featured predominately white casts and with Ava Duvernay directing we know that the #melaninmagic will be poppin’ on both sides of the camera. The official release date for A Wrinkle in Time movie is March 9th, which just so happens to be the 21st Anniversary of Biggie’s death.