by Michelle Brooks | staff writer

  1. Hidden Figures

To start off this list, I chose to start with the New Year’s first successful movie. Hidden Figures is a motion picture that came out on January 6, 2017. This movie is about three African American women helping NASA launch one of the first successful space missions.

It highlights the struggle that the three women faced through doubt and pressure of other people. This motion picture empowers black women because it reassures them that they are smart enough and that they are capable of achieving success no matter the obstacles they’ve gone through.

2. The Help

The Help was a film released on August 10, 2011. It’s a story of an African American maid who drafts a book about the struggles her and her fellow maids face while working for white families. Eventually the book is published but not by the maid, by one of the maid’s white friends.

The movie highlights the highs and lows of black servants during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. It shows their drive and motivation during the time when African Americans were making moves to get equal rights. The movie put the fight for freedom under a funny and more entertaining light. It empowers us to have pride in our past ancestors who went through the oppression for our freedom.

3. The Secret Life of Bees

Although this book wasn’t solely concentrated on the struggles of African Americans during the fight for equal rights, it still brings power to the African American community.On November 8, 2001, The Secret Life of Bees was published.

The novel is about a white girl who runs away from her abusive father to discover facts about her late mother. Three black women offer up their home to her and her maid and show them what love feels like. Despite their different colors, the girl becomes a part of their family and she is treated just like the others. This book is the perfect example to show that we all are the same, we all have problems, and we all can unite and get along.

4. Selma

Selma was released on December 25, 2014. This film was a history lesson disguised as a drama. It’s about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s life through the three month campaign to get equal voting rights for African Americans and the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Although it contains some fictional appearances, most of the film is filled with true, inspiring yet sad moments. This movie empowers African Americans to fight for their equal rights and freedom in this country.

5. 42

42, a movie inspired by the first African American in Major League Baseball, was released on April 12, 2013. It tells the story of Jackie Robinson and the struggles he had of being good enough to play in the MLB but, due to his color, he was hated amongst the fans and even players around the league.

This movie helps bring power to African American athletes who feel they have faced racism in any sport and can help them to overcome this discrimination.

6. Ali

Ali was released on December 25, 2001. It is a hyped up biography filled with drama about one of the most prominent boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali. It shows his pride for black power, his confidence in his physical abilities, and his defiance of unjust rules. Despite controversy of his friendship with Malcolm X, Ali remained friends with the Civil Rights leader and did what he wanted.

When he was given the option to go through the draft, he refused and faced consequences because he wanted to stand up for what he believed in. This film empowers African Americans to fight for what they believe is right no matter what other people say.

7. Friday

The comedy Friday was released on April 26, 1995. Although this movie isn’t about black empowerment or pride, it’s a funny movie that African Americans can relate to. It goes through a Friday with two friends who spend the day to make it more appropriate and just interacting with their neighbors.

One plot from the movie that does include some sort of message is the scene where Craig finally fights Deebo and knocks him out. This scene can empower African Americans to man up and face their problems.

8. Madea’s Big Happy Family

Madea’s Big Happy Family was released on April 22, 2011. It is about a family full of issues who can’t get along until they discover the mother of all of them is dying. It primarily shows family issues and shows how they unite to be there for their dying mother.

Madea’s Big Happy Family isn’t a inspirational movie but it’s a funny movie that contains a small message. The message is to always keep family close because you don’t know what may happen. African Americans should unite as if they were family, so therefore, we can peacefully unite with the rest of the world.

9. Roots

Roots was released as a tv show in 1977. It follows Kunta Kinte’s ancestry all the way to the latest descendent, Alex Haley. The show goes through Kinte being sold into slavery and shipped to America and all the struggles he and his family have faced.

This movie is based off of history, as it is based off of Alex Haley’s book, Roots. It is entertaining to learn about the history and line of ancestry of a slave sold into slavery. It can help current African Americans to appreciate their future and continue to fight no matter what.

10. To Kill a Mockingbird

Since I started off with the most recent movie, I decided to end it with one of the oldest books that was published about prejudice against race and also highlights the goodness of human nature as well. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird was originally published on July 11, 1960. In the plot, a white family faces criticism from the white community after Atticus Finch, the father, defends a black negro, who was innocent, that was accused of raping a white woman.

However, Atticus still manages to teach his children the right morals and the prejudices humans hold against each other. In the end, the good overpowers the evil. This story makes people of color aware of the prejudices people hold against their skin.  

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About The Author

Michelle Brooks is a senior at Johnson High School and a second year writer for MyJagNews. Her hobbies include playing basketball and eating. Currently, her favorite basketball team is the Cleveland Cavaliers and her favorite basketball player is LBJ. Her favorite WNBA team is the Minnesota Lynx and her favorite WNBA player is Maya Moore.

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