• Thu, Nov 21 - 2:00 pm ET

13 ‘Black Movies’ That White People Can (Surprisingly) Watch

The Office Stanley Nod

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I don’t know what the most outrageous thing that you experienced this week was, but mine was most certainly hearing about the openly racist reviews that The Best Man Holiday was getting. To jog your memory, some movie critics were shocked that a “black movie” could be doing so well in theaters. Who could have ever expected that the holiday-themed rom-com would do so well during the holiday season? It is, after all, just a silly old “black movie!”

And that made me think of all of the other “black movies” that I’ve seen in my life that I think my white friends would just love. And, like, I get it. It’s a totally crazy idea that white people could possibly enjoy a movie that was made strictly and exclusively for black people. But that’s a risk that I’m willing to take. You can call me a hero if you’d like, or you could not call me a hero. (But I’d prefer it if everyone did, because that’s my favorite type of sandwich.)

So, here are the 13 “black movies” that everyone has full permission to watch and love, even if you aren’t black. Prepare to be shocked like you’ve never been before.

1. The Secret Life of Bees

It’s about a teenager, living in 1960′s South Carolina, who finds herself mesmerized by the world of beekeeping, when she is taken in by a group of sisters after running away with her nanny. And, if you don’t watch for any other reason, you should watch just to figure out what’s up with those bees and their secret lives. They’re so sneaky, the little rascals.

2. For Colored Girls

OH MY GOD, the title! It says it’s for colored girls! Only colored girls, how dare anyone who isn’t that exact thing enjoy this movie?! Except, whoops, looks like it’s about friendships, love, domestic violence, motherhood, and many other struggles that people, black and non-black, go through every day.

3. Precious

Hey, now, I’ll bet you’ve already seen this one! But if you’re super weird and haven’t, you totally should do that right now, because this story about an abused teen who is pregnant with her second child trying to change her life for the better is amazing.

4. The Color Purple

Aside from the fact that you should watch this to get a glimpse of what Oprah Winfrey was like pre-car giveaways, you should also watch for the impeccable story. There are some pretty upsetting themes in the movie, but if you’re in for a good intense movie that’ll stick with you for a while after you see it, this is the one.

5. Coming To America

This comedy, which stars Eddie Murphy in the only movie of his that I can stand, is about an African prince who comes to the U.S. to find a wife. The abundance of funny fish-out-of-water moments that come from the extreme culture shock that Eddie’s character experiences make this movie worthwhile, in my book.

You can reach this post's author, Olivia Wilson, on twitter.
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  • elle

    Love For Colored Girls Only. Phylicia Rashad, Loretta Devine, Kerry Washington and Anika Noni Rose? Basically what I’m saying is awesome cast of strong black woman actresses. So see it. But how is Waiting to Exhale not on this list?

    • Olivia Wilson

      Ooh, forgot about that one, but it’s a good choice too!

  • Meredith Hirt

    I hope this applies to the original book version of some of these movies, too.

    • Olivia Wilson

      Of course, you go ahead and read until your heart’s content.

  • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

    I’ll add “Beloved,” which was a very very powerful movie.

    • Olivia Wilson

      I’ve never actually seen this one, but I just read the plot summary and it looks sooo good. So I’m just going to go ahead and agree with you!

    • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

      The book is tedious as hell – one of the few examples of film being better than the book, IMO

  • loser_sneeze

    I’d add ‘The Women of Brewster Place’ to this list. Sure, it might be a tv miniseries but it’s really good. Oh, and ‘Last Holiday’ with Queen Latifah and L.L.Cool J because that movie is so entertaining.

    • Olivia Wilson

      Speaking of The Women of Brewster Place, I always forget that Oprah did so much acting before her talk show days.

  • Shamooo

    “The Help” really isn’t a “black movie”

    • Olivia Wilson

      I don’t think you get the point that there’s no such thing as a “black movie.” Hence why the phrase is always in quotes in the post, because it’s a silly (and racist) idea.

  • DuBois

    I would add (in chronological order) Carmen Jones, Black Orpheus, In the Heat of the Night, A Soldier’s Story, Do the Right Thing, Glory, Boyz N the Hood, Malcolm X, One False Move, Hoop Dreams, Clockers, Devil in a Blue Dress, Basquiat, When We Were Kings, Boycott, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Ray, Rize, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Good Hair, Still Bill, Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, and The Central Park Five to the list.

  • NADELL SMITH

    “Butter” is one those movies that actually quite good despite it’s title. It really deserves a spot on this list.

  • Jas Faulkner

    You forgot Robert Townsend’s “Hollywood Shuffle”. Everyone seems to have forgotten that movie…