America is a pool where all cultures of the world come together and Hollywood is the place which represents this diversity the best. Concentrating on just a single group of people will eventually lead the stories to become stunted. Picking diverse topics keeps that from happening. The history of African-Americans provides a wide palate for filmmakers because there’s so much to tell. It is also their responsibility to bring out these stories to the world because films are supposed to be the mirrors of society and if they become biased, how do we expect the society to become any better? With that said, here’s the list of really good African American movies on Hulu that are available to stream right now:
14. Paid in Full (2002)
The choice between what’s easy and what’s right is the most difficult of all, as said by Dumbledore! People, especially in their youth, find it difficult to resist the temptations of the wrong path. It becomes even easier to take that road when your friends are on it as well. Ace’s friends had been drug dealers and they made a lot of money. He, on the other hand, had to make do with whatever his dry-cleaning job got him. Despite them trying to make him join the business, he keeps himself away from the drugs. But one day, a chain of events lands a packet of cocaine in his possession and when he easily sells it for a good amount of money, he realises the opportunity this business brings with itself. But he must also prepare to face the eventual consequences.
13. Boomerang (1992)
Don’t take it lightly if someone says to you “what goes around, comes around”. Karma is like a Lannister; she’ll pay her debts, don’t ever doubt that. So, if you’ve been acting like an asshole and treating most people around you very badly, then it is the time to reconsider your behavior. Learn from Marcus Graham, played by Eddie Murphy. He has a super successful career and exhibits an uncanny ability to woo every woman around him. He’s a real playboy. Despite having a number of affairs, he hasn’t yet met the perfect one for himself. The reason isn’t that he couldn’t connect to these women or that they were bad to him. It’s just that his idea of perfection in a woman has a very specific criterion. The problem arises when he finally finds “the one” but she turns out to be a female version of himself.
12. Black Cop (2017)
It is hard to get rid of something that has been inside of you for a very long time. Bigotry and racism are still ingrained in a lot of people because they find it difficult to let go of the racial superiority that they’ve been told they have. For a person of color, it becomes even more difficult to win over these people’s judgement towards them. No matter how good a person you are, how talented you are at your job, there is always someone or something, no matter how big or small, that hits you this way. ‘Black Cop’ focuses on one such character. He is a cop and he is black, and he has sworn to protect everyone in his community. However, when people in his own force begin to treat him inferiorly, he is forced to reconsider his mindset.
11. Monsters and Men (2018)
The cases of police brutality against black populace aren’t unknown. A lot of cases grabbed national attention when some youngsters were killed in the process and the public came on the streets to protest against this injustice and demanded fair treatment for everyone. ‘Monsters and Men’ uses this context to follow the stories of three men, in different stages of life, wondering about how the system treats them and how they should treat it back. It begins with a young man who witnesses the death of another black youth at the hands of a policeman. He captures it in a video, but struggles with the thought of its effect on his life should he choose to make it public. Another character is a black policeman who has witnessed the impartiality his fellow officers show towards his people. His helplessness eats at him. The third character is a young man who has a future in professional baseball. But that can be in jeopardy if he becomes a part of the protest, something that his conscience constantly urges him to do.
10. Kassim the Dream (2009)
No matter how bad your situation might be, you can always rise above it and do great things with your life. Kassim Ouma’s story teaches a similar lesson to its audience. Before becoming the World Champion in boxing, Kassim’s life in Uganda was nothing less than a journey through hell. At the tender age of six, when he was supposed to be playing with his friends, a gun was put into his hands and he was forced to join the army. The tussle for power between the rebels and the government gave way to some horrible things done to and by the child soldiers and what Kassim had to go through is unimaginable. He found a way out when he joined the boxing team in the army. All the struggle, training and hard work, and now he’s one of the best in the world.
9. Undisputed (2002)
George Chambers enjoyed the reputation of the undisputed champion in heavyweight boxing. But all that he had worked and struggled for comes to the verge of becoming nothing when he is convicted for the charge of rape. Still drunk on the pride of being a world champion, he begins to boast about his career to other inmates. What he doesn’t know is that the prison has its own game of boxing and the competition outside is nothing compared to what the fighters have to face in here. There are no rules and losing could prove catastrophic to your life. Chambers finds this out when he becomes one of the players in a boxing match. Like many cult films, ‘Undisputed’ wasn’t appreciated at the time of its release. But thanks to the services of the home video market, its popularity slowly gained momentum, which eventually led to a sequel. If you like this film, you’ll surely enjoy the follow-up story as well.
8. Where Hands Touch (2018)
Everyone is aware of Hitler’s aversion to Jews. But they were not the only ones he found inferior. The only race he found superior was his, so basically, the rest of the world was the enemy for him. While the Jews had to face the brunt of his hatred, other ethnicities in the country weren’t safe either. ‘Where Hands Touch’ follows the story of a teenage girl who experiences the horror of not belonging to Aryan race while living in a country ruled by the Nazis. Leyna’s father is of African descent while the mother is German. The boy she loves has recently joined Hitler Youth and his father is a high-ranking Nazi. As the country starts to get engulfed in the terrifying plans laid out for Jews, Leyna starts to worry about her own fate.
7. Tyrel (2018)
Jason Mitchell has appeared in films like ‘Straight Outta Compton’, ‘Detroit’ and ‘Mudbound’. While these films, especially the latter ones, took grave tones and displayed his talent in portraying serious characters, ‘Tyrel’ provided him with an opportunity to do something different. A bit comic, yet equally important, film, it stars Mitchell as the titular character. When you go to any social gathering or visit a new place, you feel comfortable when you have familiar faces around. When you find someone of your own ethnicity, it can be very helpful. Tyrel does not have that advantage. When he arrives at a secluded cabin for the weekend, to attend a birthday party, he realises that he is the only black man there. Things start to get a bit awkward after that!
6. He Got Game (1998)
Directed by Spike Lee, ‘He Got Game’ follows the story of a man whose future in prison hangs in balance with the career choice of his son. Denzel Washington plays the role of Jake Shuttlesworth and Ray Allen, the former basketball player, plays the role of his son, Jesus. Jesus had a talent for the game and it came from Jake, who had trained his son intensely in his childhood. But one mistake led to a downfall in both of their lives. Jake killed his wife and was sentenced to prison. Six years later, he gets a call from the governor who wants Jesus to play for his team. The prize for Jake is that if he succeeds in persuading his son to do so, he gets an early release. A week’s parole is given to him, but will their relationship mend in such a small span of time?
5. Check It (2016)
It is not really a film, but it is a documentary that holds great relevance. The LGBT+ community has seen some very tough times; unfortunately, they still do. Some “normal” people treat them horrifically, the extent of which you can only imagine after you ask someone who is not straight. Catcalling is just the tip of the iceberg. Worse people escalate it to the physical assault which leads to severe damage, if not death. Now imagine being gay, as well as black! Where does one go asking for help in such a case? The gay and transgender community in Washington D.C decided that the only way they could be safer was in numbers. They formed their own gang and ‘Check It’ tells their story.
4. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
One of the best and most creative films of last year, ‘Sorry to Bother You’ is something that will not leave your mind easily. It isn’t just full of social messages but is also extremely fun to watch because of the way it delivers them. If you are a fan of the sci-fi genre, it brings something new to the plate and is unlike anything you might have seen before. The protagonist is Cassius Green, played by Lakeith Stanfield (‘Get Out’, ‘Atlanta’, ‘Someone Great’). He is a telemarketer and just wants to rise above his normal, boring life. The CEO of a profitable organization offers him a job that doesn’t seem to demand much but promises a lot of money. Cassius readily accepts it, because what could go wrong?
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3. Precious (2009)
Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, ‘Precious’ is an Academy Award-winning film that stars Gabourey Sidibe (‘Empire’, ‘American Horror Story’), Mo’Nique, Paula Patton and Oprah Winfrey. It follows the story of a teenager named Precious. She has never had a good environment at home. She lives with her mother who is unemployed and frequently abuses her, verbally and physically. Her father, who is not in their lives anymore, had also sexually abused her, from which she already has a child and is now pregnant again. They make do on welfare, while Precious’ daughter is taken care of by her grandmother. With all this mess in her life, when she discovers the opportunity of going to an alternate school, she jumps at it. This film was Sidibe’s acting debut and she received an Oscar nomination for her performance, while Geoffrey Fletcher became the first African-American to win an Oscar in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay.
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2. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Based on the book of the same name written by James Baldwin, ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ follows the struggle of a woman who tries to prove the innocence of the man she loves. Kiki Layne and Stephan James star in the lead roles of Tish and Fonny. When Fonny is arrested for raping a woman, a crime that he simply could not have committed because he was never there in the first place, Tish embarks on a journey to clear his name. Despite a clear alibi for him, law enforcement doesn’t seem so keen to let him go. How long will it take for her to get justice? Would it have been easier had they been white?
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1. Fences (2016)
Parents are perhaps the most pivotal factor when it comes to the future of their children. Often, they dump the load of their failed dreams on their children, forcing the young ones to achieve what they couldn’t. Then there are some who are so dejected by their own failures that they think that their children won’t be able to surpass them either. ‘Fences’ is the story of one such man. It stars Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson. He survived some tough times in his childhood. He had a talent for baseball, but back then, there were no black players in the game and he fell victim to this racial prejudice. Years later, when the chance comes for his son to join the world of baseball, he refuses to allow him that luxury.
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