The African-American populace has greatly contributed to the performing arts, music, and literature in America. Martin Luther Jr, Barrack Obama, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Morgan Freeman, and the countless other artists, athletes, political activists, and politician’s contributions will always remain unparalleled. The culture has distinctively and enormously influenced American and global worldwide culture as a whole.
The world would crumble if there wasn’t diversity in the order of things. For a long time, a certain type of people had incontrovertible authority over the kind of stories that were told and how they were told. But things have gotten better and we live in the times where diversity is celebrated (even though there are some who just can’t accept that they are not living in the Dark Ages anymore!). Every person has something new to offer to the world, and something similar happens in the world of filmmaking as well.
Movies such as Boyz N the Hood, Claudine, Shaft, New Jack City, City of God, Do the Right Thing, The Long Walk Home, and the recent superhero movie Black Panther have been highly successful. So, why not tell more African American stories. At this point, the question that might be circling your mind is what are the new African-American movies releasing? Well, the good news is that we have a clear answer to that question. Here’s the list of the upcoming black films scheduled to release in 2020 and 2021. We can only hope that these latest African-American movies are as good as some of the recent ones. Interestingly though, Jamie Foxx is going to be in a lot of them.
15. Untitled Mike Tyson Biopic (TBA)
Martin Scorsese is rumored to be at the helm of the upcoming project in development centered on the life of Mike Tyson. The Boxing superstar’s life has been quite controversial, Tyson was accused of rape and spent some time in prison as well. Regarding the biopic this is what Jamie Fox had to say in an interview: I just went in with Paramount with Mike Tyson. So I’m going to do the Mike Tyson story. Listen, to be in the same room pitching Mike Tyson to Paramount, Mike Tyson is on one side, I’m on the other side and doing Mike Tyson at the same time. And Martin Scorsese at the helm. This will be the first boxing movie that Martin Scorsese has done since Raging Bull.
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14. The Zebra Murders (TBA)
Jamie Foxx will be starring in the upcoming project in development titled “The Zebra Murders.” No director has been attached to the project as of now. Matthew Michael Carnahan will be writing the script which will center on series of racially-motivated killings of white people by a fanatical black nationalist group, set in San Francisco in the early 1970s. The story will focus on two black cops who are able to crack the case in spite of harassment from their colleagues, with Jamie Foxx being one Earl Sanders – the cop who investigated the case and later went on to become the police chief. Right from the studio of DreamWorks Pictures, this movie will surely reveal some of the gravest memories of the mishap.
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13. Signal Hill (Pre-Production)
Anthony Mackie, Jamie Foxx, and Elizabeth Banks are all starring in the upcoming adaptation of the “Signal Hill” trial. Foxx is reuniting with director (Ray) Taylor Hackford once again for this upcoming film which also centers on the chronicles of American lawyer best known for his leadership role in the defense and criminal acquittal of O.J. Simpson. David McMillan will be writing the script which will center on the Signal Hill police brutality case in 1981 where a star football player at Long Beach State is stopped for speeding and later found hanged from a bedsheet in the Signal Hill PD cellblock. Upon performing an autopsy as requested by the Football player’s parents, it is found out that the football player was choked to death and the family has rewarded a sum of $760,000 in a civil suit, with the chief of police resigning.
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12. Wrong Answer (TBA)
Ryan Coogler is reuniting with his Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan for an adaptation of the Atlanta school cheating scandal titled “Wrong Answer.” New Regency will be financing and producing the picture with Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company. Ta-Nehishi Coates will be writing the screenplay which will center on the story of a maths teacher who in an effort to save his school and help his students pass the unrealistic standardized testing requirements (mandated by the No Child Left Behind program), cheats on the scores of the standardized testing which will ultimately lead to the conviction of 11 teachers on racketeering charges.
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11. Coming 2 America (December 2020)
An official sequel to ‘Coming to America'(1988), the movie ‘Coming 2 America’ is all set to refresh the audience’s memories after 32 long years. With Eddie Murphy in the leading role and the likes of James Earl Jones and Wesley Snipes in supporting roles, ‘Coming 2 America’ follows the events of its predecessor and begins with Prince Akeem Joffer who is about to become the King of Zamunda, a fictional country in Africa. When he comes to know about a son he had in America, keeping in mind his father’s dying wish, Akeem heads to America to prepare his son to become a prince. This return to America is certainly going to tickle your funny bone come December.
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10. Antebellum (August 2020)
Another horror film on this list, as is very evident from its name, ‘Antebellum’ is a tale of a twisted alternate reality wherein the protagonist finds herself stuck and she must work through this new reality to escape from her abusive ex-husband before it is too late. While ‘Antebellum’ may sound too much of the same, the teaser looks promising and appears to be like a breath of fresh air. Janelle Monae portrays the leading role and the movie is now all set to be released in August 2020 after being deferred by three months because of the pandemic.
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9. Candyman (September 2020)
A supernatural slasher-horror flick at the outset, ‘Candyman’ is the word of mouth urban myth and the narrative of a serial supernatural killer in a Chicago neighborhood who terrorized people using his hand-hook, who could be summoned by chanting his name and who went by the name of Candyman. Cut to the present day, about 30 years later and the terror re-surfaces. With actors like Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarret, et al, produced by Jordan Peele, this one of its kind slasher horror is going to be remembered for a long time after its release.
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8. Respect (December 2020)
A biographical film based on the life and times of the revered American singer and Civil Rights Activist Aretha Franklin, ‘Respect’ is definitely going to gain a lot of respect for the Afro-American community in modern-day America and the entire world. Jennifer Hudson is in the leading role as a protagonist in the film with a supporting cast that includes the likes of Forest Whitaker, Queen Latifah among others. Scheduled for release in December 2020, the movie is a narrative of Franklin’s early life in Tenessee during the mid-1940s, followed by her successful career in music and the civil rights activism during the ’70s. With more than 35 studio albums and about 8 films to her credit, Franklin’s life has been an inspiration we’ve been longing to see.
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7. Tenet (July 2020)
Directed by Christopher Nolan, and featuring John David Washington and Dimple Kapadia in prominent roles, ‘Tenet’ centers around a secret agent who is relentlessly fighting to save the world from another World War and his journey across the world is surrounded by many others who form an important part of the narrative. ‘Tenet’ was shot in multiple international locations like Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, etc. Set to be premiered in July 2020, the film is Nolan’s most expensive venture so far. And hopefully his best work yet. ‘Tenet’ is easily the most awaited film of 2020 and we can’t get enough of it.
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6. The Eternals (February 2021)
For those who think that all is over for the MCU after ‘Avengers: Endgame’ – hold your horses because it is far from over. With the announcement of ‘The Eternals’ which happens in the aftermath of ‘Avengers: Endgame’, and which is going to be the 25th MCU film, there’s still a lot of action left for the Marvel fans. Basically, The Eternals are a race of beings who are aliens and who have been created by another group of characters known as the Celestials. The Celestials and the Eternals team up to protect the world from bad guys also known as the Deviants. Like Avengers, we would also witness an ensemble cast with ‘The Eternals’ including the likes of Brian Tyree Henry, Kumail Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan among others. It also is touted to portray the first Afro-American gay character as the superhero Phastos, a role that would be somewhat analogous to the Iron Man – a first as far as Marvel is concerned. ‘The Eternals’ is all set to hit the screens in early 2021. Grab your seats, but you will just need only the edge.
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5. Spiral (May 2021)
A horror-thriller at the very outset, ‘Spiral’ has Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson in leading roles and is the 9th installment of the ‘Saw’ franchise. Directed by Darren Bousman, the movie circles around three cops – a veteran (Jackson), a roughed-up detective (Rock), and a rookie who are investigating gruesome murders in the city and which are also reminiscent of the city’s horrible past. Although the franchise has seen some ups and downs over the years, the likes of Chris Rock (who is perhaps new to this genre of movies) can be a fresh inclusion and might rejuvenate the whole franchise. Let’s wait up and see.
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4. Blade (2022)
After Wesley Snipes who had played the beloved character of half-vampire half-human and who hunts for the undead in the dark, Mahershala Ali is all set to replace Snipes in this upcoming Marvel’s reboot of the franchise. Ali, who is a two-time Academy Award winner for his roles in ‘Moonlight (2016)’ and ‘Green Book (2018)’ had donned the “Blade” cap at one of the events alongside Kevin Fiege. It would be intriguing to see the changes Ali brings to the legendary character and whether Marvel decides to continue the franchise under Ali’s name. The movie is all set to be released in 2022.
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3. Fatale (October 2020)
Directed by Deon Taylor and featuring Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy and Mike Colter in prominent roles, ‘Fatale’ is a psychological thriller that surrounds a detective who has forever been a disgrace for her colleagues and her police department, but who is determined to investigate Darren (Michael Ealy) who is a sports agent and who gradually witnesses the ebb of his otherwise perfectly beautiful life. Swank and Ealy’s characters also have a love and hate relationship, the details of which unfortunately aren’t known at this stage. ‘Fatale’ sounds promising and marks Swank’s return on the big screen after horror-thriller flick ‘The Hunt’.
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2. Space Jam: A New Legacy (July 2021)
Aka ‘Space Jam 2’, this new movie is going to be the sequel of ‘Space Jam (1996)’ and more importantly features LeBron James and Don Cheadle in leading roles. Touted to be a live-action cum animated sports film, this Malcolm D. Lee’s directorial showcases LeBron teaming up with Looney Tunes’ characters including Bugs Bunny for a whole new adventure. Don Cheadle will play the villain in this flick along with several NBA and WNBA members who appear as themselves in the movie. As far as wooing the audiences is concerned, I am less concerned because of the celebrity players with a huge fan-following that are already a part of the “team”.
1. Infinite (May 2021)
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, and prominently featuring Dylan O’Brien, Mark Wahlberg, Chiwetel Ejiofor among others, ‘Infinite’ is a psychological thriller-drama which surrounds the life of a man, one Evan Michaels who is haunted by the memories of his past, only to realize that they have been visions from his past lives. Secret cults, dangerous societies, and unnerving secrets form the core of the film. Chiwetel happens to play the villain in this one and is touted to be a member of the “Infinite” who plans on stopping the reincarnation and past-memories coming back thing. A unique premise, ‘Infinite’ sounds promising at the very outset and we can’t be more excited about it.
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