The best black summer movies make you laugh, think, and maybe even shed a tear. Check out our list of some of the best black films to ever drop during the hottest time of the year.
Baby Boy is another coming-of-age hood film written and directed by John Singleton, but with a twist from his Boyz N Tha Hood debut. The film follows bicycle mechanic Jody as he lives and learns to evolve from a boy to a man in Los Angeles. His mom, her mom’s man, her girl and his girl’s ex force Jody to grow up fast. The film mixed the funny with the serious and was another success for Singleton and had one of th longest theatrical runs of the 2001, staying in theaters from June until September. Baby Boy is also notable as the film debuts of both Taraji P. Henson and R&B singer Tyrese Gibson.
Do The Right Thing
This film from one of the legendary creators for The Culture, Mr. Spike Lee himself perfectly captured the searing heat of the summer of 1989 in Brooklyn, NY both literally and figuratively. Lee produced, wrote, directed and starred in the film. The story explores a Brooklyn neighborhood’s simmering racial tension, which culminates in tragedy and violence on a hot summer day. Lee made the film for $6 million and it six times that and made $37 million at the box office. And of course the influence of the film has been seen and felt throughout The Culture and Do The Right Thing is considered one of the most important black films of all-time.
This Ice Cube and Chris Tucker lead stoner comedy instantly became a #CultureClassic when it released in the summer of 1995. Friday is directed by F. Gary Gray (in his directorial debut), and written by Ice Cube and DJ Pooh. Cube and Tucker play unemployed friends who must pay a local drug dealer on a Friday while hilarity ensues. The film cost only $3.4 mill to make and ended up making $27.4 mill at the box office alone. With so many classic scenes and classic lines being meme’d and quoted to this day, Friday is music watch within The Culture.
The breakout hit of the Summer of 2017 starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish. The film is directed by Malcolm D. Lee and written by Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver. Along with Lee, the film was produced by Will Packer. It follows a group of four friends who go to New Orleans to attend the Essence Music Festival in order to reconnect after a long time apart. Girls Trip was a massive success, grossing $140 million worldwide on its $28 million budget, including over $100 million domestically, the first comedy of 2017 to do so. It was also the first time a film written by an African-American female screenwriter had crossed the $100 million mark at the box office.
Hustle & Flow
A game-changing black indie film, Hustle & Flow was the talk of Hollywood and the hood in the summer of 2005. Produced by John Singleton, it stars Terrence Howard as a Memphis hustler/pimp who attempts to pursue his dream of becoming a rapper. It also stars Anthony Anderson, Taraji P. Henson, Paula Jai Parker, Elise Neal, and Ludacris. The film was a critical and commercial sensation. It made $23.5 million against a production budget of $2.8 million and received numerous accolades and nominations, including two Oscar nominations; Best Actor for Howard and Best Original Song for Three 6 Mafia’s “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp”, winning the latter and becoming only the second hip hop song to win an Academy Award.
An underrated gem of a black film. The Inkwell is a coming-of-age comedy released in the summer of ’94. It stars a young Larenz Tate as an awkward, shy writer who comes out of his shell spending the summer of 1976 in Martha’s Vineyard. Jada Pinkett (no Smith yet) plays his love interest. The film was written by black novelist and professor Trey Ellis and directed by Matty Rich. Slept on during its initial release, The raunchy, funny, yet endearing film has gone on to be a cult classic in the artsy black community and is well worth checking out if you haven’t seen it.
John Singleton’s second directed and third produced film to make the list, Poetic Justice is his melancholy romantic drama starring two of The Culture’s greatest of all-time, Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson. The film follows Justice (Jackson) and Lucky (Shakur) as a budding relationship starts between them on a road trip. Poetic Justice debuted at No. 1 in the box office its opening weekend and eventually grossed $27.5 million. Jackson also received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song for “Again”. With its use of poetry from the great Maya Angelou and the chemistry between Jackson and Shakur, Poetic Justice has built a cult following and cemented itself within The Culture.
We hope you enjoyed this look at the Best Black Summer Movies. Make sure to check out some of our other lists:
Written by @TalentedMrFord