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Black Film Center


An Africentric collection of historic and contemporary Hollywood and independent films; features, documentaries, dramatic, comedy shorts and animations in videocassette & DVD formats.

Beginning in the 1910s, a separate film industry began to take root, in part, to remedy the negative depiction of blacks in motion pictures.  Race movies served as an alternative for black movie-goers where they could see people of their own race in positive, uplifting roles rather than the stereotypes prevalent in the white movie industry. While few race movies were comedies, to try to avoid the "comedic" bumblings of Toms, Coons, Mammies, and Sambos in Hollywood, actions, dramas, and westerns were common. Christian morality tales were also popular, such as Spencer Williams' Blood of Jesus (1941) and Go Down, Death! (1944).

Moviegoers also play an important role in bringing alternative depictions of the African American experience to the bigThe Early Years screen. By avoiding movies that portray only the lowest common denominator of Black life and supporting the trickle of intriguing Black films, audiences potentially have the greatest amount of leverage to affect studio releases. Baps, Booty Call, Juice and South Central needn't be the only choices for black moviegoers. "If you see a film that you don't enjoy, go to the box office and ask for your money back," says one film industry executive.





Icon Daughters of the Dust -
Working with a theme and history that's obviously dear to her heart, first-time writer-director Julie Dash's exquisitely alive film chronicles the last days of the Gullah, an Americanized West African people in danger of losing their identity. Dash makes up for some overly schematic dialogue and an occasionally pokey pace with some strong performances (particularly Cora Lee Day as the sternly matriarchal Nana) and an absolutely wonderful visual sense (kudos should also go to her ace cinematographer Arthur Jafa, whose dazzlingly sumptuous imagery surely inspired Jonathan Demme's later Beloved). A rapturously textured, wholly mesmerizing glimpse into the Gullah culture.
Icon Sankofa - Sankofa is an Akan word that means, "We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today." Written, directed and produced by Ethiopian-born filmmaker Haile Gerima, SANKOFA is a powerful film about Maafa-the African holocaust. Done from an African/African-American perspective, this story is a vastly different one from the generally distorted representations of African people that Hollywood gives us.  This revolutionary feature film connects enslaved black people with their African past and culture. It empowers Black people on the screen by showing how African peoples' desire for freedom made them resist, fight back, and conspire against their enslavers, overseers and collective past through the vision on Mona, who visits her ancestral experience on a new world plantation as Shola. We share the life she endures as a slave and experiences her growing consciousness and transformation.


Icon Roots -

From the moment the young Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton) is stolen from his life and ancestral home in 18th-century Africa and brought under inhumane conditions to be auctioned as a slave in America, a line is begun that leads from this most shameful chapter in U.S. history to the 20th-century author...

Icon Roots - The Next Generations


Icon Roots


Malcolm X-Death of a Prophet Icon Malcolm X

Just as Do the Right Thing was the capstone of Spike Lee's earlier career, Malcolm X marked the next milestone in the filmmaker's artistic maturity. It seemed everything Lee had done up to that point was to prepare him for this epic biography of America's fiery civil-rights leader, who is superbly...


Malcolm X: His Own Story as it Really Happened
VHS Tape
Black American History - Vol. 5: Modern History
VHS Tape
Icon Selma, Lord, Selma


Icon The Middle Passage The first image seen in The Middle Passage is a spotless tropical beach. But this is paradise lost, and most of the remainder of this poetically harrowing feature is spent on a slave ship bound from the African coast to the New World. The purpose of Martinique-born director Guy Deslauriers is not to...


Icon Out of Africa

Sydney Pollack's 1985 multiple-Oscar winner is a sumptuous and emotionally satisfying film about the life of Danish writer Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), better known as Isak Dinesen, who travels to Kenya to be with her German husband (Klaus Maria Brandauer) but falls for an English adventurer


Icon Underground Railroad
No records were kept, but historians believe more than 100,000 slaves tried to escape their bondage before the Emancipation Proclamation. Most of those who made it to the relative safety of the north--or the wilderness, when slavery still reigned in the north--had help in the form of the...


Icon African Healing Dance with lead dancer Wyoma and the dancers and drummers of the Damballa dance troupe, is a step-by-step dance course on healing traditions and spiritual movements that are special to the African dance heritage. An African proverb teaches, "If you can talk, you can sing, and if you...


Icon Mandingo



Return To Glory: The Powerful Stirring of the Black Race - VHS Tape

African Influence on Early Europe -

Only 3 left in stock--order soon (more on the way).

Through The Door Of No Return -
Through the Door of No Return  is a personal journey of the filmmaker, Shirikiana Aina, on a search for her father's footsteps, an ordinary African-American, who she tells us, travelled to Ghana to set up a business and died as a result of Malaria and a punctured kidney. She goes back at night, over the water, called by her father's voice and the voice of her questions surrounding Aina's journey are numerous:  VHS Tape


"If WE Don't Tell Our Story - Who Will Tell It Right?"



Aerobics With Soul, Kilimanjaro (1995) - This workout video is hosted by fitness expert Maria Nhambu Bergh and includes exercise routines inspired by traditional African dances with the backdrop of Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. Miscellaneous, 80 min., VHS, dir: Terry Smith.


 Booker T Washington:
The Life and the Legacy
(1982) - Using historic photographs for authenticity, this dramatized documentary focuses on Washington's career as the most influential educator of his time. Maurice Woods plays Washington, Al Freeman, Jr. is W.E.B. DuBois. Documentary, 30 min., 16mm, dir: William Greaves.


 Product image for ASIN: B00005BKZF Five On The Black Hand Side (1973) - Black nationalism and women's liberation battle against middle class conventionality as the younger son and later the wife of a black barbershop owner form third world protest against the patriarch's conservative and anglophile values in this sometimes serious comedy. Godfrey Cambridge appears in a cameo role. Comedy, 96 min., DVD, dir: Oscar Williams.


  Amandla! A Revolution In Four-Part Harmony (2002) - This documentary uses the history of the South African liberation movement to show the various ways that music was used to fight for freedom. Songs were a unification tool among the oppressed, and music consoled the incarcerated and created effective forms of underground communication within the prison walls. Documentary, 103 min., DVD, dir: Lee Hirsch.

 Product image for ASIN: 0780621905 Buffalo Soldiers (1997) -
"Buffalo Soldiers," a name given to the 9th & 10th all-black Calvary units by the Cheyenne Indians is the focus of this fictional film set during 1879-1880 in which 1st Sgt. Washington Wyatt (Danny Glover) is ordered to get rid of the last group of Apaches along the New Mexico-Arizona border. Carl Lumbly is John Horse. Western, 90 min., VHS, dir: Charles Haid.

 Product image for ASIN: 6305080461 4 Little Girls (1997) -

Spike Lee documents the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama where four young girls were killed on September 15, 1963, while attending Sunday School. Documentary, 102 min., VHS, dir: Spike Lee.



 The American Experience - Marcus Garvey
VHS ~ American Experience

The story of Marcus Garvey, a controversial African American leader of the early 20th century, is thoughtfully told in this documentary, an installment in the American Experience series on PBS. Garvey, who was born in Jamaica, learned the printer's trade as a teenager, and his ability to express...

American History for Children: African-American Life (1996) - This film invites K-4 aged children to learn about African-American history through graphics and animations, utilizing reenactments and sing-alongs to help tell the stories. Narration covers the slave trade, inhumane treatment of Blacks, KKK massacres, W.E.B. DuBois, and Booker T. Washington among other important historical figures. Documentary, 100 min., VHS, dir: Fabian & Baber.


 Capoeira Brazil's Secret Fighting Art (1980) -
Warrington Hudlin's film features a dance performance of Capoeira which was originally devised by Brazilian slaves as a fighting art of revolt and escape. When the Portuguese slave owners outlawed the practice, the slaves disguised Capoeira as a dance in order to continue its practice. Documentary, 10 min., 16mm, dir: Warrington Hudlin.

Product image for ASIN: B000006PEC Daughters of the Dust (1991) - From their Sea Island home, matriarch Nana Peazant (Cora Lee Day) has taught her family the cultural values of their African heritage, but fears these values will be lost when the family migrates North to the mainland. The pregnancy of Eula Peazant (Alva Rodgers) leaves her husband Eli (Anderson) in turmoil as to his relationship to the unborn child (Kai-Lynne Warren). The return of Yellow Mary (Barbara O) from the mainland with her friend Trula (Trula Hoosier) leads to additional family tensions. Arthur Jaffa is the cinematographer. The film was awarded Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. Drama, 113 min., 35mm, VHS, DVD, dir: Julie Dash.

 Product image for ASIN: B000059XVQ Futuresport (1998) -

This film made its debut on cable television. Directed by renowned cinematographer Ernest Dickerson and set in the future, this film showcases the struggle between good and evil--in this instance, terrorists versus hot-shot athletes who use their world-famous sporting event as a means to resolve territorial disputes. Wesley Snipes in dreadlocks plays a pivotal role in this relatively popular film for which he also serves as executive producer. Vanessa Williams stars along with Dean Cain of Superman fame. Science Fiction, 89 min., VHS, dir: Ernest Dickerson.


Product image for ASIN: B00004VVOZ The Bible - Genesis [aka La Genèse] (1999) - The film draws on the Biblical Genesis, chapters 23-37, which tells about the rebirth of the world after the Flood, but enacts the events in Mali and with African actors. The focus is on the feud between two brothers - Jacob (Sotigui Kouyate) and Esau (Salif Keita) - which reflects on their relative, Hamor (Balla Moussa Keita). Drama, 102 min., DVD, dir: Cheick Oumar Sissoko


 Product image for ASIN: 1589500687 African-American Leaders of the 20th Century
Several African-Americans were influential leaders during the 20th Century.  Take an in-depth look at six men who made significant contributions to American society.  Their stories are inspirational.


Death of a Prophet :The Last Days of Malcolm X (1981) - This docudrama follows the last hours of Malcolm X (Morgan Freeman) by weaving documentary footage with dramatic reenactment. The film emphasizes the mysterious circumstances surrounding the assassination. Ossie Davis, Yuri Kochiyama, and Amiri Baraka discuss the impact Malcolm had on their lives. Drama, 70 min., VHS, DVD, dir: Woodie King, Jr.

George Washington Carver (1984) - The film documents the story of Carver, the famous botanist whose research with peanuts was finally recognized for its importance. Distributed by Kaw Valley Films. Documentary, 25 min., 16mm, dir: unknown



 Product image for ASIN: 630519713X The African American Story Telling Collection, Vol. 2




Black American History Series - VHS Tape

Product image for ASIN: B00000GIHM Deluge [aka Ye Wonz Maibel] (1997) - For Ethiopian filmmaker Salem Mekuria, the disappearance of her brother - a critic of the military government that replaced the deposed Emperor Haile Selassie - was a haunting, life-changing experience. Using such an intensely personal narrative, Mekuria explores the effects of the regime on Ethiopia between 1974 and 1991. Screened at more than a dozen film festivals across the world, the documentary received honors at NBPC’s Prized Pieces and the Black Maria Film & Video Festival. Documentary, 62 min., DVD, dir: Salem Mekuria.


 Product image for ASIN: 0800195213 Get on the Bus (1996) -

George (Charles S. Dutton) is forced to drive "The Spotted Owl" tour bus after Rick (Richard Belzer), the lone white man in the group, is harassed by African American men as they travel from Los Angeles to the historic Million Man March in Washington, D.C. The men encounter racism and conflict erupts when it is discovered that two of the African American men, Randall (Harry J. Lennix) and Kyle (Isaiah Washington) are homosexual lovers. Drama, 120 min., VHS, dir: Spike Lee.


Product image for ASIN: B00028G56I African American History Series Compl
The Civil War ended slavery and brought new hope to African Americans. The post-war Reconstruction Period spawned new constitutional rights and major social change. Major contributions of African Americans and their leaders are covered up to the present, emphasizing America as a multicultural democracy.

Dreadlocks and the Three Bears (1992) -

The story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is told from an African American perspective. Children, 12 min., VHS, dir: Alile Sharon Larkin.


 Product image for ASIN: 630410765XGirl 6 (1996) - Spike Lee coaxed Prince out of "retirement" to provide the soundtrack for this dramatic comedy that focuses on the struggles an African American woman faces as she pursues her desire to become an actress. Along the way she supports herself as a telephone sex operator dubbed "Girl 6" by her employer. With this film Lee provides stunning commentary on technology's impact on human relationships, among other things. This film also features Halle Berry, Naomi Campbell and Madonna. Comedy, 108 min., VHS, dir: Spike Lee.


Product image for ASIN: 0792899687 Black Caesar

 (1973) - Fred Williamson is a gangster who tries to get his share of the money squeezed from the ghetto by the Mafia. Drama, 92 min., VHS, dir: Larry Cohen.


 Product image for ASIN: B000068TSC The Education of Sonny Carson (1974) - Campus has recruited directly from the community in his documentary style look at young Blacks with dreams of escaping their ghetto situation. Professional actor Rony Clanton plays Sonny Carson whose life, in reality, has been reshaped by the lessons he learned trying to stay alive in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant area. Drama, 105 min., DVD, dir: Michael Campus.


 Product image for ASIN: 6301777867 Glory (1989) -
 In this fictionalized version of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the battle of Fort Wagner, Thomas Searles (Andre Braugher) John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) and Trip (Denzel Washington) are among the members of the first "unit of colored troops" organized during the Civil War. Raymond St. Jacques appears as Frederick Douglass. Drama, 122 min., VHS, dir: Edward Zwick.


Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed (1968) -

Bill Cosby narrates the accomplishments African Americans have made in science. Documentary, 51 min., 16mm, VHS, dir: Andrew A. Rooney & Vern Diamond.


 Product image for ASIN: 1573623733 Eve's Bayou (1997) - Told through the eyes of Louis' (Samuel L. Jackson) youngest daughter Eve (Jurnee Smollett), the film concerns various events happening within a Louisiana family, one of which is Louis' infidelities towards his wife Roz (Lynn Whitfield). Debbie Morgan plays Mozelle Batiste; Meagan Good is Cisely Batiste; Jake Smollett, Poe Batiste; Ethel Ayler as Gran Mere; Vondie Curtis-Hall plays Julian Grayraven; Lisa Nicole Carson portrays Matty Mereaux; Diahann Carroll is Elzora and Branford Marsalis is Harry. Drama, 108 min., 35mm, VHS, DVD, dir: Kasi Lemmons.


Half Slave, Half Free [aka Solomon Northup's Odyssey] (1985) - Adapted from the 19th century autobiographical "Narrative of the Life of Solomon Northup," the film dramatizes Northup's (Avery Brooks) experiences as a free man sold into slavery by two kidnappers. After 12 years as a slave in Louisiana, he is finally returned to Saratoga, New York, where his wife and three children, now grown, await him. Drama, 118 min., VHS, dir: Gordon Parks.


 Product image for ASIN: B00004Y7SQBlack Indians: An American Story (2001) -

Connections between Native Americans and African Americans is the theme of this documentary. By examining their shared histories, together they confront future challenges. This documentary is narrated by James Earl Jones, whose heritage is both Native and African American. Documentary, 60 min., VHS, dir: Chip Richie.


 Product image for ASIN: B00004YNU4 Fannie Lou Hamer-Every Day Battle (1999) - The first video biography about civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer, this documentary reports intimate details of Hamer's tough early years in one of the poorest areas of the U.S. and her unexpected rise to national prominence, through her last years, often spent alone and ignored. This video also features Congressman John Lewis as he discusses this extraordinary woman. It also includes footage from Atlantic City speech. Documentary, 30 min., VHS, dir: Rex Barnett.


 Product image for ASIN: B00000ICZS The Harder They Come (1973) - First feature film made by Jamaicans stars Jimmy Cliff (who also wrote the music) as Ivan, a young black man from the country with musical ambitions and talent who runs up against the police in Kingston after being thwarted by the corruption of the city. Based on the career of Rhygin, a criminal-hero who terrorized and fascinated Jamaica in the fifties, the film captures the plight of a people with little hope for the future, whose economy and government are controlled by foreign investment interests. Drama, 93 min., VHS, dir: Perry Henzell.


Black Jesus (1971) -

Woody Strode plays Alubi, an African leader that refuses to give up his village to European colonists. He gets captured and tortured and is eventually killed. Mixture of English and dubbed English. Drama, 84 min., VHS, dir: Valerio Zurlini.


  Legends of the Ring - Muhammad Ali - Skill, Brains & Guts

 First World Festival of Negro Arts, The (1968) - Discloses the purpose of the First World Festival of Negro Arts held in Dakar as an attempt to create an awareness of Negro art and culture. Surveys the contributions in music, dance, textiles, poetry, sculpture, and painting. Documentary, 40 min., VHS, dir: William Greaves.


 Product image for ASIN: B0007R4TRQ Hotel Rwanda (2004) - The true story of a hotel manager, Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), in Rwanda who provided shelter for over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their conflict with the Hutu militia. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Don Cheadle), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Sophie Okonedo), and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Keir Pearson and Terry George). Drama, 110 min., DVD, dir: Terry George.



 Product image for ASIN: 630016439X I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1979) - Adapted from Maya Angelou's autobiography, the story is about a spirited and gifted, but poor, black girl growing up in the South in the 1930s. It shows how she grew up experiencing prejudice, family difficulties, and a relationship with a teacher who taught her to respect books, learning, and herself. Drama, 96 min., VHS, dir: Fielder Cook.


Product image for ASIN: B00007M5KR The Middle Passage (2000) -
The horrors of the slave trade are described by the voice of a deceased African slave (Djimon Hounsou) whose spirit haunts the ocean slave trade route between African and the Americas known as "The Middle Passage." Drama, 76 min., DVD, dir: Guy Deslauriers.


Roots of Resistance: A Story of the Underground Railroad (1989) -

 The story of Black America's secret railroad to freedom is recounted through narratives of escaped black slaves. Documentary, 58 min., VHS, dir: Orlando Bagwell.


King Solomon's Mines (1937) - Another remake of Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines; this one with Africans in the African roles. Drama, 80 min., VHS, dir: Robert Stevenson.


 Product image for ASIN: 6303944450 Muhammad Ali, The Greatest [aka Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee] (1974) - A factual biography of Ali's ring career, covering 15 months, from February, 1964 bout with Sonny Liston, when he won the heavyweight title to May of 1965 when he won the rematch. The film also focuses on Ali's relationship with Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan and other Nation members. Documentary, 111 min., DVD, dir: William Klein.


The Rosa Parks Story (2002) - Angela Basset stars as Rosa Parks in this detailed biography that takes a look into the life of the pioneering civil rights activist. This movie ventures into Parks' childhood, as well as the years leading up to and after her heroic event that sparked the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the mid 1950s. This movie also stars Cicely Tyson and Dexter Scott King. Drama, 97 min., DVD, dir: Julie Dash.


 Product image for ASIN: 1886432007 Kwanzaa
This comprehensive how-to video describes the origins and practices associated with Kwanzaa, the fastest growing holiday in America. The program interprets all words and symbols and shows how to observe the week long celebration in your own home.


Product image for ASIN: B000086K3D The Murder of Emmett Till (2003) - The documentary revisits the 1955 murder of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till, for whistling at a white woman. The murder, the funeral, and the trial of the white perpetrators became catalysts for the Civil Rights Movement. Documentary, 53 min., DVD, dir: Stanley Nelson.


Product image for ASIN: 0790732068 Rosewood (1997) - The film is based on true events surrounding the prosperous black community of Rosewood, Florida in 1923, in which a white woman falsely accuses a black man of rape. Ving Rhames plays Mr. Mann, Esther Rolle plays Aunt Sarah, Don Cheadle plays Sylvester, Elise Neal plays Scrappie, and Akosue Busia plays Jewel. Drama, 142 min., VHS, dir: John Singleton.


 Product image for ASIN: 6305197121 Kwanzaa-African American History


 Product image for ASIN: B00004YNU0 One Doctor-Daniel Hale William (1997) - Daniel Hale Williams became the first surgeon to successfully perform an operation on the human heart in 1893. This biographical documentary discusses the landmark event as well as Dr. Williams' other contributions to medicine. Documentary, 45 min., VHS, dir: Rex Barnett.


Product image for ASIN: 6302705525Sarafina  (1992) - Sarafina (Leleti Khumalo) is a student in 1970s apartheid South Africa. One of her teachers, Mary Masembuko (Whoopi Goldberg) attempts to teach the students about their own culture. She is arrested and Sarafina and the other students rebel, sparking an uprising which engulfs the entire township. Drama, 98 min., DVD, dir: Darrell James Roodt.


 Product image for ASIN: 6303483895 Langston Hughes: Voices & Visions (1988) - A cinematic biography of poet and novelist Langston Hughes was filmed in Paris, France and Dakar, Senegal. The film features appearances by James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Leopold Sedar Senghor, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Jazz drummer Max Roach performs. Documentary, 60 min.,VHS, dir: unknown.


 Product image for ASIN: B00004YNTY Paul Robeson: A Tribute to an Artist (1979) - This Academy Award winning documentary records the career experiences of actor Paul Robeson. From Broadway performances in Othello to his work in films like Proud Valley, King Solomon's Mines, and The Emperor Jones, Robeson was a pioneer in the visual arts. The film chronicles his increasing political activism, as captured through the evolution of the lyrics of "Ol' Man River." Documentary, 29 min., VHS, dir: Saul J. Turell.


Product image for ASIN: B00003CXYL Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2000) -

A chilling look at the infamous rape trial of the nine young Black men (ages 13 to 19) unjustly accused of raping two white women in a railroad box car just outside the town of Scottsboro, Alabama in 1931. Documentary, 84 min., VHS, dir: Barak Goodman.


Lions of the African Night (1987) - Documentary, 60 min., 16mm, dir: Skinner Kane.


Product image for ASIN: 6304881932 Promised Land, The (1992) - The documentary focuses on West Indian migration to the North. Documentary, 7 min., VHS, dir: Joan Baker.


Something of Value (1957) - A dramatization of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya which pits native African against British planter and sets Kimani (Sidney Poitier) against Peter McKenzie (Rock Hudson), his erstwhile childhood friend. The film stops short of Kenyan independence but William Marshall plays a Kikuyu leader who bears some resemblance to Jomo Kenyatta. Drama, 113 min., VHS, dir: Richard Brooks.


 Product image for ASIN: B00006LPKJ Lumumba (2000) - As Lumumba awaits his execution, he relives his memory of his leadership towards Congo's independence from Belgium. Drama, 115 min., DVD, dir: Raoul Peck.


Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2003) - The film follows the life of Stan "Tookie" Williams (Jamie Foxx), founder of a street gang who, while serving time on death row in San Quentin prison, began writing books for children and teaching non-violence, which earned him Nobel Peace Prize nominations. Drama, 95 min., DVD, dir: Vondie Curtis-Hall.

 Product image for ASIN: 0767016793 Underground Railroad (1999) - The Underground Railroad was a network of people and hiding places that helped slaves escape the American South. It stretched from the South into the northern states, Canada, the western frontier, and Cuba and the Caribbean. This film is about the people--from all walks of life--who risked their fortunes and lives to oppose slavery. Documentary, 100 min., DVD, dir: unknown.


 Product image for ASIN: B00004YNTU Mary Mcleod Bethune-Spirit of a Champion (1996) - Documenting the extraordinary life of renowned educator Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), this film presents the war she waged to win her education as well as to secure education for all African American youth. Documentary, 29 min., VHS, dir: Rex Barnett.


The River Niger (1976) -

The River Niger is a realistic yet poetic portrayal of survival in the ghetto of Watts, Los Angeles. Adaptation based on the play by Joseph A. Walker. Drama, 108 min., DVD, dir: Krishna Shah.


Product image for ASIN: 6304026870 A Woman Called Moses (1978) - Cicely Tyson recreates the role of Harriet Ross Tubman, founder of the Underground Railroad who led hundreds of slaves to freedom in the North before the Civil War. Drama, 200 min., DVD, dir: Paul Wendkos.


The Ebony/Jet Guide to Black Excellence

Black American History Series - VHS Tape


Coming Soon

American History for Children: African-American Life (1996) - This film invites K-4 aged children to learn about African-American history through graphics and animations, utilizing reenactments and sing-alongs to help tell the stories. Narration covers the slave trade, inhumane treatment of Blacks, KKK massacres, W.E.B. DuBois, and Booker T. Washington among other important historical figures. Documentary, 100 min., VHS, dir: Fabian & Baber.

  And Still I Rise (1991) - The film focuses on media misrepresentation of black women's sexuality. Documentary, 30 min., VHS, dir: Ngozi Onwurah.

 Ashes and Embers (1982) - Charles (John Anderson), a Vietnam veteran, struggles with his transition from ex-soldier to civilian. He must also deal with his status as an African American in a racist society. His grandmother (Evelyn Blackwell) and his friends aid in his psychological transformation. Drama, 120 min., VHS, dir: Haile Gerima.

 Back to Africa (n.d.) - A collection of newsreels including footage of a parade for the "Back to Africa" movement led by Marcus Garvey. Documentary, 10 min., 16mm, dir: unknown.

 Beah: A Black Woman Speaks (2003) - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee are among the cast in this debut film of actress Lisa Gay Hamilton as she documents the life of actress and writer Beah Richards. Richards was born in Mississippi and moved to New York, embarking upon a career as a playwright, poet, teacher, actress, and social activist. This film explores the many dimensions of the distinguished actress. Documentary, 86 min., VHS, dir: Lisa Gay Hamilton.

 Beauty in the Bricks (1981) - Baba (Karen Morgan) is a young determined black woman who excels in spite of living in "the Bricks," a Dallas housing project. She gives her best in everything she does and is an inspiration for young black girls in the community. Documentary, 33 min., 16mm, dir: Allen and Cynthia Mondell.

 Birth of a Nation: 4x29x1992 (1993) - After the Rodney King verdict, residents of Los Angeles express their outrage; businesses burn, and tensions between neighbors escalate. The film includes a rap soundtrack and interviews with rappers, Ice T, Ice Cube, Public Enemy. Documentary, 60 min., VHS, dir: Matthew McDaniel.

 Birth of a Race (1918) - The film intended to counteract the effects and respond to the racial allegations in The Birth of a Nation. It ended up as a kind of patchwork extravaganza beginning in the Garden of Eden and took over two years to make at a cost of over $1,000,000. Released in 1919. Drama, 60 min., VHS, dir: John W. Noble.

Black Caricature, The
(1996) - This PBS film was produced by Deirdre Leake-Butcher and discusses several of the Black caricatures that have historically and contemporarily exploited Black people in the United States. Among the demeaning caricatures discussed in the film are the coon, mammy, Uncle, Pickanninny and the Sambo. Documentary, 58 min., VHS, dir: Deirdre Leake-Butcher.


Black Hollywood 2000 (2000) - This short documentary film includes interviews of Black professionals in the film industry and civil rights groups. Modern media such as film and television are explored in terms of how they are used to portray and hire Black talent. Also shown in the documentary are behind-the-scenes discussions with actors from The Best Man (1999) and The Hurricane (1999). A video collage of posters from the Edward Mapp Collection is also incorporated in the film. Documentary, 15 min., VHS, dir: Emma E. Pullen.


Black Holocaust (1994) - Conference held at Howard University with scholars and members of the Nation of Islam to discuss the oppression of African Americans. Documentary, 90 min., VHS, dir: Howard University.


Black Is…Black Ain't (1995) - The final film by the late Emmy and Peabody Award winning filmmaker Marlon Riggs jumps into the middle of explosive debates on black identity. The film examines the negative connotations associated with the word "black" and how Blacks have learned to embrace the word as a form of self-empowerment. Activists interviewed in the film include Angela Davis, Cornel West, bell hooks, and Michele Wallace. Documentary, 87 min., VHS, dir: Marlon Riggs.


Black Jew (1992) - Discussion between two scholars discussing the releationships and issues between African Americans and people of Jewish decent. Documentary, 55 min., VHS, dir: Ismael Reed.


Black Paths to Leadership: Washington, DuBois, & Garvey (1984) - Narrated by William Marshall, the film shows how three historically important black men took different paths in fighting for the rights of African Americans. It uses rare archival footage to document the lives of Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), and W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963). Documentary, 28 min., 16mm, dir: Pam Hughes.


Black Wallstreet (1991) - The film traces the demise of a prosperous African American community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921. Documentary, 60 min., VHS, dir: Ron Wallace and Jay Jay Wilson.


Book of Ezekiel (1999) - Drama, 19 min., VHS, dir: LaTrice A. Dixon.


Booker (1985) - The film dramatizes the early and adult life of Booker T. Washington who was born a slave and who pulled himself up by the bootstraps to found Tuskegee Institute. Drama, 40 min., 16mm, dir: Stan Lathan.


Can't Jail the Revolution and Break the Walls Down (1991) - These two 30-minute videos use footage compiled from over 40 social justice media productions to chronicle the perspectives of African American, Puerto Rican, Native American and white political prisoners of war within the United States. Documentary, 60 min., VHS, dir: Ada Gay Griffin & Kenyatta Tyehimba.


Color Adjustment (1991) - Marlon Riggs brings his compelling study of racial prejudice begun in Ethnic Notions into the Television Age, examining the roles of African Americans on TV from Amos n' Andy to The Cosby Show. Documentary, 88 min., VHS. dir: Marlon Riggs.


  Ethnic Notions (1986) - The film documents 100 years of racist media caricatures: "Mammy," "Sambo," "Picaninny," "Coon," "Jim Crow," and "Uncle Tom," are all depicted in a historical survey covering the pre-civil war origins of many popular caricatures to manifestations in the 1980s. The Aunt Jemima image of the 1980s challenges any assumption that racist stereotypes have disappeared. Documentary, 56 min., VHS, dir: Marlon Riggs.

50th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Asante Kingdom, The
(1985) - This documentary explores current events and the culture of Ghana. Documentary, 54 min., VHS, dir: Kobina Amonoo.


Fight Against Slavery, The: Free Paper Come (1975) - Episode six of the BBC produced series, The Fight Against Slavery. This part outlines the 1831 slave insurrection in Jamaica led by Daddy Sharpe and the emanicipation of the slaves in 1834. Documentary, 52 min., 16mm, dir: Christopher Ralling.


Fighters, The (1971) - The film chronicles the Ali - Frazier world championship heavyweight bout (the "Thrilla in Manilla"). Greaves formats his film through cross-cutting, characterizing Ali and Frazier as good-natured, solitary individuals at the hands of a white corporate machine which commercializes the fighters' every action. Documentary, 114 min., 16mm, dir: William Greaves.

Folktale of Africa, A: Cow-Tail Switch
(1981) - This animated African folktale tells the tale of a warrior who disappears while hunting, leaving his pregnant wife and fours sons behind. When the fifth son grows old enough, he convinces his other brothers to join him on a quest to find their father. Based on the book The Cow-Tail Switch, by Harold Courlander and George Herzog. 8 min., 16mm, dir: Steven Clark.


Follow the North Star (1972) - A film about a young boy whose family is involved with the Underground Railroad smuggling Southern slaves to Canada prior to the Civil War. Originally aired as part of the ABC Afterschool Special television series. Documentary, 47 min., 16mm, dir: unknown.


Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1996) - Isaac Julien explores the political theories of Frantz Fanon, member of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN). Documentary, 52 min., VHS, dir: Isaac Julien.


Frederick Douglas: An American Life (1984) - This dramatization of the life of Douglass focuses on the person behind the public figure. Born a slave and entirely self-educated, Douglass played a critical role, as orator, writer, newspaper publisher, editor and political leader, in the struggle for the emancipation of the slaves, and also in the early women's rights movement. Drama, 30 min., VHS, dir: William Greaves.


From Cabin to Castle (1930) - The film traces the rise of the first African American woman millionaire, Madame C.J. Walker. Documentary, 60 min., 16mm, dir: unknown.


From Sun Up (1987) - The film documents the lifes of African women in Tanzania. Documentary, 28 min., VHS, dir: Flora M'mbugu.


Ghana (n.d.) - This documentary is about the state of Ghana upon gaining independence. It uncludes footage of the transfer of sovereignty and the subsequent independence celebration. Documentary, 28 min., 16mm, dir: unknown.


God is African (2002) -- Set in a university campus where youthful optimism abounds. Reality intrudes with the death sentence of Ken Saro Wiwa, Nigerian writer and environmentalist. Femi, a Nigerian student tries to politicize the student body but he is confronted by both a hatred of foreigners and a cynical disinterest in the "other" Africa. Drama, 93 min., DVD, dir: Akin Omotoso.


Hair Piece: A Film for Nappyheaded People (1984) - Chenzira's animated satire explores the "hair problem" among African Americans. This historical overview examines the various techniques black men and women have used to change the texture of their hair. Drama, 10 min., 16mm, dir: Ayoka Chenzira.


Heaven, Earth, & Hell (1994) - The documentary deals with the figure of the trickster in African and Native-American culture by using texts by cultural critics Frantz Fanon, bell hooks, and James Baldwin. Drama, 26 min., VHS, dir: Thomas Allen Harris.


 Heritage in Black (1969) - Examines the contributions of black people to every area of American culture from the discovery of America to modern times. Includes references to Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Sojourner Truth, and Jesse Owens, among many others, and tells of their specific contributions. Documentary, 27 min., 16mm, dir: Shelby Newhouse.

Heritage of the Black West (1995) - Heritage of the Black West is a new film that examines the past and contemporary presence of African Americans in the American West. The film includes interviews African, African-American and Native Americans in the history that black men and women have played in the expansion of the West and cattle ranching. This educational documentary is designed especially for use in the classroom. Documentary, 25 min., VHS, dir: St. Clair Bourne.


Huey P. Newton Story, A (2001) - This is an adaptation of Roger Guenveur Smith's one-man show about the life and times of Huey P. Newton, co-founder and one of the leaders of the Black Panther Party. Footage of Smith's performance in front of a live audience is augmented with newsreel clips of Newton at the apex of his popularity in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Drama, 86 min., DVD, dir: Spike Lee.


Imani: Beegie and the Egg (1976) - Children, 7 min., 16mm, dir: unknown.

Juneteenth Community
(2000) - African-American freedom is the focus of this film about on Juneteenth, June 19, the African-American Emancipation Day, which originated in Texas in 1865 and celebrates the liberation of slaves in some states of the Confederacy. Full-length, original VHS version. Documentary, 43 min., VHS, dir: Carolyn Y. Johnson.


Juneteenth Community (2003) - African-American freedom is the focus of this film about on Juneteenth, June 19, the African-American Emancipation Day, which originated in Texas in 1865 and celebrates the liberation of slaves in some states of the Confederacy. 20-minute DVD version. Documentary, 20 min., DVD, dir: Carolyn Y. Johnson.

Kenyatta (1973) - This edited version from 51 minutes is a film biography of Jomo Kenyatta, President of Kenya. Uses interviews, photographs, old film footage to show Kenyatta's experiences: mission school education, colonial service, political exile, emergence as leader in the fight for independence. Documentary, 30 min., 16mm, dir: Anthony Howarth and David Koff.

(1979) - Children, 6 min., 16mm, dir: Carol Munday Lawrence.

Last Grave at Dimbaza (1974) - A documentary on apartheid in South Africa and its everyday reality for the majority of South Africa's population--the Blacks and other "colored" peoples. The film examines the harsh living and working conditions of Blacks, and the inequities to which they are subjected in white-ruled South Africa. Shot secretly by a black South African filmmaker and critic of that country's policies in 1973-4. Documentary, 52 min., VHS, dir: Nana Mahomo.

Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II
(1992) - The documentary tells the story of African American battalions focussing on the 761st, which spearheaded General Patton's Third Army and helped to liberate the concentration camps at Buchenwald, Dachau and Lambach. Documentary, 90 min., VHS, dir: William Miles.

Malcolm X
(1992) - Adapted from The Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley), Lee's film dramatizes the life of Malcolm X (Denzel Washington). Filmed on locations ranging from New York to Egypt, the film follows Malcolm through the criminal activities of his early years to his rise within and his break with the Nation of Islam. Angela Bassett portrays his wife Betty Shabazz, and Al Freeman, Jr. plays the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Drama, 201 min., VHS, dir: Spike Lee.

Malcolm X: El Hajj Malik El Shabazz
(1972) - The film closely chronicles the life of Malcolm X, beginning with his birth in Omaha, Nebraska, and ending with his assassination in 1965. Archival footage incorporates many different segments of Malcolm's speaking career, as well as his funeral, which was attended by leading African American figures. Documentary, 60 min., VHS, dir: unknown.

Malcolm X: Nationalist or Humanist?
(1967) - The film analyzes the philosophy of Malcolm X. Documentary, 14 min., VHS, dir: William Greaves.

Malcolm X: Search for Identity
(1995) - A&E documents Malcolm X's early beginnings in racist, segregated Omaha, Nebraska to his later life spent in Harlem, New York. Documentary, 50 min., VHS, dir: Bill Harris.

Mandela (1987) - Drama, 135 min., VHS, dir: Philip Saville.


Marcus Garvey: Look for me in the Whirlwind (2001) - An in-depth documentation of the dramatic rise and fall of the controversial Black leader who created the largest Black organization in history. Documentary, 90 min., DVD, dir: Stanley Nelson.


Mau Mau (1973) - Documentary, 29 min., 16mm, dir: Anthony Howarth and David Koff.


More Than a Month (1993) - A music video produced by HBO about how Black history is more than just a month. The singer tells of different historical events and people as he dances and sings. Music Video, 6 min., VHS, dir: unknown.


Muhammad Ali (1989) - Tribute to boxing legend Muhammad Ali produced by HBO Sports. Documentary, 57 min., VHS, dir: Marc Payton.


My Footsteps in Baragua (1996) - The history of an extensive West Indian community in Cuba consisting of people from Jamaica, Barbados, and other Caribbean islands is described in this documentary by Afro-Cuban director Gloria Rolando. Documentary, 53 min., VHS, dir: Gloria Rolando.


Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (2002) - Nat Turner's slave rebellion in 1831 is one of the highlights in America's history of racial confrontation. The documentary examines the uprising and its leader, as well as the multiple ways that they have been retold and recreated. Documentary, 60 min., VHS, dir: Charles Burnett.


Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey (2001) - Narrated by Sidney Poitier, this documentary details the extraordinary life and career of Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche, the noted politician and diplomat who became the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Documentary, 117 min., VHS, dir: William Greaves


Save the Children [aka Brothers and Sisters in Concert] (1973) - Made originally as a documentary film based on the 1972 PUSH Expo theme. The 122 minute version goes into depth on the theme of black self-determination; contains footage of Reverend Jesse Jackson and Black Expo; shorter version places emphasis on the various artists' performances. Documentary, 123 min., VHS, dir: Stan Lathan.


Selbe: One Among Many (1982) - The film documents the daily life for women in Senegal. Documentary, 30 min., VHS, dir: Safi Faye.

Sisterhood Alive and Well: The Million Woman March
(1997) - On October 25, 1997, a million women marched in Philadelphia to express unity within the Black American community. This documentary highlights the role of Black women in the struggle for equality. Documentary, 24 min., VHS, dir: Andre Walker.

Sisters in the Struggle
(1991) - Documentary, 49 min., VHS, dir: Dionne Brand & Ginny Stikeman.

Slave's Story, A: Running a Thousand Miles to Freedom
(1972) - The story of the harrowing escape from slavery of William and Ellen Craft, dramatized and narrated by one of their descendants. The thousand mile journey is from Macon, Georgia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ingenious plan: Ellen, who is light skinned, dressed as a male planter not well enough to travel alone, takes her "man" William on the train--first class--to minster to her needs. This is one of the most famous slave narratives recorded by William, 1848. Documentary, 30 min., 16mm, dir: John Irwin.


Son of the Soil (1995) - What's in a name? Three people discuss the tradition and meaning behind their African names in this short film. Documentary, 29 min., VHS, dir: Nonqaba waka Msimang.


Soul to Soul (1971) - Filmed during the week-long celebration of the 14th anniversary of Ghana's independence in Accra's Black Star Square. Additional footage includes urban scenes and Roberta Flack's trip to a slave fort in Elmina. Music Performance, 96 min., DVD, dir: Denis Sanders.


Ujima: Modupe and the Flood (1975) - This animated short is based on the East African tale, "Modupe and the Flood." An old healer named Modupe indirectly saves the village during a flood as a result of the villagers running to his house because they think his home is burning. Thus, the villagers save their lives while the flood hits the village. 'Ujima' is an East African word that refers to sharing the work of building a community. Drama, 5 min., 16mm, dir: Todd Flinchbaugh.


W.E.B. Dubois: A Biography in Four Voices (1995) - This film biography of scholar-activist Dr. William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois (1868-1963) traces a century of African-American history. Four noted African-American writers--Wesley Brown, Thulani Davis, Toni Cade Bambara, and Amiri Baraka--narrate successive periods of Du Bois' life and discuss his impact on their work. Documentary, 116 min., VHS, dir: Louis Massiah.

 Heritage in Black (1969) - Examines the contributions of black people to every area of American culture from the discovery of America to modern times. Includes references to Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Sojourner Truth, and Jesse Owens, among many others, and tells of their specific contributions. Documentary, 27 min., 16mm, dir: Shelby Newhouse.

Warrior Marks (1993) - The film probes some of the cultural and political complexities surrounding the issue of female genital mutilation. It includes interviews with women who are concerned with and affected by this practice. Documentary, 54 min., VHS, dir: Pratibha Parmar.

West Indian Girls in Native Dance
(1903) - Documentary, 1 min., VHS, dir: unknown.

[aka Brightness (1987) -- Set in the Mali Empire in the 13th century, a young warrior named Niankoro (Issiaka Kane) must go on a journey to face an evil sorcerer, his father. This critically acclaimed film is an adaptation of an ancient Malian oral legend. Drama, 105 min., DVD, dir: Souleymane Cissé.

Yoruba Divination and Sacrifice
(n.d.) - This short film includes documentary footage of Yoruba divination and sacrifice rituals, including live sacrifice. Documentary, 13 min., 16mm, dir: Raymond Prince.


Zulu Hulu (Zulu Celebration) (1954) - Documentary, 10 min., 16mm, dir: unknown.





An unusual and sprightly tale of modern Africa, Ashakara is a colorful blend of social, political and cultural elements wrapped up a thriller format. 

 Ava & Gabriel 

 Ava & Gabriel 

 Curacao  As an offbeat, exotic film, at times whimsical but also critical of racism and colonialism, Ava & Gabriel is a good bet. 
Back to Africa 

 Back to Africa 


The story of Sade, a beautiful 24 year old African-American woman on a spiritual quest, searching for her lost father, professor Ajayi Esan, who was compelled to leave her and her American mother 22 years earlier in New York, Back to Africa is a full length feature film of epic proportions shot wholly in Africa by continental Africans and African-Americans. 

 Burning an Illusion 

 Burning an Illusion 

 United Kingdom 

A young British woman comes of age questioning her middle-class aspirations and security through marriage. 

Kirikou and the Sorceress 

 Kirikou and the Sorceress 

 France    This animated film exquisitely recounts the tale of tiny Kirikou -- a clever, courageaous little boy born in an African village in which Karaba the Sorceress has placed a terrible curse -- as he sets out on a quest to free his village of the curse and find out the secret of why Karaba is so wicked. 



Made in the tradition of such true-life political thrillers as Malcolm X and JFK, Raoul Peck's award-winning Lumumba is a gripping epic that dramatizes for the first time the rise and fall of legendary African leader Patrice Lumumba




A powerful film portraying institutionalized racism and police brutality, Otomo provides a convincing look at the everyday world of refugees, who are continuously surrounded by tension and insecurity. 

The Journey of the Lion 

 The Journey of the Lion 


Brother Howie is a Jamaican Rastafarian who dreams of the land of his ancestors: Africa.

Time & Judgement 

 Time & Judgement 

 United Kingdom 

In this fascinating documentary, Menelik Shabbazz goes over the Global Black Experience from the perspective of the revolutionary movement it triggered in many parts of the globe. 

Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election 

 Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election 


Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election is the riveting story about the battle for the Presidency in Florida and the undermining of democracy in America. 


USA, 2003, 20min, Drama, English, Nzinga Kadalie Kemp, Dir.
A talented journalist reclaims her identity after her fanatically Afro-centric husband decides to take on a second wife.

NY Premiere
USA, 2003, 58min, Documentary, English, Charles Burnett, Dir.

Nat Turner's slave rebellion is a watershed event in America's long and troubled history of slavery and racial conflict. Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property tells the story of that violent confrontation and of the ways that story has been continuously re-told during the years since 1831. It is a film about a critical moment in American history and of the multiple ways in which that moment has since been remembered. Nat Turner was a "troublesome property" for his master and he has remained a "troublesome property" for the historians, novelists, dramatists, artists and many others who have struggled to understand him.

US/Brazil, 2003, 47 min, doc. in Portuguese w/ English subtitles, Suzanne Girot, dir.In Salvador de Bahia, a region that was the principal drop-off point for slaves, 80 percent of the population is of African descent and economic disparities are part of everyday life. Banda Diba, an all-girl drumming and vocal group in Salvador builds its music and stories around the history of slavery and changes the lives of poor young girls by giving them a voice and pride in their heritage.

US, 2004, 61min, fiction, English, Kim Shelton, dir.

Night John tells the story of a legendary slave who gives up freedom in order to teach fellow slaves how to read and write--forbidden fruit in the antebellum South. Sarny, a young slave girl whom authorities have charged with spitting tabacco juice on flowers to keep down the bugs, narrates the film. She tells the story of her life and of the man who opened up her world by giving her the great gift of literacy.


United States, 2003, 73min, Documentary, English, James Spooner, Dir.
Afro-Punk, a 70-minute documentary, explores race identity within the punk scene. More than your everyday, Behind the Music or typical "Black history month" documentary, this film tackles such hard issues as loneliness, exile, inter-racial dating and Black power. Official selection Toronto International Film Festival.

Uruguay, 1993, 16min, Docu-Drama in Spanish with English subtitles, Rafael Deugenio, Dir.
More than two hundred years ago, there was an influx into Uruguay of slaves from Africa who, after being freed, continued to make up the poorest and most marginalized stratum of society. Fernando Nuñez, a Black man, a musician, and a maker of drums, sees himself as the heir to "Candombe," an important social and cultural legacy from his slave forefathers.


NY Premiere
Rep. Center Africa, 2003, 93min, Drama, Aka, Sango and French with English subtitles, Didier Ouenangare and Bassek ba Kobbio, Dir.

Gonaba, a Gabonese educated in France, returns to his native land for the betterment of his country. He lands a position in the government and is quickly disillusioned by the dismal political state of affairs in his country. His encounter with a Babinga Pygmy leads him to disappear into the wild forest and experience a new life with the Pygmies. The Forest is a beautifully shot, fascinating film starring Eric Ebouaney ("Lumumba," "Fem me Fatale".) and actual pygmies. Official selection Cannes and Toronto International Film Festivals.


USA, 2003, 20min, Doc., English, Carolyn Y. Johnson, Dir.
An informative documentary about this important African-American tradition.


France, 1998, 70min, animated feature for children of all ages, English, Michel Ocelot, Dir.

Kirikou and The Sorceress is an enchanting tale of a small boy with the courage of a lion. This is a breath-taking film that the whole family can enjoy together. A classic film.

USA, 1996, 90min, drama, English, Charles Burnett, Dir.
NightJohn tells the story of a legendary slave who gives up freedom in order to teach fellow slaves how to read and write--forbidden fruit in the antebellum South. Sarny, a young slave girl whom authorities have charged with spitting tobacco juice on flowers to keep down the bugs, narrates the film. She tells the story of her life and of the man who opened up her world by giving her the great gift of literacy.

US Premiere
Norway/United Kingdom, 2003, 100min, Drama, English, Rick Elgood and Don Letts, Dir.

Jamaica's very own "Romeo and Juliet." One Love is set against the backdrop of the country's rich musical heritage. Ky-Mani Marley (son of Bob Marley) plays our Romeo, Kassa, a reggae musician striving to remain "conscious" amidst the corrupt commercialism of the music business. His world is turned around by the luminescent Serena (Cherine Anderson), a church girl with an angelic vocal range who is forbidden to sing reggae or date anyone vaguely resembling a Rastafarian; besides, she is engaged to the stuffy, jealous Aaron--so when Kassa proposes they join creative forces and she feels her ardor rising, she is plunged into confusion.

USA, 1977, 104min, drama, English, Larry Clark, Dir.

Passing Through is an eloquent and powerful testament to the spirit of Black music. It tells the story of a strong spiritual relationship between an old Black musician, Poppa Harris (Clarence Muse) and a young promising musician, Warmack (Nathaniel Taylor). Warmack, a saxophonist, returns from prison only to struggle with the economic and cultural oppression of the recording industry. Memories of the struggle, Attica and Birmingham burn in his mind, while his search for Poppa, his grandfather, is his inspiration for the future. Clarence Muse, 87 years old at the time of the filming, performs with all the dignity and sensitivity necessary for the role of culture bearer. Vivid images and music make Passing Through a film of great beauty and political strength. "An unusual black film that merited a special fest unveiling." G. Moskowitz -Variety
World Premiere
USA, 2003, 115min, Drama, English, Brian Clyde, Dir.

Rage and Discipline is the well-crafted, skillfully rendered tale of crime and punishment in Harlem. When Troy, a promising boxer, joins a gang in order to make easy money, he is thrown out of the neighborhood gym by his intractable coach, Ike, whose rules are: no gangs, no guns, no drugs. Choking on anger and resentment and fueled by rage, he vows revenge. An all-out war ensues between the neighborhood drug dealers led by the ruthless Jermaine and the boxers at the gym, who are led by the macho Bernard. What follows is a violent, riveting, realistic ride on a journey with only one possible ending--Disaster.
UK/Colombia, 2002, 51min, DocumentarySpanish w/ English Subtitles, Tom Feiling, Dir.
Resistencia: Hip-hop in Colombia is a radical and thought-provoking exploration of how young Colombians feel about the crisis afflicting their country. The film follows a summer in the lives of some of Colombia's finest rappers, DJs and break-dancers. It is a good introduction for anyone interested in Colombia's long-running civil war, as seen through the eyes of those directly affected by it. It also gives intimate insight into life in the barrios of a very volatile country, and how traditional Latino music is losing out to rap music.

USA, 2003, 106min, Drama, English, Benjamin David Smith, Dir.
When a sociology grad student spends his last semester on the street in order to write his thesis on the homeless, he realizes he's bitten off more than he can chew. He struggles with objectivity as he is pulled into the lives of the very people he's trying to study. Just when he thinks he's regained control, a 10-year-old will change his life forever.

Cuba/United States, 2002, 91min, Documentary, English, Spanish with English subtitles, Marta Moreno Vega, Dir.
A triumphant voyage of faith and power, When the Spirits Dance Mambo traces the role of sacred African thought and practices in the formation of Cuban society, culture and music. The 91-minute documentary is a tribute to the spiritual energy that traveled from West Africa to Cuba and New York.


Zimbabwe, 2002, 56min, Documentary, English, Michael Raeburn, Dir.

The director -- Michael Raeburn -- a white Zimbabwean who was expelled in 1970 by the colonial dictator Ian Smith for his film Rhodesia Countdown, now makes this personal documentary accusing the hero of his youth -- Robert Mugabe -- of betraying the ideals of the liberation war which he spear-headed. While exposing Mugabe's Machiavellian tactics to preserve power, the director explores what is really at stake behind the occupation of the White commercial farms, and why Mugabe uses racist rhetoric against the British and Americans. Official selection Festival Africano de Milano.



But here are some other videos to consider buying NOW, all from the '90s except the first title:

"Love & Basketball," 2000 -- This is a basketball movie that doesn't come out of the 'hood, it comes out of the upper-middle class. It has appealing leads in Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps, a well-rounded portrait of their family life and a look at the rigors of the game.

"The Hurricane " 1999 -- Although the movie was flawed -- it combined or invented some characters and fictionalized some incidents -- Denzel Washington does his usual brilliant work as boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.

"The Best Man," 1999 -- Writer-director Malcolm Lee, cousin of Spike, directs this romantic comedy about a writer (Taye Diggs) whose steamy new novel, a thinly disguised narrative of his friends' lives, is about to hit bookstores.

"Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," 1999 -- Halle Berry earned an armful of awards, including an Emmy, for her portrayal of the actress-singer-dancer whose talent eclipsed Hollywood's racist reaction to her.

"Our Friend, Martin," 1999 -- This animated feature is about a pair of 12-year-old boys, one white and one black, who magically travel back in time to meet the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at various points in his life. Animation is interspersed with historical footage of events such as the "I Have a Dream" speech.

"Pleasantville," 1998 -- A very sly backup pick, from Derek C. Riley. On the surface, it's about siblings who get sucked into a TV set and transformed into characters on the 1950s set of "Pleasantville." But color begins to creep into everyone's lives, changing everything. As Riley says, "If you watch that film, there are definite messages there about being different and acceptance."

"Devil in a Blue Dress ," 1995 -- Denzel Washington is Easy Rawlins, an unemployed World War II hero who finds trouble in this stylish mystery set in the late 1940s and based on a Walter Mosley novel. Also starring Cheadle, now shining in the excellent ensemble that is "Traffic."

"The Tuskegee Airmen," 1995 -- Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Braugher lead the cast in this HBO drama about the "Fighting 99th" squadron in World War II.

"Angels in the Outfield ," 1994 -- Danny Glover, a gruff team manager, evolves into a father figure for two baseball-loving boys in this remake of the 1951 fantasy about heavenly help for bumbling ballplayers. The story's been moved from Pittsburgh's long-gone Forbes Field to California.

"Crooklyn ," 1994 -- Lee's semiautobiographical film about a black family in Brooklyn in the '70s, views life filtered through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl.

"Fear of a Black Hat," 1994 -- Pittsburgh native Rusty Cundieff directed and stars in this sendup of gangsta rap. It traces the rise and fall of a trio of South Central-based rappers whose history bears an uncanny resemblance to a real-life group from the late '80s.

"Drop Squad," 1994 -- When an advertising man on the fast track, played by "ER" star Eriq La Salle, is seen as sacrificing his family and neighborhood relationships to get ahead, the squad is summoned. It's a secret militant organization that kidnaps and deprograms African-American men and women who supposedly have sold out.

"The Long Walk Home," 1991 -- The Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott of the mid-1950s is seen through the eyes of two women: Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg. One's a homemaker and the other's her maid and both actresses are terrific.

"Boyz 'N the Hood," 1991 -- When Columbia Pictures wanted to buy John Singleton's script, he insisted on guiding it to screen. "I wasn't going to let some fool from Idaho or Encino direct a movie about living in my neighborhood," he reportedly said. The 23-year-old proved himself right by earning Oscar nominations for directing and writing.