After years of narrow representation and problematic stereotypes in movies, it seems that Hollywood is finally getting the hint: Black stories are worth telling.
In recent years, we've enjoyed some of the best Black movies that go beyond Black trauma and the familiar slave narrative. And according to the Entertainment Diversity Progress Report, published by Luminate in 2022, it's all thanks to Hollywood's commitment to supporting more Black talent.
Per the report, the number of Black actors in main title film roles increased by over 20 percent that year, while the number of films released with at least one Black main character increased by 30 percent. However, films that center on Black stories actually dropped by 16.7 percent (just 35 films total). So yes, there's still some progress to be made. But this doesn't dismiss all the successful Black films that have made a cultural impact and educated viewers about the Black experience.
For instance, there's Marvel's milestone superhero film, Black Panther, which won three Academy Awards and brought in a whopping $1.3 billion at the box office. With its top-notch cast and brilliant storytelling, the film successfully tackles themes like colonialism and loyalty while addressing what it means to be Black, so it comes as no surprise that the movie turned into a big pop culture moment. Following the Black Panther's release, Fandango correspondent Chris Witherspoon called the film a "groundbreaking cinematic cultural movement." He added, “You have this audience with social media that’s applauding, praising and amplifying the wave of what’s happening right now with this film and it will open the door for more films like this to happen.”