Stream Police: Black History Month Edition

Posted in The Screening Room by - March 01, 2016

In the lead up to this year’s Oscar’s Ceremony, the media and certain commentators would have you believe a serious problem exists due to the lack of Black actors and actresses being represented in this year’s nominees.  Despite the fact Sydney Poitier, Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman exist, a quagmire has emerged, all in the name of a perception of equality. 

While it is not my place to be a political figurehead, as a person of colour, I can only express my embarrassment in the direction that this particular conversation has taken.  As a public service, to absolve the Nation of it’s whilte, liberal guilt, here are five films featuring a black person in a lead role.


Training Day

Staring Denzel Washington, this superb crime thriller follows the early days of rookie detective, Jake Hoyt.  Under the watchful eye of veteran/dirty cop, Alonzo Harris (Washington), Hoyt finds himself entangled in a web of planted evidence, money laundering and drug deals gone bad.  Ethan Hawke would take home a Best Supporting Actor award for his portrayal of Hoyt, a role that remains among his most fondly remembered. Training Day is a fast, loud and gritty tale of the illusion of absolute power and the corrupting stranglehold it can lay upon the greedy and weak.


I Got the Hook Up

This multi Academy Award winning film from the late 90s stars multi Tony and Grammy award winning actors Master P and Al Johnson in a crime thriller for the ages.  In truth the film is an urban street comedy.  A group of denizens attempt to move a shipment of illegal cell phones delivered to the hood.  Hilarity ensues as a deal goes south and the FBI begins to close in.  Believe it or not, this isn’t the worst film in the world, although if you don’t view it under the same state as you would when watching Half Baked, you won’t like it.


Beasts of No Nation

Based on the book of the same name, Beasts of No Nation tells the sobering and horrific tale of the terror of war in an unnamed African country.  Putting on full display the tribulation and scale of loss suffered by those under African rule, Beasts of No Nation does a wonderful job of not only painting a somber picture of the African conflict, but also instilling a shred of wonder and hope when dealing with a war, given the history of the persons involved shows no signs of resolution.


Fresh

Born into the hopeless cycle of drugs and mire of life in the projects, a young black drug runner finds solace in the work of his speed chess master father, brilliantly portrayed by none other than Samuel L. Jackson.  Unfortunately, his father also happens to be a colossal alcoholic.  Out of necessity, titular character, Fresh hatches a plan to remove himself from the horrors and certain death that awaits him if he were to continue life in the hood.


Undisputed

Undisputed is the harrowing tale of Undisputed Heavyweight champion boxer and convicted rapist, George “Iceman” Chambers.  Chambers, (Ving Rahmes) attempts to navigate his new hardened life in prison through displays of his talent, which just happens to be inflicting large amounts of pain on other African Americans.  Its a fantastic popcorn film, but is unlikely to spark any amount of heated political debate in your home. 

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He is the senior editor at Kulture Shocked. A Nebraska boy born and raised, where he spends most of his time as a writer. When not tearing up Xbox Live, he spends most of his time divided between Magic: The Gathering and his fiancee.
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