Since the beginning of black entertainment, our main focus has been sports, music, and acting. Since 2016 we have seen black magic sprinkle its dust in the writing sector in entertainment. This signals a new era in the world of black movies.
In 2016 Moonlight won the Academy Award for the Best Adapted Screenplay. Los Angeles based Barry Jenkins co-wrote the movie with Tarell Alvin McCraney. The movie based on the coming-of-age story that explores the ideas of sexuality, mother, and father- figures was developed from the unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. This particular production saw him nominated for various awards but the big win was the Best Adapted Screenplay Award. Although both men had been involved in previous projects, this recognition was a symbol that it was possible for the black community to successfully stand out and stake their claim in the behind the scenes sector.
Get Out By Jordan Peele was based on the idea that a white community desired the need to maintain youth and life. They had seen that black people were stronger and desired the physical strength so much that they were willing to kidnap and place their brains in their bodies. This movie explored different ideas such as the black association conversations that most white people feel that they need to have in order to press the idea that they can “relate”. It also explores the moments in which black people excuse or ignore wrong behavior because we do not want to cause a scene or get someone else in trouble. Lastly, it explores in depth how far we might be trapped in our own minds, lacking a sense of black consciousness. This movie centered around blackness saw Jordan Peele win the Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars. This win was particularly important as he was the first black man to win this award.
Finally, Kobe Bryant won the Oscar for the Best Animation on a short film. Based on a poem he wrote some years ago, Dear Basketball, was animation based on his journey as a basketball player; how he went from being a kid with a dream to an adult living the dream and finally having to let go of the dream in order to realize a new one.
These milestones are imperative for the black community because they solidify the arrival and recognition of black people in writing and production. With the release of pioneer movies such as Black Panther, it has been seen that a movement can be created behind supporting black-created products and movies. The Validation of writers such as Jenkins and McCraney Hollywood and its academy is revealing to the black community that we do not need to wait for Hollywood or anyone to give us a chance. Pushing through the boundaries and knocking the walls down until the destination is reached is what is important. It is no longer enough for black people to be seen on the field or on the screen, they’re moving into the background with movies making it to the cinema and most importantly making a profit.
These wins need to be recognized as a movement for black production individuals around the world. A cry for a standard of production and writing that can no longer be ignored whether the budget is big or small, black excellence is definitely priceless.
Written by: Nikiwe Buhlalu
Nikiwe is a young aspiring influencer and social media content analyst. She has in addition just started a blog called Thickyniki where she shares her views on musicians and the South African nightlife.