There has never been a worse time to celebrate black art, but Black History Month feels like September’s work is as drastic as February’s.
If we are looking for something new or returning to something we have seen before, we may find something to consider. If we haven’t seen it, it’s a memory, and if we search for it and haven’t seen it yet, we might find ourselves thinking about it.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Tony winner Ruben Santiago Hudson adapted Wilson’s 1982 play, “The End of August,” directed by George C. Wolfe. Those who have not taken the time and effort to see his work in a new light may be attracted by the work of the play’s co-creator, the late William Davis Wilson, whose work posthumously won him an award. The two take on the task of exploring the end of August in Wilson’s 1982 play and taking it to the next level by exploring it in the context of his own life and work.
The Forty-Year-Old Version
Radha’s journey, which takes her into the world of rap, is a journey of discovery, which means authenticity, because the producers did not produce the words and meaning in their work. Rainey’s “Black Bottom” is available on Netflix and follows the life of leading actress and playwright Radha, who goes from a promising 1930s author to a struggling playwright who turns 40 and desperately awaits a breakthrough.
Judas and the Black Messiah
It’s Black History Month, and the 40-year-old version is currently streaming on Netflix. Kaluuya is perhaps best known for his roles in “Black Panther” and “Get Out,” and has appeared in a number of other movies and television series, including “American Hustle,” “The Black Panther Party” and more. In the film, he plays Fred Hampton as the FBI infiltrates the chapter of the Black Panthers Party in Illinois.
One Night in Miami
Hamilton graduate Leslie Odom Jr. sang several songs with Cooke, including an original song he wrote for the film. Judas the Black Messiah, “which will be shown on HBO, and one that joins a long list of recent films that shed light on titans of black history and celebrate Ali’s title win with friends.
Think of the many offerings for Black History Month, and think of the stories that have already been told and the new light in which they are seen. Think of the conversations these films want to have, whether they were made in the context or not. Life, “which will be sung on October 1 at the opening of this year’s New York Film Festival.