Brow Beat

The Black Film Canon: A Video Tribute to the 50 Greatest Films by Black Directors

The larger movement behind #OscarsSoWhite wasn’t just about the academy’s lack of recognition for the cinematic achievements of people of color—it was also about challenging the film industry itself to evolve and make room for more substantial work from black filmmakers and actors. And that fight must go on.

In the meantime, we must also recognize that—despite Hollywood’s deck being stacked against them from the very beginning—black filmmakers have long been contributing some of the industry’s best work. Most canonical lists of the “greatest” films hardly reflect this. And so in that spirit, Slate asked more than 20 prominent filmmakers, critics, and scholars—from Ava DuVernay to Wesley Morris to Henry Louis Gates Jr.— for their favorite movies by black filmmakers, and used their picks to shape our Black Film Canon.

This video is a tribute to those talented, influential filmmakers and the 50 films by them that everyone should see—from the iconic to the underseen to the cult faves. Watch, remember, and seek out these excellent films.