Publicity portrait of American actors Delroy Lindo and Denzel Washington in Spike's Lee's film 'Malcolm X' (Warner Brothers), 1992.
Photo by John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty

Celebrating black history: Music and movie syllabus


Msnbc interviewed filmmakers Justin Simien, Amma Asante, Dawn Porter, Stanley Nelson, Yoruba Richen, and Lyric R. Cabral, and musicians Jean Grae, Joey Bada$$, Rapsody, Noname Gypsy, and Michael Uzowuru for a black history series. They shared some of their favorite movies, songs, and artists. Add them to your playlists. 

If you had to choose two films to play on repeat … forever:

Justin Simien: Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and Bob Fosse’s “All that Jazz” 

Amma Asante: Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” and Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” 

Stanley Nelson:  Orlando Bagwell and Noland Walker’s “Citizen King” 

Lyric R. Cabral:  Gillo Pontecorvo’s “The Battle of Algiers” and Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep

Yoruba Richen:  Bob Fosse’s All that Jazz” and Hal Ashby’s The Landlord

Dawn Porter: Richard Donner’s The Omen” and Spike Lee’s Malcolm X

Joey Bada$$: Fernando Meirelles’ “City of God” and Mathieu Kassovitz’s “La Haine

If you had to choose two songs to play on repeat … forever:

Joey Bada$$: Tupac “Temptations” and Joey Bada$$ “Like Me

Jean Grae: Stevie Wonder’s “They Won’t Go When I Go” and Duke Ellington and John Coltrane’s “In a Sentimental Mood

Rapsody: Lauryn Hill’s “Tell him” and Rapsody’s “Hard to Choose

Michael Uzowuru: Elliot Smith’s “Twilight” and Yusef Lateef’s “Love Theme from Spartacus.” 

Amma Asante: Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Prince’s “Purple Rain

Favorite films and documentaries of the year:

Stanley Nelson:Selma,” “Citizenfour,”  “Last Days in Vietnam,” and “(T)error” 

Lyric R. Cabral: Evolution of a Criminal” by Darius Clark Monroe

Yoruba Richen: Bill Siegel’s The Trials of Muhummand Ali,David Heilbroner and Kate Davis’ “The Newburgh Sting,” Allen Harris’ “Through a Lens Darkly,” and Lacey Schwartz and James Adolphus’ “Little White Lie” 

Other music artists killin’ it: 

Noname Gypsy: Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange.” Recently, Future’s new music. Nico Segal [Donnie Trumpet] is killing it right now. His new project [“Surf”] sounds phenomenal. 

Jean Grae: I was stuck on James Blake for a while. 

Rapsody: Big K.R.I.T. is one of the best … Little Brother in general, especially Phonte, as a lyricist, is one of the best to ever do it 

Michael Uzowuru: Kid Cudi is very underrated … Vic Mensa is underrated too. 

Lastly, Nelson and Richen noted to watch “More than a Month” by Shukree Tilghman that explores whether or not Black History Month is still necessary.

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