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Celebrating black history: Music and movie syllabus

Eleven filmmakers and musicians weighed in on their favorite songs and movies. Take a look, and add them to your playlists.
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)
Publicity portrait of American actors Delroy Lindo and Denzel Washington in Spike's Lee's film 'Malcolm X' (Warner Brothers), 1992.

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.