What a year we had in Black Hollywood!
As 2023 comes to a close in just a few days, many people are using this period of limbo between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to reflect back on the moments that moved, shook and entertained us over the past 365 days.
Theatrical releases made a comeback in a huge way this year, so we figured the best place to start was by looking back on the amazing films we saw in 2023 spearheaded by strong Black leads.
Melanin popped all down the isles of your local theaters, from comedies led by ensemble casts to dramas that brought out surprising emotional performances by fan-favorite actors and actresses in our culture. With 2024 promising even more powerful leading roles for our people — The Book of Clarence! The American Society of Magical Negroes! Beverly Hills Cop 4! — we look back on this year with pride in the foundation laid forth and, quite simply, the immense talent we witnessed on the big screen.
Major highlights included returns from veterans like Denzel Washington, who only made one movie appearance this year but made sure to make it memorable, as well as Jamie Foxx following his health scare that had Black America on edge for months. Fantasia surprisingly made her big screen debut almost 20 years since coming into stardom as the season three winner of American Idol. Two decades later, the 39-year-old singer/actress is still proving that there’s no limit to her God-given talent. Jeremy Wright on the other hand, after years of taking on serious roles with HBO’s Westworld (2016 – 2022) and The Batman in 2022, lightened up to much pleasure in a satirical take on Black stereotypes released just last week.
While the films we chose to highlight may not be shoe-ins for Oscar season — a few are for sure if you ask us! — each without a doubt were award-worthy titles within many Black households across America. We salute the talent, and only pray it continues to prosper in the foreseeable future.
Major props to the 2023 Black box office!
Keep scrolling for our year-end list of 2023 films with Black leads that really brought the wow factor this year — let us know if you agree:
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