The 10 best Black movies of the 2020s

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Photo credit: Digital Spy
Photo credit: Digital Spy

Welcome to The Black List, a new series where we delve into the best of Black entertainment across the decades. Each week we'll be exploring the world of Black cinema and highlighting ten movies you should be watching.

For our final round-up, we're sticking to the present day! These are the films from 2020 and 2021 you should watch if you're a fan of Black cinema, and some upcoming ones you can look forward to.

Sylvie's Love

Photo credit: Amazon Prime
Photo credit: Amazon Prime

Sylvie's Love stars Tessa Thompson as Sylvie, a young woman who falls in love with aspiring saxophonist Robert, played by Nnamdi Asomugha, who has taken on a summer job at her father's record store in Harlem.

Their lives take them on different paths as Sylvie's TV producer career progresses, while Robert comes to terms with how jazz has been changed by Motown. When they reconnect some years later they realise that their feelings for each other have not faded over the years.

Mandem

Photo credit: Minute Shorts
Photo credit: Minute Shorts

Mandem is a short comedy film about two friends Ty and Malcolm going about their daily lives, from ordering dinner at their local Caribbean restaurant to attending a house party.

From Black British director John Ogunmuyiwa, Mandem is available to watch on Minute Shorts, a platform that streams incredible short films from the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers.

The 24th

Photo credit: Vertical Entertainment
Photo credit: Vertical Entertainment

The true story of how members of the US army's all-Black 24th regiment got involved in The Camp Logan mutiny of 1917 in Houston, Texas.

The soldiers took up arms on the streets of Houston after multiple incidents of police brutality from local cops, which also lead to the largest murder trial in American history at the time.

Soul

Photo credit: Pixar - Disney
Photo credit: Pixar - Disney

Disney Pixar's animated movie follows Joe, voiced by Jamie Foxx, a school band teacher who dreams of becoming a jazz musician. Before he can realise this dream, he meets an untimely end – and spends the film trying desperately to reunite his soul and body.

Soul won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and became the only film to ever win that award without a cinematic premiere, as well as breaking new ground as the first Pixar movie with a Black lead.

Da 5 Bloods

Photo credit: David Lee - Netflix
Photo credit: David Lee - Netflix

Another Spike Lee joint! In Da 5 Bloods four African American veterans head back to post-war Vietnam to find the remains of their squad leader Stormin' Norman, played by Chadwick Boseman… and some buried gold bars.

Things don't go to plan as they encounter issues within the group, and locals who get wind of the treasure and hunt for it too. Da 5 Bloods also looks at the way Black Vietnam veterans were treated after the war through the lens of some classic Spike Lee wit.

The United States vs Billie Holiday

Photo credit: Billie Holiday Films/Takashi Seida
Photo credit: Billie Holiday Films/Takashi Seida

Andra Day gives an incredible performance as singer and activist Billie Holiday, whose song 'Strange Fruit' – about lynchings – was banned from being performed.

The movie follows Holiday's defiance of the ban and the FBI's targeted persecution of the singer as they tried to silence her.

Judas and the Black Messiah

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Judas and the Black Messiah won Daniel Kaluuya his first Oscar for his performance as Fred Hampton, leader of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.

The movie follows the betrayal of Hampton by FBI informant Bill O'Neal, played by LaKeith Stanfield, which led to the Black Panther leader's assassination. Kaluuya's Get Out co-star Stanfield was also nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

Candyman

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II stars in the 2021 Candyman sequel, a follow-up to the classic 1992 original. The film follows artist Anthony McCoy, who begins to unravel the history of Candyman and is soon terrorized by the hook-handed killer.

WandaVision's Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and Colman Domingo make up the exceptional cast – plus the return of Vanessa Williams, who played Estelle McCoy in the original. As well as being packed full of scares, the movie also looks at the way cycles of police violence and gentrification have impacted Black communities in the South Side of Chicago.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Photo credit: Disney - Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Disney - Marvel Studios

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to continue the incredible legacy left by Chadwick Boseman's history-making performance in the first movie.

Boseman sadly passed away aged 43 from colon cancer in August 2020, and plans for the sequel were understandably put on hold. Filming for the movie has started and Marvel confirmed that there are no plans to recast T'Challa. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to be released July 8, 2022.

Nope

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Daniel Kaluuya will return to the horror 'multiverse' of Jordan Peele in the upcoming horror Nope, and will be joined by The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun and Scream Queens' Keke Palmer.

Not much is known about the movie right now, but after the success of Peele's Get Out and Us movies, we're sure Nope is going to be unmissable. It is currently scheduled for a July 22, 2022 release date.

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