“Beloved” is a 1998 film starring Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Kimberly Elise, and Thandie Newton that was adapted from a Toni Morrison novel. Back in the 1970s while working as an editor, Morrison came across a newspaper clipping about an enslaved woman who attempted to escape but was captured. Distressed at being forced to return to bondage, the woman attempted to kill her children to avoid having them return to slavery. That newspaper article inspired Morrison to write “Beloved”.
“When No One Is Watching” by Alyssa Cole is a thriller and romance that makes for an entertaining and somewhat lighter summer time read. The book centers on, Sydney, a young Black woman who decides to create a history tour to tell the story of her rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn, New York neighborhood. A troubling series of events leads to Sydney and other neighbors feeling unsafe and questioning their own sanity.
New Jack City is a 1991 Mario Van Peebles film about a Harlem drug kingpin and the local police force that is intent on bringing him down. Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) along with his right-hand man Gee Money (Allen Payne) and their Cash Money Brothers crew rise in the drug underworld as they expand into selling crack cocaine. The new drug brings large profits but also distrust among the once-solid crew as the neighborhood deteriorates due to violence and increased drug addiction which draws the attention of Scotty Appleton (Ice-T), an undercover police officer.
If you like detective novels and police procedurals with twists and turns as well as a bit of depth that makes the story and characters feel both familiar and refreshing then my book review of “Bluebird, Bluebird” by Attica Locke is for you.
“In the Heat of the Night” is a 1967 murder mystery set in a Southern town that sees a local police chief try to solve the crime with the assistance of a Northern homicide detective. What sets this film apart from your standard crime flick is that it’s layered with social commentary about the changing roles and expectations for Black men during this time. As the characters interact with residents of the town the movie shows how various facets of such a society perceive and react to the presence of a Black man who exudes authority and erudition.