10 Black Movies From the 90s That Are Due For A Reboot
There was something special about the 90s. It was a perfect meeting of black exposure and not taking anything too seriously. And at the same time, some of the biggest movies of the decade spoke to complexity of black experiences in the US, both in adulthood and in adolescence. They were gritty yet hilarious. Heartwrenching yet triumphant. And for the first time in a long time, black characters were able to exhibit the fullness of their humanity.
Here are 10 black movies from the 90s that need to be made new again:
There have been murmurs of an effort to bring a Waiting to Exhale 2 to theaters for years. Anybody that saw the original would be dying to see what happened to this foursome after that New Year’s celebration. Who found love? Who is still looking? And while Whitney Houston’s passing likely put a hold on those plans, a revival would have folks flocking to the movies.
2. Bad Boys
The Bad Boys movies are something of legend. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have amazing chemistry as police partners. They were able to make two classic movies, and I’d argue that the sequel was better than the original. That’s no easy feat. So why not do it one more time? Will Smith could use a hit, and Martin Lawrence doesn’t seem too busy.
3. The Wood
The 90s really had an affinity for reminiscing about childhoods and about making the step into adulthood. The Wood fit squarely in that box. It starred Omar Epps and Taye Diggs. It even had two actresses whose careers seem to be defined by the 90s: Tamala Jones and Malinda Williams. Why not reinvent this for today’s 30-somethings?
4. Sister Act
Sister Act was beloved by all. Sister Act 2 is in the all-time black film hall of fame. And besides the one-liners that will stand the test of time, Sister Act 2 is known for amazing musical talent that was in the cast. For the next go round, put Whoopi Goldberg back in the habit one last time, and bring in a new crop of talented youth. Maybe Lauryn Hill can come back as school counselor?
Did you love Dear White People? Well before that movie there was Higher Learning. This movie tackled the tension that exists on college campuses, covering everything from racism to rape. John Singleton, who cut his teeth on 90’s cinema, wrote and directed the film, and the cast included everyone from Ice Cube to Omar Epps to Tyra Banks to Regina King to Busta Rhymes. An updated version of this film would fit in perfectly with the movement to have better, more accurate, and varied depictions of black folk in film.
6. Soul Food
This is one of those movies that is a prerequisite to blackness. At its core, Soul Food was about the resiliency and importance of the institution of the black family. There was infidelity, tears, fights, and joy. It solidified Michael Beach as the quintessential bad relationship partner, and at the same time, gave us Boyz II Men’s “A Song For Mama.” But if you learned nothing else, you learned to never leave a towel on the stove.
This movie exploded onto screens with its no holds barred storytelling of life in the hood. It launched Cuba Gooding’s career and even featured a budding Morris Chestnut. And I say we’re long overdue for a film that accurately depicts life in the hood today, from multiple points of view and without sensationalizing it.
Janet Jackson and Tupac helmed this 90’s classic, and their chemistry on screen was unexpectedly solid. As iconic as that was by itself, it was the film’s content that set it apart. It had everything: stank attitudes, dookie braids, and a family reunion. But more importantly, the film felt grounded and gritty, even during the most intimate moments. We need another movie that can tap into blackness like that.
9. Love Jones
Black love and spoken word. It didn’t need to be about anything else. That was enough to forge a film that thrives on passion. It also had an all-black cast and explored the lives of multiple characters, centered on the many faces of love. You can’t tell me that we wouldn’t pack the theaters to see a continuation of this story.
10. Jason’s Lyric
I knew when I watched this movie that I was probably too young to be seeing it. There was murder and steamy sex, but even back then, I knew this film had a fire that burned deeper than those acts. Jason’s Lyric taught us that it was OK for a tough black lead to have a soft side too. And those human traits are what we still thirst for today.
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