Feeling uninspired these days? Want to travel, but can’t? Eat Pray Love just not looking all that relatable to your demographic? Then check these out on DVD: four of my favorite black expat films, each one detailing an experience that I can relate to one way or another, from running away to running towards. The pickins might be slim when it comes to celluloid reflections of my particular, culture-specific type of experience, but what’s available ain’t exactly something to sneeze at.
Passing Strange (2008) – This phenomenal rock/soul Broadway production traces the true-to-life path of composer/playwright Stew, who left a place in middle-class LA in the early 80s to find “the real” in Amsterdam and Berlin.
The Josephine Baker Story (1991) – Lynn Whitfield turned in an Emmy-worthy performance in this HBO Original biopic about the first black (or any color, really) international superstar. An incredibly underrated film.
Mahogany (1975) – Proto-Beyonce Diana Ross stars as an aspiring fashion designer from South Side Chicago who makes it big first as a model in Rome, then as a designer, while being torn between her career and her love for fly politician Billy Dee Williams.
Watch the trailer here.
The Nephew (1998) – Hill Harper plays a mixed-race American kid who goes to Ireland in search of his relatives after his mother dies. As the Lone Negro, he’s at once cool and threatening. How many of us can relate to that?
Sorry, I couldn’t find a trailer, folks.
Netflix anyone? Any other suggestions (NOT Karate Kid neither!)?