There is so much more to Black culture, specifically Black womanhood, than struggle and pain. Intrinsically woven into the stories of Black women is laughter, sisterhood, community, family, love, ambition and joy. While sitting down to watch movies that allow us a good cry is sometimes necessary, films that depict happiness and show the nuances and intricacies of Black women are also needed. Here are seven feel good movies for Black women to make you smile.
A movie about the importance of family, “Soul Food” stars Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long. The Chicago-based Joseph family gathers around the table for Sunday dinners and Big Mama’s soul food which keeps them connected as they navigate the good and bad times. The film showcases the enduring love of the Black family unit and will leave you wanting to call home and tell your family that you love them.
Nappily Ever After
A film about one Black woman’s relationship with her hair and the freedom she feels as she learns to let go, “Nappily Ever After” is the feel good movie every woman needs to see. Sanaa Lathan plays Violet Jones, an advertising executive who is inhibited by straightening and trying to “fix” her natural hair. Her struggle for perfection comes to a crashing halt after an accident at a salon causes her hair to fall out and propels her to embark on a journey of self-discovery and turn her focus from her outer appearance to within.
Perfect for Valentine’s Day season or anytime you’re looking for a romantic movie, “The Photograph” is about finding the courage to love. The cast includes some of today’s most beloved millennial actors including Issa Rae, LaKeith Stanfield, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Chanté Adam and Y’lan Noel. The movie’s framework showcases a series of intertwining Black love stories – the confusion, the fear, the excitement, the joy, the tough decisions – in the past and in the present.
Love & Basketball
“All’s fair in love and basketball, baby,” according to Monica Wright. Played by Sanaa Lathan, Wright and Quincy McCall (played by Omar Epps) are childhood best friends whose love of basketball keeps them connected. As they move into adulthood, they progress from friends, to rival players, to lovers in this lighthearted love story that celebrates Black love.
An Amazon Original film, “Sylvie’s Love” depicts a 1950s Black love story that will leave you hopeful. Starring Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha, the film follows a young woman who meets an aspiring saxophonist in her father’s record shop as they fall in love in Harlem. As their careers pull them apart, they discover a love for self and each other that endures changing times, long distance and professional success.
Another classic Black love story, “Brown Sugar” is about two lifelong friends, Dre and Sydney, who connect through their love for hip hop as kids freestyling on a New York street corner. Now as adults, they have both reached the pinnacle of success in the music industry – Dre as an A&R executive at a music label and Sydney as a music critic at a magazine. However, they cannot move forward with their lives and find true happiness until they admit that they are in love with each other.
When life gets tough, all you need is your girls. “Girls Trip” is the ultimate movie about Black sisterhood and friendship. Tiffany Haddish, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith play four best friends who reunite after five years and take the ultimate girls trip to New Orleans for the annual Essence Music Festival. As they reunite, they stir up some chaos, confront some hard realities and rediscover their wild sides in this comedic celebration of friendship.