Centuries before Oscar Micheaux, the first black filmmaker ventured onto the scene, the movie industry was as segregated as bus rides or gaining admission to a predominantly white school in the United States. Hollywood was controlled by white promoters and actors who decided which content could be on the big screens. There was a deliberate attempt to shun black or colored narratives in those days, and if there was a need to cast a black actor, white actors painted their faces in that frame to play the role.
Despite other appealing alternatives, Oscar decided someone had to break the color barrier in movie production to give screenwriters, directors, and producers opportunities to prove themselves; and that was the statement he boldly sent across in his 1919 all-black cast feature, The Homesteader. Though the film highlighted his personal life experience, it became a leveler for black content creators in Hollywood.
Inspiringly, Oscar’s bold efforts eventually paved the way for black movie directors and producers who are behind some blockbusters and phenomenal movies on Hollywood’s screens decades later. Celebrating Oscar’s unprecedented feat and the remarkable work of extremely talented blacks in the filmmaking industry, here are 10 movies you probably didn’t know were directed by black people.