National Black Movie Day is a celebration — and a call for action


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By Curtis Bunn, NBC News

American Fiction
Erika Alexander stars as Coraline and Jeffrey Wright as Thelonious “Monk” Ellison in “American Fiction.” (Claire Folger / Orion Pictures)

After the rallying cry “Oscars So White” emerged in 2015, calling out the general exclusion of Black filmmakers and movies from the annual awards ceremony, Agnes Moss stewed on it for a few years. The dismissal of Black-led films had offended her too, and eventually it led to the creation of National Black Movie Day.

Since 2019, Moss has made her own annual “call to action to support Black films,” a grassroots effort that has gained momentum through collaborations with local businesses and social media influencers. Saturday marks the fifth NBMD, and Moss said this year is distinct because filmgoers have multiple strong Black films to check out.

In Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Houston and Chicago, students at historically Black colleges, civic organization members and others are planning to flood theaters, host watch parties at home and bask in Black film.

“It’s truly gratifying to know that movie lovers across the country will be gathering to celebrate the legacy of Black storytelling,” said Moss, the president of the National Black Movie Association in Washington, D.C., her hometown. “We are all celebrating Black life and culture on the big screen.”

The day has grown from its infancy, when awareness stretched to just a few cities. Moss said she expects thousands to participate in National Black Movie Day, with Oscar-nominated films like “American Fiction” and “The Color Purple” screened alongside thought-provoking movies like “Origin,” “The Book of Clarence,” “One Love” and many others in theaters or streaming.

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