There has been a little bit of buzz over the last year or two that Hollywood is, for lack of a better word, discovering minorities. There have always been a few stars that don’t represent the typical white male demographic that dominates Hollywood.
For instance, Will Smith and Denzel Washington have long been reliable box office draws. But recent years have shown far broader and more meaningful advances in black cinema, or at least how it’s being consumed by Hollywood culture and the moviegoing masses.
From Moonlight’s Oscar win to Get Out’s nomination, and into 2018 and the incredible performance of Black Panther at the box office, the success stories just keep coming, and the hope is that Hollywood sees what’s happening, and black directors, stars, and supporting actors continue to get more opportunities in major projects.
If that is the case – and Hollywood really is ready to take a more even-handed approach – we have a few ideas for some stories and characters that are just sitting there waiting to be adapted, and to give black actors a shot at stardom.
1. Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman has actually been in the news quite a bit these last few years. That’s because of a plan to replace Andrew Jackson’s image with hers on the U.S. $20 bill, which appears to be in flux. Nevertheless, it’s about time modern culture celebrated this hero of the era of slavery in America.
Right now, for a lot of Americans, Tubman is the sort of person you read about in history class and retain only vague memories of years later. The truth is that she was one of the bravest and most effective abolitionists in history, and it’s high time her life was commemorated on screen.
2. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is now over 50, and has been retired (for good) from the NBA for well over a decade. He’s one of the great athletes to ever live, and yet already his story is beginning to fade into history as people rush to proclaim LeBron James an even better player (which is a reasonable, but unnecessary argument).
Aspects of Jordan’s biography were actually depicted in the beginning of the iconic half-animated film Space Jam, but it might be about time for a full-fledged biopic. Jordan’s life has been fascinating, and this would be an incredible opportunity for a young actor.
3. Rep. John Lewis
John Lewis is a congressman from Georgia who is best known these days for standing up for progressive causes and occasionally blasting Donald Trump publicly. Beyond his current role in politics however,
he’s one of the greatest living leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States.
He helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, has paid a physical toll for his activism on multiple occasions, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama, and just recently made headlines by repeatedly calling for today’s young people to get in “good trouble” over the causes they believe in.
He’s the sort of figure there seem to be fewer and fewer of in the modern world, and a film would do his legacy justice.
4. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has returned to golf and may yet win more major championships. However, there’s no question his best days are behind him.
He still manages to make headlines constantly, either because he’s briefly contending at tournaments or for stunts like his upcoming $10 million match with Phil Mickelson, but he is no longer the indomitable force that dominated golf for the better part of 15 years.
Like Jordan, Woods was simply a rare athlete, and one with an interesting background and professional journey. The movie will be made one day, so we’d ask: why not now?
5. Toni Morrison
A film about the celebrated author Toni Morrison may be the most unlikely idea put forth here. But movies about writers are actually getting somewhat more common.
Morrison is about as accomplished and critically acclaimed as any living writer, and the length of her career and breadth of her work could undoubtedly inspire a creative screenwriter to put together something special. Playing Morrison at any stage of her life would be a joy and an opportunity for any black actress.