5 Awesome Movies To Watch In Celebration of Juneteenth

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David Shankbone, Gage Skidmore, Joan Hernandez Mir

History of Juneteenth

The history of Juneteenth dates back to 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation, a law that was meant to free all slaves in America. However, Texas decided to ignore the new law and kept Black Americans enslaved for two more years.

On Monday, June 19, 1965, General Gordon Granger and 2,000 troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that all slaves had been free for two years. Following Gordon Granger’s proclamation, the General and his troops enforced the emancipation, nullified all laws passed by Confederate Texans and oversaw the transition of power.

The historic day has since been celebrated every June 19th as the holiday, Juneteenth. In honor of the upcoming Juneteenth weekend, here are five amazing films by Black filmmakers that celebrate Black joy, empowerment, and inspiration.

Juneteenth movies to watch: Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther is a historic film in so many regards. It is the first Marvel Studios film with a Black director (Ryan Coogler) and a predominantly Black cast. Additionally, Black Panther is the only superhero film to ever be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Even the film’s soundtrack is revolutionary. Executively produced by Kendrick Lamar, the soundtrack debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts and won numerous GRAMMYs and even an Oscar.

Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther sees T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) return home to take his rightful place as King of Wakanda. However, when his estranged cousin (Michael B. Jordan) challenges T’Challa’s claim to the throne, the young King must avoid making the same mistakes as his father did before him.

It’s an everyday occurrence.

Where to watch Black Panther: Disney+

Juneteenth movies to watch: Dope (2015)

This hilarious coming of age film follows best friends Malcolm (Shameik Moore), Jib (Tony Revolori), and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) get in over their heads when a local drug dealer (A$AP Rocky) secretly stashes ecstasy in Malcolm’s backpack. An unexpected adventure ensues as the teens attempt to get rid of the drugs before Malcolm’s college application meeting with a Harvard alumni.

Chanel Iman, Zoë Kravitz, Lakeith Stanfield, Rick Fox, Tyga, Vince Staples, and Forest Whitaker also star in Dope which was written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa.

Where to rent Dope: Amazon

Juneteenth movies to watch: Homecoming (2019)

In 2019, Beyoncé’s epic concert film took the world by storm. The Netflix original follows the pop legend as she headlines the 2018 Coachella music festival. The film, which was written, directed and produced by Beyoncé (talk about a Renaissance woman!), offers an intimate and never before seen look at what it takes to create an international cultural movement. Homecoming was nominated for six Emmys and won a Grammy following its release.

We’re still in awe over this masterpiece.

Where to watch Homecoming: Netflix

Juneteenth movies to watch: Creed (2015)

Ryan Coogler revamped the Rocky franchise in legendary fashion when he wrote and directed Creed in 2015. The film follows Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of iconic Rocky character Apollo Creed, as he attempts to make a name for himself as a heavyweight boxer. With Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and Bianca (Tessa Thompson) in his corner, Adonis learns about true love as well as what it takes to have the heart of a champion.

Creed revived Sylvester Stallone’s career with the actor earning an Oscar nod for his role in the film. Additionally, Creed was a massive hit at the box office spawning a sequel in 2018. An upcoming third Creed film is set to hit theaters on November 23, 2022.

Where to rent Creed: Amazon

Juneteenth movies to watch: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

No animated film has been more iconic in recent memory than Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The film received massive critical acclaim for its revolutionary animation style. It also became the first movie to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature over a Disney/Pixar film since 2006.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follows Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) after he is bitten by a radioactive spider that transforms him into the new Spider-Man. However, after the villainous Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) opens up portals to different dimensions, Miles is joined by a team of Spider-People from various worlds. Together, the heroes from across the Spider-Verse must unite to defeat Kingpin before he destroys the entire universe.

Jake Johnson, Chris Pine, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Zoë Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn and Nicolas Cage also star in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The film was directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman.

Even the movie’s Twitter account is incredibly wholesome.

Where to rent Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Amazon

As you kick back and enjoy these films this Juneteenth weekend it’s important to remember the history of Juneteenth as we continue the fight for Black justice across the entire world.

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