I’m a cinema nomad. I move from cinema to cinema looking for original stories. My journey has not been successful, that is why I ended up in Hindi cinema. I followed Chinese, Japanese, Nigerian and African-American films before I landed in Mumbai. I always leave when I can predict the storyline.
I cannot share all my favourite black movies with you but I must tell you about G, from Andrew Lauren Productions, directed by Christopher Scott Cherot. I love lighting and this is one of the reasons why G is one of my favourite movies. Lighting is soft and black people are lovingly lit, bringing up their black skins, such as Richard T. Jones.
The story begins with Tracy, a journalist (Andre Royo) who is looking for Summer G, one of the hottest hip hop record producers in the United States (Richard T. Jones). He has a summer house in the Hamptons. Tracy will stay with his cousin Sky (Chenoa Maxwell), who also has a house there with her husband Chip (Blair Underwood).
It turns out that Summer G has a history with his cousin Sky (Chenoa Maxwell). Apparently, she left Summer G, her college sweetheart to marry Chip her wealthy, sex pervert, woman beating and cheating husband. The film starts with the Memorial Day party Summer G, the hip hop mogul has organised for his artists and neighbours.
Summer and Sky meet again after ten years. Summer G is not married because he still nurses the idea that Sky will come back to him. The film is about power and blackmail and Tracy, Sky’s cousin is used as a pawn, in something he has no control of.
The film revolves around a very critical question. Two people met, loved each other and parted. Ten years have gone by. “It’s not over, is it?” Trey asks his cousin Sky. It is also about why women stay in abusive marriages.
Sky is a big actress. She acts as if she is happily married to Chip. She knows very well that he is a womaniser. Summer G has all these hip hop artists on his label who also regard him as a father figure. “Handle your business boy, handle your business,” he advises one of them.
His advice comes back to haunt him. That is why the film has a tragic ending. What does that advice mean to young black men? Are older black men giving the right advice? G is a film you will watch repeatedly because it has many layers, exquisite cinematography from Horacio Marquinez.
More black movies
1. The first 4 Tyler Perry films, Diary of a Mad Black Womam, Madea’s Family Reunion, Daddy’s Little Girls and Why Did I get Married.
2. Brown Sugar, director Rick Famuyiwa, the whole world has embraced hip hop and the film traces this black contribution to world music.
3. Kingdom Come, director Doug McHenry, large family and their dynamics, pain about a woman who cannot have a child.
4. Mo’ Better Blues, director Spike Lee, a jazz film, jazz musicians and their reality, lighting is one of the best in the world.
5. The Painting, director Peter Manoogian, unusual Vietnam story, man leaves his wife behind, his father Randolph Barrington 111 (Charles Shaughnessy) doesn’t accept his wife because she is African-American, his son dies in Vietnam.
6. Love and Basketball director Gina Prince-Bythewood, boy and girl love basketball but cannot achieve their dreams.
7. Down in the Delta, director May Angelou, drug addict (Alfre Woodard) is sent to the south of the United States to live with her uncle, she has a daughter who is a crack baby.
8. Waiting to Exhale, director Forest Whitaker, four women struggle with relationships.
9. Dance With Me, director Randa Haines, Vanessa Williams as an American dancer who thinks she knows more about Latin dancing than Cubans. She plays opposite Chayanne’s character.
10. Motives 2 Retribution, director Aaron Courseault, an older woman buys a younger man’s love and brothers who hate each other. I love tragic endings. This was a sequel. I did not see the original film.
Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness the novel.