by Alana Seldon
January 26, 2022
There are some Black films that everyone knows and agrees are certified classics. They’re the films you still put in the DVD player or search on streaming platforms when you want to laugh, cry, feel nostalgic, feel a little hood, or feel the beauty of Black Love.
While it may be hard to believe, some of those classics will mark a milestone this year – turning 20!
We know… 2002 feels like forever ago and yesterday at the same time.
But, as we look back on those feel-good movies, we celebrate the iconic actors and actresses who contributed so much to the culture and gave the world a look into the Black Experience.
This is an ode to John Q (Denzel Washington), to Ace, Mitch and Rico (Wood Harris, Mekhi Pheiffer & Cam’ron), to Syd and Andre (Sanaa Lathan & Taye Diggs), to Devon (Nick Cannon), to Craig and Day-Day (Ice Cube & Mike Epps), and to Calvin Cambridge (Bow Wow).
Here’s a list of some of the films that turn 20-years-old this year:
Nick Cannon plays Devon Miles, a talented drummer from Harlem, who is a little rough around the edges when he travels down South to join the award-winning marching band at an HBCU. But, adversity soon taught him that it takes more than talent to reach the top. This 2002 release had all the HBCU students and alum thinking they were back on the Yard!
Denzel Washington was not playing about his son when insurance wouldn’t cover a critical heart transplant. He took the emergency room hostage until hospital doctors agreed to do the surgery.
Bow Wow’s character Calvin Cambridge is a 13-year-old orphan who, along with his friends, found a pair of old sneakers with faded “M.J.” initials inside. After they were electrocuted by a power line, Calvin got super abilities and becomes the next NBA star.
Childhood friends Sidney and Dre both fell in love with Hip-Hop when they were kids. A series of events through adulthood lead the pair to realize they’re also in love with each other. Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan are definitely top-of-the-list examples of Black Love on screen!
Wood Harris (Ace), Mekhi Pheiffer (Mitch) & Cam’ron (Rico) play a trio of friends who during the 80s, build an illegal drug empire and run the neighborhood. Loyalties are tested and betrayals eventually lead to their demise.
Calvin Palmer is an old-school barber in Chicago who inherits the business from his late father. Filled with a wild cast playing employees, clients, family and enemies, this 2002 release showed the world what the barbershop has always been for us – a place for people to share their stories, jokes, trials and tribulations.
In this film directed by Denzel Washington, Derek Luke plays navy sailor Antwone Fisher who is sent to see a psychiatrist after a violent incident with a fellow crew member. Although timid at first, he eventually opened up. Working to heal from revealed childhood trauma, Antwone tries to find the family he never knew.
Ice Cube and Mike Epps’ characters Craig and Day-Day are finally in their own apartment and working as security guards on the night-shift. This 2002 release had us all watching to see if the crazy duo would catch the thief who stole their Christmas presents.
This 2002 comedy follows bounty hunter Bucum (played by Ice Cube), who is after con-artist Reggie Wright (played by Mike Epps). They later become partners to recover a missing stash of diamonds and lottery ticket worth millions.
What’s your favorite Black classic? Do you remember how old you were when it came out? Let us know down below.