The SKY IS BLACK Conversation Menu: Pan-African Storytelling

The SKY IS BLACK Conversation Menu: Pan-African Storytelling

For people of African descent, our drive to artistically chronicle who we are, where we've been, and where we're going remains unquenchable and unceasing. The melange of works we offer here - which we'll update frequently - serves only to reveal, in part, the diversity of our perspectives, the harmony of our voices, and the solidarity of our souls. We dream a world...

“Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s anchor. We are the compass for humanity’s conscious.”

‘Is that Black Enough for You?!?’ Elvis Mitchell’s History of Black Cinema Is a Tour de Force
The longtime movie critic’s documentary is both the personal journey of a lifelong moviegoer and a tribute to the Blackexploitation genre of the 1970s that blew up Hollywood stereotypes and h…
‘Is That Black Enough for You?!?’ Review: A Miracle Decade
This documentary from Elvis Mitchell looks back at a golden age of daring Black cinema.
‘Is That Black Enough for You?!?’ Review: Elvis Mitchell’s Meticulous Class on Black Film History
The culture critic analyzes a crucial decade in American cinema, crafting an argument about how Black filmmakers reinvigorated the medium through both formal and narrative experimentation.

Author N.K Jemisin Builds New Worlds. But She Wants Us to Save This One
In ‘The World We Make,’ Jemisin tells Rolling Stone she wrote about the New York she sees out her window

How Toni Morrison Wrote Her Most Challenging Novel
‘Jazz’ is a roaming, musical book, writes the poet Morgan Parker. It reads differently than the author’s others and is said to have been her favorite.
Review: ‘Song of Solomon,’ by Toni Morrison (Published 2021)
In the deep, sprawling 1977 story of Milkman Dead, the reviewer Reynolds Price found evidence for “the possibility of transcendence within human life.”
Toni Morrison’s Profound and Unrelenting Vision
“The Bluest Eye,” which was published fifty years ago, cut a new path through the American literary landscape by placing black girls at the center of the story.
The Nobel Prize–winning author’s lecture at the Harvard Divinity School as well as a rich collection of scholarly illumination of the religious dimensions of her fiction.
Beyond the Books: Toni Morrison’s Essays and Criticism (Published 2019)
The Nobel laureate and author of such novels as “Beloved” and “Song of Solomon” wrote extensively for The New York Times.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am review – powerful portrait of a cultural giant
Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis and Morrison herself explore her work and legacy in this documentary completed shortly before the Nobel-winning author’s death

Haile Gerima on Being Fêted by Hollywood—After Living His Life “in Opposition” to It
The legendary director of ‘Sankofa’ talks about his Academy celebration, his love of Ava DuVernay, and his disdain for the Hollywood machine.
‘Sankofa’: Haile Gerima Wants His Resistance Cinema to Inspire the Next Gen of Black Filmmakers
The iconoclastic filmmaker, whose career spans five decades, reflects on his “lifetime struggle” to survive in an environment that insists on him being anything but himself.
Haile Gerima on ‘Sankofa,’ Working With Ava DuVernay and Why Film School Is ‘Hopeless’
To celebrate Black history month, Ava DuVernay’s indie distribution, arts and advocacy collective Array has produced “28 Days of ‘Sankofa,’” an event series where select cinemas, …
Sankofa, Directed by Haile Gerima

African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) is dedicated to advancing an enhanced understanding of African culture through the moving image. It offers diverse platforms for the wide distribution of African media through its flagship annual film festival and complementary year-round programming. AFF is committed to increasing visibility and recognition for African media artists by introducing African film and culture to a broad range of audiences in the United States and abroad, bypassing economic, class and racial barriers. In 1990, AFF’s founders established goals that continue to enrich the organization mission and organizational development: To use African cinema to promote and increase knowledge and understanding of African arts, literature and culture; To develop an audience for African films; To expand the opportunities for the distribution of African films in the United States and abroad.

Based in New York, the African Film Festival, Inc. is a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3), founded in 1990 as a dynamic platform dedicated to increasing exposure to African arts and culture through the screening of cinematic works made by and about the people of Africa and the African Diaspora. AFF offerings include year-round programs in order to provide our growing audiences with greater access to African films and culture.

Our flagship program, the New York African Film Festival, was launched in 1993, with leading support from the Ford Foundation. AFF organized the inaugural festival in partnership with the Film Society of Lincoln Center (now Film at Lincoln Center) and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, going beyond showcasing African cinema to include live performances, art exhibitions, panel discussions, master classes, and workshops intended to provide greater context for the films being screened. In 1995 and 1997, to expand the breadth of our activities, we experimented with a traveling film series, in addition to community and international programming.

Through the visionary leadership of Mahen Bonetti, Founding Executive Director, AFF continues to be a trailblazing force in the film world. In our thirty years of operation, we have advanced the critical discourse on African film, raising awareness of and fostering conversations about Africa and her people. Moreover, AFF has built a reputation for our ability to identify new talent, thereby providing emerging and under-recognized filmmakers—including women and members of the LGBTQ+ community—with critical exposure and access to important professional opportunities. AFF has launched the international careers of countless filmmakers, many of whom have gone on to become well known in the field, while simultaneously introducing diverse audiences worldwide to the histories, stories, and most pressing issues affecting the people of Africa and the African Diaspora.

As a network organization, AFF has a long history of partnering with a diverse group of institutions that range from mainstream to local, national, and international grassroots organizations. As one of the leading experts and distributors of African cinema, we also offer consultation to other institutions, festivals, scholars, filmmakers and programmers, who come to us for advice, film recommendations, and curatorial guidance. Our partnerships have enabled us to extend our reach and introduce a plethora of film and filmmakers to the world.

More than 30 acclaimed writers--including diverse voices such as Nikki Giovanni, David Omotosho Black, Natasha Trethewey, Barry Jenkins, Jacqueline Woodson, Tayari Jones, and Angela Flournoy--reflect on their experience and expertise in this unique book on the craft of writing that focuses on the Black creative spirit.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: three days with a giant of African literature
The long read: The Kenyan novelist’s life and work has intersected with many of the biggest events of the past century. At 85, he reflects on his long, uncompromising life in writing
The Fierce, Flourishing World of Battle Rap
Battle rap is an art form and a sport, as well as an industry that has been slowly growing over the last decade. While there are proving grounds all over the country, New York is its epicenter.
Pictured: Ama Aidoo

"For us Africans, literature must serve a purpose: to expose, embarrass, and fight corruption and authoritarianism. It is understandable why the African artist is utilitarian." - Ama Ata Aidoo

Note: The opinions below are not limited to those held by persons of African descent.
The Best African Movies, From All 54 African Countries
An epic list of the top African films—with action movies, dramas, classics, romances, and more from all 54 African countries.
10 great African films
Ten pathways to discovering the best of African cinema.
24 Essential Works of Black Cinema Recommended by Black Directors
From ‘Daughters of the Dust’ to ‘Killer of Sheep’
20 Black filmmakers who have changed Hollywood in the last century
Over the last 100 years, there have been Black filmmakers paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse industry.
Here are 11 Oscar-Worthy African Feature Films to Watch
While Ivory Coast’s ‘Night of the Kings’ and Tunisia’s ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ have been shortlisted for the “Best International Feature Film”, here are 9 additional films that made strong contenders for an Oscar.
“Widows,” “Girls Trip” and 12 Other Black Movies That Should Have Won Oscars
We can’t forgive these snubs.
20 best African films – ranked!
As the UK’s leading African film festivals showcase the past decade’s classics online, we pick 20 great landmarks from the continent’s dazzling movie-making history
The 75 Greatest Films by Black Directors
As chosen by critics and filmmakers—and including four movies from 2022.
21 essential films about Black lives, in every major genre
Whittled down from a list of 1,700 movies
The Best Blaxploitation Movies of All Time
From ‘Blackenstein’ to ‘That Man Bolt,’ here are the best blaxploitation movies that have empowered people and broken down racial barriers.
15 Best African American Movies of All Time
Audiences and artists have come to realize that exploring black lives does not necessarily mean making grim, depressing films that depict the brutal realities of slavery, drug use and poverty. These films, however, when made honestly, can be extraordinary. But more and more films about black people…
From Pressure to The Last Tree: 10 of the best black British films
A celebration of the pioneering films reflecting black life in Britain over the last 40 years
167 Powerful Black Movies That Changed Cinema Forever
The list takes into account some of the top-rated new black movies as well as several less-known (yet highly rated) films to add some spice and variety.
A Journey Through Sight and Sound’s Top 100 Films and Their African Complements
A showcase of the universal power of cinema across borders and cultures.

Watch The Brave Ones | Netflix Official Site
An all-mighty goddess reincarnated as a young woman must harness her divine powers to avenge her sister’s death and protect her family from destruction.

Pictured: John Boyega

Pictured: Steve Toussaint


Cannes 2023 is a showcase for African films and filmmakers | CNN
It is a banner year for African films and filmmakers at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, showcasing more content from Africa than any previous year.
With a Record Number of African Films in Cannes, Marketgoers Ask if This Is the Continent’s Time
A record number of African films are premiering at this year’s Cannes Film Festival — including two titles in the main competition and four more in Un Certain Regard — promising a robust turnout on…
Africa’s ‘Cannes moment’ opens with tribute to Malian great Souleymane Cissé
The record number of African films at the 76th Cannes Film Festival has fuelled talk of a moviemaking revival on the continent, powered by a new generation of female directors. Fittingly, this year’s…
Wide Angle: The pride of place of African cinema at the Festival de Cannes - Festival de Cannes
International film festival for more than 75 years
African Stories at Cannes Film Festival 2023 — Akoroko
Set to showcase a diverse and exciting selection of films from around the world, especially from across Africa, the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival runs May 16-27, 2023.
Cannes Film Festival 2023 Prizes: African Films Win Big in Parallels -
AUGURE (OMEN, DRC), GOODBYE JULIA (Sudan), KADIB ABYAD (THE MOTHER OF ALL LIES, Morocco), others take Un Certain Regard + Documentary honors
Follow AKOROKO on social media @akorokoafrica

‘African Queens’ Tells the Royal Stories You Haven’t Heard Before
Jada Pinkett-Smith’s new four-part docudrama starts with the influential, complicated life of Queen Njinga.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
Check out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’. Get to know the cast, watch bonus videos and so much more.
Why the Streamers Are (Finally) Investing in Africa
The continent is generating a frenzy of localized content as giants like Netflix and Disney+ battle to gain a foothold in a market that has long been ignored: “There’s a lot of room for growth.”
Netflix Africa Bosses Talk Originals, Co-Production Strategy and Expansion Plans: ‘We Can Only Go Forward and Spend More’ (EXCLUSIVE)
Netflix’s top executive team in Africa plans to continue spending on scripted and unscripted content across genres until it unearths the big “Squid Game”-like show that captures g…
UCP Partners With Nigerian Company to Make Comic Book TV Shows (Exclusive)
Selwyn Seyfu Hinds will exec produce projects based on Comic Republic’s Vanguards Universe.
Watch Bookmarks | Netflix Official Site
Celebrity readers share children’s books by Black authors to spark kid-friendly conversations about empathy, equality, self-love and antiracism.
Nigerian Media Mogul Mo Abudu Launches New Cinema Label, Directs First Short Films
The first two projects, ‘Her Perfect Life,’ and ‘Iyawo Mi,’ look at “mental health issues from a Nigerian perspective.”
Idris Elba, EbonyLife’s Mo Abudu Partner on Africa-Inspired Film, TV Slate
Elba’s Green Door Pictures has set up a joint development slate with EbonyLife to back film and TV projects and new talent from Africa and the African diaspora.

Here’s Our List of 8 Must-See Afrofuturism Films
Say goodbye to your social life now for the weekend.
Explore Afrofuturism With These 13 Must-Watch Afrofuturist Movies
Afrofuturism features infinite futures in which Blackness and Africanness are the center of the narrative. Visit Wakanda and beyond with these 13 must-watch Afrofuturist movies.
A Beginner’s Guide To Afrofuturism: 7 Titles To Watch And Read | Essence
Blending the African Diaspora with science, philosophy, and technology, Afrofuturism has long been a apart of Black pop culture.
Exploring Afrofuturism in Film, Where Sci-Fi and Mythology Blur (Published 2018)
A look at Afrofuturist films now available to stream, including the one that inspired Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s tour announcement image.
‘The Space Race’ Review: Doc Reveals the Moving, Untold and Almost 60-Year History of a Few Black Astronauts
Taking on an expansive topic, the contribution of Black astronauts to the American space program, Lisa Cortés and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza’s “The Space Race” derives its strength from the specific…
A Dominican grandmother in outer space is just the beginning. Philly’s Latino Film Festival highlights flights of imagination through July
The festival, which is in its 12th year, hosts six weeks of virtual and in-person screenings of Latino films from 25 countries.

A Place at the Table gives voice to Black Americans who have made significant contributions to the success of many silicon valley giants.

Review: ‘Hidden Figures’ Honors 3 Black Women Who Helped NASA Soar (Published 2016)
The women, part of the giant step for mankind, have their stories told in this movie directed by Theodore Melfi.
Pictured: Mary Jackson
Pictured: Katherine Johnson

What the Tulsa Race Massacre Destroyed (Published 2021)
We created a 3-D model of Greenwood, home of “Black Wall Street,” as it was before a white mob set it on fire 100 years ago.
The Massacre of Black Wall Street
In 1921, White rioters destroyed a beacon of Black prosperity and security. They killed as many as 300 black Tulsans, left thousands homeless, and ransacked an entire neighborhood. At the time, there were no prosecutions of the instigators. Almost a century later, there have been no reparations. T…
Watching “Watchmen” as a Descendant of the Tulsa Race Massacre
A family was surprised to find their great-grandparents’ businesses at the center of the HBO show’s depiction of the Greenwood race riots. Now they want to tell their own story.
The Tulsa Race Massacre Happened 99 Years Ago. Here’s What to Read About It. (Published 2019)
Last year, the HBO series ‘Watchmen’ depicted the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst outbreaks of racial violence in American history, in its series premiere.
Tulsa faces reckoning over historical racism as state law restricts how history is taught
As the country has been reckoning with questions of race, justice and equality, many state legislatures have passed laws restricting how American history, particularly around the issue of race, can be taught in schools. Judy Woodruff visited her native Tulsa, Oklahoma, to see how that city, amid its…
Read more here.

Learn more.

‘Brother’ Review: Clement Virgo’s Brutally Honest Film About Family And Manhood
There is an abundance of Black dramas that chronicle trauma without the care it deserves. Rife with anti-Black stereotypes, the cinematic elite often celebrates these big budget narratives while in…

The Ambitious Plan to Open Up a Treasure Trove of Black History
Check in on the progress of the seven-year project to digitize the Johnson Publishing Company archive

‘Iyanu: Child of Wonder’ Animated Series Greenlit at HBO Max and Cartoon Network
HBO Max and Cartoon Network announced a 2D animated adaptation of “Iyanu: Child of Wonder,” a Dark Horse Comics/YouNeek Studios graphic novel series heavily influenced by the Yoruba people of Niger…
Nigeria’s Comic Republic Signs Production Deal “To bring African Superheroes to the World” (Exclusive)
Emagine Content and JackieBoy Entertainment will adapt the company’s African superhero comic ‘Ireti’ as a feature film.

‘Small Axe’ Review: The Agonies and Ecstasies of Black British Lives (Published 2020)
Steve McQueen’s anthology of five films is a revelatory look at Afro-Caribbean neighborhoods in Britain from the 1960s to the ’80s.
In ‘Small Axe,’ Steve McQueen Explores Britain’s Caribbean Heritage (Published 2020)
The director’s ambitious anthology series for Amazon and the BBC is his first film work about Black life in Britain. “I needed to understand myself, where I came from,” he said.
Small Axe review – Steve McQueen triumphs with tales of Britain’s Caribbean history
The Oscar winner’s five-part anthology begins with Mangrove, a long-overdue dramatisation of a landmark trial, featuring luminous portrayals and nuanced representation
The Sensuality and Brutality of Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe”
In his new film series, the director wants to vanquish any idea that British racism is somehow more repressed and less violent than the American kind.

John Hervey is the founder and CEO of Beyond Time Comics.
BC and Anton welcome John Hervey of Beyond Time Comics, and discuss BLCK VC, children's books, and the power of authentic storytelling.

10 Must-Read African Comics and Graphic Novels
Read your way into these 10 excellent African comics and graphic novels.
Superheroes and Trailblazers: Black Comic Book Artists, Rediscovered (Published 2020)
A new book examines the lives of these trailblazers, who paved the way for subsequent generations of illustrators but were invisible to the mainstream in their own time.
30 Black Comic Book Writers You Should Know
A primer on the work of black comic book writers

Winners of the ‘African Folktales, Reimagined’ Short Film Competition - About Netflix
Netflix and UNESCO have announced the six winners of the ‘African Folktales, Reimagined’ short film competition. Each winner will receive US$25,000 plus a production budget of US$75,000 to create short films

The African Superhero and the Legacy of Captain Africa
In September of 1988, the New York Times published an article by James Brooke, an American journalist and then bureau chief at Abidjan, Ivory Coast. “Goodbye to Tarzan,” the headline read. “Meet Ca…

Netlix - Black Stories
Making Progress: Our Latest Film & Series Diversity Study And Netflix Fund For Creative Equity Updates - About Netflix
Our latest study with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
2022 Inclusion Report Update - About Netflix
Inclusion is a collective effort. To make Netflix more inclusive for every employee, we all have to jump in, work together and develop our “inclusion lens.”

Through this program, six trainees received mentoring and coaching through hands-on training in the Assistant Directing, Sound, Camera, Props, Locations and Video departments.

Netflix Unveils 2022-2023 African Originals Slate
The feature adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s ‘Death and The King’s Horseman,’ a supernatural drama inspired by African folklore and an Afrikaans series starring Arnold Vosloo are among the streamer’s upcoming projects.
African Movies & TV
Laugh, cry, sigh, scream, shout or whatever you feel like with these comedies, dramas, romances, thrillers and so much more, all hailing from Africa.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Egypt
Egypt: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Morocco
Morocco: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Brazil
Brazil: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Bahamas
Bahamas: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Martinique
Martinique: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Jamaica
Jamaica: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Mauritius
Mauritius: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Nigeria
Nigeria: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: Kenya
Kenya: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Netflix Top 10 - By Country: South Africa
South Africa: Weekly Top 10 lists of the most watched TV and films on Netflix in countries around the world.
Read the full Netflix African Economic Impact Report

‘Descendant’ Review: The Fates of a Ship and Its Captives
This documentary recounts the salvaging of the Clotilda, the last known ship to bring enslaved Africans to America, and tracks down their progeny.
Descendant review – powerful Netflix documentary on the legacy of slavery
A striking and sensitive film about how an illegal slave ship led to an Alabama community of inherited trauma but also defiance
The existence of the last slave transport ship was denied. A new documentary reveals the truth.
Inconvenient history, long buried, finally gets the spotlight in Netflix’s Descendant.

The Blood and Tears, Not the Magnolias (Published 2013)
Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” based on the true story of Solomon Northup, drives straight to the heart of the cruelties of oppression.
’12 Years A Slave’ Leads To Correction Of 161-Year-Old Story
In 1853, The New York Times reported about Solomon Northup’s enslavement. The movie about his life won a best picture award on Sunday. That’s when the Times’ misspelling of Northup’s name turned up.

We should all be feminists
We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much ... to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men, says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for…
‘I believe literature is in peril’: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie comes out fighting for freedom of speech
As the BBC prepares to air her hard-hitting Reith Lecture, the celebrated author of Half of a Yellow Sun talks about truth, trans rights and our ‘misogyny-drenched’ planet. Plus: read an extract
The danger of a single story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
How I Became Black in America
It’s been 10 years since the publication of “Americanah.” What’s changed?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Interview: The Right to Tell Your Story
“A strong woman is not something I find remarkable, it’s something that I find normal.” Interview with the acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie about…
Adichie discuss writing Half of a Yellow Sun.
For The Atlantic, Chimamanda Adichie Writes Open Letter to President Biden, About “Nigeria’s Hollow Democracy”