The debut of Marvel’s Black Panther in February 2018 is one of the film industry’s most anticipated releases in recent memory. Its star-studded cast is the largest collection of talented Black actors and actresses in a superhero film to date, and comic book fans and newbies alike are excited to see them together on the big screen.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s repertory film program BAMcinématek is launching a special film series inspired by the movie that will pay tribute to Black superheroes. Fight The Power: Black Superheroes on Film is a 28-film series that spans 50 years of cinematic history. It will kick off Friday, February 2 and run through Sunday, February 18, intentionally surrounding the global release of Black Panther on February 16.
The series aims to “examine an entire alternative cinematic history of Black screen heroes who challenged establishment power structures through their sheer existence,” while paying homage to the “industry-defying images of Black heroism and empowerment in films that are as socially and politically subversive as they are downright fun,” BAMcinématek Senior Programmer Ashley Clark said in a statement.
“Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is one of the most hotly anticipated blockbusters of the year, and is rightly seen as a new high watermark in the representation of Black characters in the fantasy genre,” continued Clark, who curated the series. “But it is preceded by a rich if under-acknowledged history. Fight the Power: Black Superheroes on Film presents the mythical, fantastical, and groundbreaking icons that laid the path for Black Panther.”
Films included in Fight the Power feature a diverse lineup of both cult classics and commercial successes, touching on specific points in Black superhero cinematic history, starting with the Blaxploitaition era. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song, a 1971 film starring Melvin Van Peebles, will be the first film highlighted in the festival, alongside Cleopatra Jones, Foxy Brown, Shaft and more. Lawrence Cook’s The Spook Who Sat By The Door and Sidney Poitier’s Buck and the Preacher will also be featured.
It will also include movies pulled straight from the comics, such as Wesley Snipes’ Blade and Blade II, Michael Jai White’s Spawn, and Halle Berry’s Catwoman. Other films to appear include Men In Black, The Meteor Man, Candyman, Queen of the Damned, Attack The Block, and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
For more information about the festival as it’s made available, visit the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek website here.