In this summer's "Fruitvale Station," the Weinstein Company releases a film that is a harrowing portrait of the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant, a Black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in a transit station in California's Bay Area in 2009. This story takes on particular significance as the U.S. struggles to come to terms with the jury's not guilty verdict in the Florida trial of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who shot and killed unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. The film will star Michael B. Jordan, a talented actor known largely from his work on the television series "The Wire."
Another film to be released this summer is "The Butler," about a longtime butler in the White House who worked for various presidents from the 1950s to the 1980s, with an interesting look at life for African Americans across multiple decades. The film will star veteran actor Forest Whitaker and is being directed by Lee Daniels, famous for directing, "Precious", another critical story depicting Black life.
These two films and others being released in 2013 illustrate a true renaissance in black cinema, as key black narratives are told and black actors and directors receive a well deserved spotlight on their work. "Fruitvale Station" and "The Butler" are only two examples of a growing body of films that are getting positive reception from critics and audiences throughout the country. As cases like the shooting of Grant in California and Martin in Florida are occurring, it is important for these films to be released as an opportunity to see important black stories on screen.