Pride, Lean on Me, Why Did I Get Married?

Karen Huff-Willis
Director, San Diego Black Film Festival,


For Black History Month I would like people to see something by Oscar Micheaux, like Within Our Gates. He’s from the 1920s, and he made wonderful films.

Then go see something with Lena Horne — like Stormy Weather, where she sings the title song. She’s getting up in age and people forget about her.

Finally, check out any and all of the black exploitation movies. Cooley High was one of my favorites with Glynn Turman. He’s one of my favorites, and he received our Award of Merit at our San Diego Black Film Festival. The genre also has really strong black women, like Tamara Dobson (Cleopatra Jones) or Pam Grier (Foxy Brown, Coffy).

Within Our Gates (Oscar Micheaux)
(USA) 1920, Grapevine Video

Stormy Weather
(USA) 1943, 20th Century Fox

Cooley High
(USA) 1975, MGM

Dwane Brown
KPBS Morning Edition anchor

Pride does just what the title implies: It gives you a sense you can overcome any obstacle with persistence and perseverance. Terrence Howard is a swimming coach determined to bring the sport to the inner city at a time when racial barriers abound.

I love the family chats around the kitchen table in the Nutty Professor movies. There’s nothing like hearing what your family really thinks of you even if you’re a brilliant scientist who needs a dose of Jenny Craig and a membership to Eharmony.com Eddie Murphy plays multiple roles in this remake of a Jerry Lewis classic.

Speaking of classics: Lean on Me is just that! You almost wish Joe Clark — with his bat and bullhorn — could visit every school in America to turn around the declining state of education. The New Jersey high school principal shows tough love dealing with students, parents, and educators.

Pride (Full Screen Edition)
(USA) 2007, Lionsgate

The Nutty Professor I & II
(USA) 1996 and 2000, Universal

Lean on Me
(USA) 1989, Warner

Dee (Deebone) J. Brooks
Owner, Sews and Shows Community Theatre

Why Did I Get Married? is Tyler Perry’s best movie to date. It’s full of stars, drama, and comedy, and relationship issues that are all easy to relate to. This movie is a test of “For every good man, there is a good woman,” and vice-versa.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman is another Perry movie I’d pick because I aspire to be his female equal. This movie is depressing then funny then emotional then depressing then mind-boggling then funny again. I love the roller coaster ride. I like it because it teaches submissive women that they have options.

Lesson learned: A good man is hard to find when your standards are unreasonably high. Daddy’s Little Girls gave snobby women a reality check and challenged them to open their eyes and hearts to men of good quality, regardless of their collar color.

Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? (Full Screen Edition)
(USA) 2007, Lionsgate

Diary of a Mad Black Woman (Full Screen Edition)
(USA) 2005, Lionsgate

Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls (Widescreen Edition)
(USA) 2007, Lionsgate

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