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HomeBlack Parenting59 Black Coming-of-Age Motion pictures You Should See

59 Black Coming-of-Age Motion pictures You Should See

In American tradition, motion pictures like The Breakfast Membership, Sixteen Candles, and Ferris Buehler’s Day Off are held up as classics. However what about all the good Black coming-of-age motion pictures? 

Similar to with books and tv reveals, Black youngsters have to see themselves represented in dynamic methods on the massive display. (Or streamed on a flat display TV.) 

Black coming-of-age motion pictures present mirrors that enable Black of us to see individuals who appear to be us going by means of the journey that’s rising up. Which motion pictures have a look at the transition into younger maturity from a Black lens? We compiled an exhaustive, however by-no-means-definitive record on your consideration. 

Every movie listed here’s a basic in its personal ceremony, and the record spans nearly 50 years of cinema. That mentioned, we had been struck by a fact that may’t be ignored. Whereas a few of these movies are light-hearted and uplifting, many Black coming-of-age motion pictures have a tendency to take a look at the darkish realities of life on the margins. As such, some dad and mom might not discover these movies to be appropriate for his or her kids.

Which certainly one of your favourite Black coming-of-age motion pictures make the record? Which of them did we miss? Attain out to us on Instagram or Fb to tell us.

Notice: We’ve included every movie’s score. In case you’d prefer to find out about their appropriateness for tween and teenage viewers, we encourage you to learn extra about them on Frequent Sense Media as a number of embrace grownup themes.

Written with help from Satya Nelms

Above the Rim (1994)

Kyle, a gifted basketball participant performed by Duane Martin, is ready to listen to if he’ll obtain a scholarship to play ball at Georgetown College. Within the meantime, Kyle’s caught in a neighborhood rivalry taking part in out in a basketball match. Whose workforce will he play for: The one led by drug seller Birdie (Tupac Shakur), or the one led by Shep (Leon Robinson), Birdie’s and a former basketball star? (R)

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Eleven-year-old Akeelah Anderson (a younger Keke Palmer) discovers she has a expertise for spelling. Setting her sights on the Scripps Nationwide Spelling Bee, Akeelah trains along with her tutor Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne) and defies folks’s expectations of younger Black women. (PG, Frequent Sense Media)


ATL (2006)

ATL follows the coming-of-age tales of a bunch of associates making an attempt to determine what to do after commencement. As they discover their friendships, they confront what rising up and getting into younger maturity means for every of them. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)


Atlantics (2019)

On this gripping romantic drama, Senegalese teenagers Souleiman and Ada attempt to discover consolation in one another despite some harsh realities. When forces bigger than them preserve them aside, we see how far Souleiman will go to reunite with Ada. (TV-14, Frequent Sense Media)

Boyz N The Hood (1991)

As Tre, Chris, and half-brothers “Doughboy” and Ricky go from boys to younger males in South Central L.A., this basic Black coming-of-age film appears to be like at how selections and probability form their lives. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Class Act (1992)

This comedy follows two boys whose faculty information get switched, giving them fully completely different reputations in class. Genius Duncan (Christopher “Child” Reid) is positioned into a bunch of courses crammed with delinquents, whereas the ex-convict “Blade” (Christopher “Play” Martin) will get positioned in superior courses. The combination-up provides the younger males entry to lives they’d by no means think about for themselves. (PG-13)

Cooley Excessive (1975)

It’s so haaaard… To say goodbye… To yesterday. Similar to the track, this 1975 Black coming-of-age film is timeless. Cooley Excessive follows Preach and Cochise’s tumultuous senior 12 months in Chicago. (PG)

Concrete Cowboy (2021)

Fifteen-year-old Cole (Stranger Issues’ Caleb McLaughlin) is moving into hassle in class in Detroit the place he lives together with his mom. So his mother sends him to Philadelphia to stick with his father, who’s an city cowboy. One of many newer Black coming-of-age motion pictures on this record, Concrete Cowboy was impressed by the true city cowboys of Philadelphia. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975)

Earl and Willford (performed by a younger Laurence Fishburne) look as much as their older pal and native basketball star Nathaniel “Cornbread” Hamilton. A case of mistaken id and incorrect place, incorrect time, tears the boys aside. (PG)

Crooklyn (1994)

This Spike Lee Joint is a Black coming-of-age film that the entire household can get pleasure from. Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris) navigates rising up as the one daughter of her dad and mom’ 5 kids in Mattress-Stuy Brooklyn in the summertime of 1973. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)

Cuties (2020)

A controversial French coming-of-age story, Cuties explores the hypersexualization of pre-adolescent women. Amy, 11 years previous raised in conventional Muslim values, discovers web tradition by means of her rebellious neighbor. She joins a dance crew and does every part that she might to realize on-line recognition—however at what value? (TV-MA, Frequent Sense Media)

Notice: For Harriet has a considerate, nuanced overview of the film.

Dope (2015)

Dope follows Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore), and his two finest associates on a wild journey in Inglewood, California. The self-professed geeks discover themselves caught up in a drug deal whereas making an attempt to get Malcolm to an interview for admittance into Harvard College. (R, Frequent Sense Media)


Eve’s Bayou (1997)

On this drama, 10-year-old Eve (performed by a younger Jurnee Smollett) by chance sees her father’s infidelity at a celebration. It results in a chaotic and tense summer time because the household slowly begins to doubt one another: Eve in the direction of her father (Samuel L. Jackson), her older sister Cisely (Meagan Good) in the direction of Eve, and their mom (Lynn Whitfield) in the direction of her husband. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Every part, Every part (2017)

Based mostly on the guide of the identical title, this film focuses on the lifetime of 18-year-old Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) who has a uncommon immune dysfunction that stops her from leaving the house she shares along with her mother. For years Maddy resigns herself to interacting with the world from afar. However that every one adjustments when an intriguing boy strikes in subsequent door. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)

Quick Shade (2018)

Grandmother Bo (Lorraine Toussaint), mom Ruth (Gugu Mbatha Uncooked), and daughter Lila (Saniyya Sidney), all have supernatural powers. Now they’re being hunted down by scientists who wish to research and management them. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)
Hulu | Prime

The Matches (2015)

Eleven-year-old Toni (Royalty Hightower) notices a dance workforce on the gymnasium the place she packing containers along with her large brother. Toni befriends the women and finally begins training with them. Unusually, one after the other members begin having seizing spells. These “matches” overtake the entire workforce, leaving outsiders to marvel what’s actually occurring. (PG, Frequent Sense Media)
Hulu | Prime

George Washington (2000)

On one hand, George Washington is a few group of kids making an attempt to cover the unintentional loss of life of certainly one of their very own. However it’s additionally a narrative about the previous few months between being a baby and changing into a youngster, which we don’t see sufficient of in Black coming-of-age motion pictures. (Unrated)

A Woman Like Grace (2016)

Grace (Ryan Future) is making an attempt to deal with her finest pal Andrea’s suicide. Alienated from her associates and bullied by a bunch of imply women, Grace will get nearer to Andrea’s older sister, Share, who initiates her into the edgy world of males and medicines. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Girlhood (2021)

Black coming-of-age film Girlhood tells the story of Marieme, a youngster residing within the poor suburbs of Paris. Marieme meets and befriends a bunch of ladies. Amidst the stealing, preventing, and intimidation that the group offers in, she discovers the help and love she was lacking from her household. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Goldie (2019)

Meet Goldie (Slick Woods), a youngster with large goals residing in a household shelter. Goldie needs to turn out to be a well-known dancer. However can she do it whereas she’s additionally doing her finest to maintain her two sisters collectively? (R, Frequent Sense Media)

The Nice Debaters (2007)

This semi-biographical Black coming-of-age film mirrors the Wiley Faculty debate workforce of the Nineteen Thirties. A workforce of 4 younger folks, led by their coach Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington), takes the nation by storm. Watch as they go head-to-head with Harvard College’s debate workforce, all whereas coping with the realities of rising up in post-Reconstruction America. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)

The Hate U Give (2018)

Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) is a teenage lady who lives in a predominantly Black neighborhood, however attends a predominantly white personal faculty. When her finest pal is shot by a police officer, the aftermath challenges the relationships in Starr’s life and every part she thought she knew. (PG -13, Frequent Sense Media)


Greater Studying (1995)

One other standout from the ’90s period of Black coming-of-age motion pictures. Set at a fictional faculty, Greater Studying tells the intertwining tales of three faculty freshmen from three completely different backgrounds. Class, race, and gender all collide on this highly effective and gripping movie. (R)


Hoop Desires (1994)

The documentary Hoop Desires follows William Gates and Arthur Agee, two younger Black boys who get drafted right into a primarily all-White highschool recognized for its glorious basketball program. The movie reveals the struggles and the success that they undergo on this aggressive sport. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)


Home Celebration (1990)

Basic Black coming-of-age motion pictures stand the check of time. In Home Celebration Child sneaks out after being grounded to go to his pal’s Play’s home for the final word celebration. Shenanigans, bullies, dancing, and crushes ensue! (R, Frequent Sense Media)
Prime | Vudu

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete (2013)

Mister is a 13-year-old baby fending for himself and 9-year-old Pete after the police take their moms away. (Each ladies are intercourse employees.) With no meals or cash, the boys spend their summer time dodging bullies, Little one Companies, and different hostile neighbors whereas ready for a greater future within the type of a callback from a casting agent. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

The Inkwell (1994)

Set in the summertime of 1976, The Inkwell facilities on Drew Tate (Larenz Tate), a 16-year-old from upstate New York visiting wealthy family members in Martha’s Winery. The story follows Drew as he enters this unfamiliar world and discovers himself. (R)

Jinn (2018)

Summer season is a youngster in her final 12 months in highschool when her mom all of a sudden decides to transform to Islam. As a woman who was raised in a beforehand secular house, Summer season is torn between the life-style she has all the time recognized and her burgeoning curiosity within the religion. (R, Frequent Sense Media)


Juice (1992)

Q (Omar Epps) spends his days skipping faculty; hanging out with associates Bishop (Tupac Shakur), Raheem, and Metal; and being harassed by gangs and the police. In an try to get avenue cred or “juice,” Bishop decides the group must rob a comfort retailer. What occurs subsequent assessments their bonds and sense of morality. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Simply One other Woman on the IRT (1992)

On this indie film, Chantel, 17, doesn’t wish to be one other statistic: She plans to get into faculty and turn out to be a physician. Can she nonetheless make her goals occur after getting pregnant whereas struggling to care for her two youthful siblings, go to high school, and work a part-time job? (R)

The Karate Child (2010)

Do you bear in mind the unique Karate Child? Nicely the 2010 model stars a younger Jaden Smith as an expat child in China. (As an alternative of karate, the martial artwork that helps him discover himself is kung fu.) (PG, Frequent Sense Media)
Prime | Netflix

The Land (2016)

In The Land, a bunch of boys hope to go away behind their poverty-stricken lives in Cleveland and turn out to be professional skate boarders. The plan: stealing and promoting vehicles to cut retailers. What might go incorrect? (R)

Lean on Me (1989)

Relating to Black coming-of-age motion pictures, Lean on Me is a basic. In it, a once-successful highschool has deteriorated due to rampant drug use and violence. New principal Joe “Loopy Joe” Clark is charged with turning its rankings round. Whereas his drastic measures initially have him clashing with everybody, these adjustments in the end change all the faculty for the higher. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)

Love Don’t Value a Factor (2003)

A reboot of the ‘80s flick Can’t Purchase Me Love, Love Don’t Value a Factor follows the identical primary premise. Geek Alvin (Nick Cannon) is in love with common lady Paris (Christina Millan). In alternate for his assist repairing her mother’s automobile, Paris pretends to be his girlfriend for 2 weeks. However will his new ego let him see that she’s falling for him? (TV-MA, Frequent Sense Media)

Prime | Vudu

Mississippi Damned (2009)

An autobiographical movie, Mississippi Damned takes an unflinching have a look at a poisonous household’s destruction and makes an attempt at redemption. Following three cousins within the late ‘80s and ‘90s, Mississippi Damned depicts the consequences homophobia, incest, rape, violence, alcoholism, unemployment, abuse, and dependancy have on their household. (TV-MA)

Miss Juneteenth (2020)

Single mom and former magnificence queen Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie) is doing every part she will to offer for her teenage daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze). When Turquoise enters Kai into the Miss Juneteenth pageant, the journey it takes them on brings mom and daughter nearer collectively. (Unrated, Frequent Sense Media)

Moonlight (2016)

An ordinary bearer of queer and Black coming-of-age motion pictures, Moonlight follows Chiron by means of three levels of his life. As “Little” (Alex Hibbert) we see Chiron in his childhood, and the affect of being raised by a mom hooked on medicine. Later we meet teenaged Chiron (Ashton Sanders) as he struggles with being bullied at college whereas navigating his id and sexuality. Lastly, we meet grownup Chiron, or “Black” (Trevante Rhodes), who longs to seek out connection and intimacy. (R, Frequent Sense Media)
Hulu | Prime 

Evening Comes On (2018)

Angel will get out of juvenile detention on the cusp of her 18th birthday. She has a string of offenses and trauma behind her, and an unsure future forward of her. That future is made much more unsure by a burning want to kill her father for murdering her mom. Complicating her want for revenge is her want to be there for her 10-year-old sister, who’s caught in foster care. (R, Frequent Sense Media)
Prime | Vudu

Love & Basketball (2000)

When Quincy and Monica meet as youngsters, they shortly bond over their love of basketball. However as they develop up (performed by Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan as adults), their ardour for the game takes them on completely different paths to self-discovery and romance. (PG-13)
Prime | Vudu

LUV (2013)

Woody goals of seeing his mom once more. However she’s in North Carolina in rehab, whereas he stays together with his grandma in Baltimore. The 11-year-old quickly will get a fast lesson in what it means to be a person when Vincent (Frequent)—his uncle who has been not too long ago launched from jail—takes Woody underneath his wing. Vincent’s definition contains violence and drug dealing. However will Woody’s? (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Menace II Society (2000)

A random act of violence set finest associates Caine (Tyrin Turner) and O-Canine (Larenz Tate) on a path to much more violence and vice. This can be a story that reveals that the saying “A watch for an eye fixed makes the entire world blind” is true. (R, Frequent Sense Media)


Monster (2018)

This authorized drama relies on the guide of the identical title written by Walter Dean Myers. In it, 17-year-old Steve Harmon is charged for a homicide that occurred throughout a theft. Monster follows the trial as Steve struggles to not lose his promising future as a result of jury’s prejudice. (R, Frequent Sense Media)


Our Music (2011)

A younger Kerry Washington performs certainly one of three 15-year-old finest associates questioning what to do subsequent with their lives. The ladies take into consideration the same old teenage considerations alongside extra difficult ones (e.g. surviving their harmful neighborhood and having an abortion) whereas training for the Labor Day parade as a part of their native marching band, the Jackie Robinson Steppers. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Pariah (2011)

In Pariah, 17-year-old Alike is making an attempt to embrace her id as a lesbian. Her sense of self is difficult by her mom’s disapproval and her father who sees her presentation as a part. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Netflix | Prime

Valuable (2009)

Based mostly on the novel Push by Sapphire, Valuable is without doubt one of the most heart-wrenching Black coming-of-age motion pictures on this record. Sixteen-year-old Claireece “Valuable” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) has been verbally and bodily abused by her mom (Mo’Nique), and sexually abused by her father—who has additionally fathered her two kids. Fortunately her life begins to show round for the higher as Valuable will get help from individuals who truly care about her and her kids. (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Netflix | Prime

Untimely (2019)

Old flame comes with all the emotions, and 17-year-old poet Ayanna isn’t any exception. However when she and “grown” music producer Isaiah fall in love the summer time earlier than her freshman 12 months of school, the intoxicating ups and painful downs of their relationship take the each of them without warning. (R, Frequent Sense Media)
Vudu | Apple TV

Rafiki (2019)

Rafiki, which implies “pal” in Swahilli, tells the story of two younger ladies who’re love in a rustic the place being queer is prohibited. And if issues weren’t difficult sufficient already, their households are additionally political rivals. (TV – MA, Frequent Sense Media)
Vudu | Apple TV

Bear in mind the Titans (2000)

Set in Virginia in 1971, Bear in mind the Titans tells the story of a newly built-in high-school soccer workforce studying to simply accept one another and play as a workforce. Led by their new Black coach (performed by Denzel Washington) who was employed to switch a long-time white coach, the Titans must learn to navigate their very own biases and people of all the city. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)


Roll Bounce (2015)

Xavier Curtis “X” Smith loves skating together with his associates. However when their favourite skating rink will get shut down, the crew must go to a ritzy skating rink the place they aren’t welcomed. As an alternative of leaving, they compete to have the proper to make use of the rink towards the rink’s long-standing champions. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)


Roxanne Roxanne (2017)

This musical drama is concerning the lifetime of rapper Roxanne Shante, and her struggles residing in her neighborhood and along with her household as she slowly rises to stardom. (R, Frequent Sense Media)


See You Yesterday (2019)

This is without doubt one of the few sci-fi Black coming-of-age motion pictures we got here throughout. Finest associates C.J. Walker (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian Thomas (Danté Crichlow) are science prodigies who’ve created a time machine. The 2 travel by means of time, making an attempt to avoid wasting C.J.’s brother from being shot by a police officer. (TV-MA, Frequent Sense Media)

Selah and the Spades (2019)

In case your youngsters like Gossip Woman, then you could wish to give Selah and the Spades a attempt. A senior at an elite boarding faculty, Selah Summers (Lovie Simone) runs a bunch that gives college students with all method of vices. With rival teams competing for the highest spot, Selah tries to seek out somebody to steer her crew in her stead when she graduates. However will her machinations trigger extra hurt than good? (R, Frequent Sense Media)

Sister Act 2: Again within the Behavior (1993)

Sister Act 2 has showgirl Deloris (Whoopi Goldberg) step again into her Sister Mary Clarence persona. This musical comedy reveals her return to the sisterhood to be a music instructor on the faculty she went to when she was a baby. If anybody can lead a bunch of misunderstood Catholic college students (together with a younger Lauryn Hill) to maintain the college from closing down, it’s Sister Mary Clarence. (PG, Frequent Sense Media)


Solace (2018)

Sole, a creative teenager, and activist, loses every part when her father dies. Despatched off to dwell along with her estranged and strict grandmother in one other state, Sole is much away from all of the folks and issues that gave her life that means. She finds herself coping along with her varied losses by means of self-harm, disordered consuming, and hanging out along with her neighbors, a few hard-partying misfits. (R)
Prime | Vudu

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Afro-Latino teen Miles Morales turns into the subsequent Spider-Man after the loss of life of Peter Parker. Upon shedding his mentor earlier than he was in a position to management his powers, Miles’ will get assist from the opposite variations of Spider-Man who got here from completely different universes. (PG, Frequent Sense Media)

The Solar Is Additionally a Star (2019)

Life appears to be taking Natasha Kingsley (Yara Shahidi) and Daniel Bae (Charles Melton) in two very completely different instructions on the outset of this Black coming-of-age film. Natasha is preventing to maintain her household from being deported and Daniel is on his method to an interview for faculty. However destiny intervenes and their tales intertwine on this romantic drama set in New York Metropolis. (PG-13, Frequent Sense Media)

The Wooden (1999)

The Wooden opens on the morning of a marriage. Mike (Omar Epps) and Slim (Richard T. Jones) are on the hunt for his or her finest pal and lacking groom Roland (Taye Diggs). Throughout their search, they flashback to a summer time from their teenage years rising up in Inglewood. (R)

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Based mostly on the guide by Madeleine L’Engle, this sci-fi film is about Meg (Storm Reid) and her siblings as they attempt to cope with their life after the disappearance of their astrophysicist father. Their adventures start when a being claims that their father traveled utilizing a way he was finding out and is now in want of rescuing from the evil forces holding him captive. (PG, Frequent Sense Media)


Yelling to the Sky (2012)

Sweetness O’Hara (Zoë Kravitz) is a good-girl-gone-bad because of her unstable household life and harmful neighborhood. Dealing medicine appears to present her the ability she doesn’t have at house (the place she witnesses her father’s home violence towards her mom) or at college (the place she’s bullied by a gang of imply women)… however for the way lengthy? (Unrated)
Prime | Vudu


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