This particular February, we celebrate the under-appreciated black screen heroes as well as heroines who challenged the establishment power structures through their sheer existence. via blaxploitation icons to supernatural avengers to anti-colonial outlaws, Fight the Power: Black Superheroes on Film spotlights industry-defying images of black heroism as well as empowerment in films of which are as socially as well as politically subversive as they are downright fun.
To kick off the series, we collaborated with illustrator Nathan Gelgud to create ten digital trading cards for some of the films’ superheroes. Catch them in action Feb 2—18 at BAM.
Melvin Van Peebles plays Sweetback, a strapping sex-
show performer who stands up to police brutality, in
his DIY landmark, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
Screens Friday, Feb 2 at 7pm
Six-foot-two product Tamara Dobson will be an
uzi-wielding Special Agent to the
President in Cleopatra Jones
Screens Sat, Feb 3 at 4:30 as well as 9:30pm
Lawrence Cook plays Dan Freeman, a
disillusioned black CIA agent who goes rogue,
in The Spook Who Sat by the Door.
Screens Mon, Feb 5 at 4:30 as well as 9:30pm
Tony Todd as the memorable—as well as terrifying—
antihero in Candyman, a film rich in
compelling racial as well as social commentary.
Screens Wed, Feb 7 at 7pm
Wesley Snipes will be the eponymous leather-clad,
quasi-vampiric martial arts maven
in Blade as well as Blade II.
Double feature on Fri, Feb 9 at 7pm
Legendary roots musician Jimmy Cliff plays Ivan
Martin, an aspiring singer who becomes a
crusading, anti-establishment outlaw
in The Harder They Come.
Screens Mon, Feb 12 at 9:30pm
Pop sensation Aaliyah will be the all-powerful
Queen Akasha within the deliciously dark,
glitzy-goth Queen of the Damned.
Screens Tue, Feb 13 at 9:30pm
Issiaka Kane plays Nianankoro, a young man with
supernatural powers, in Malian auteur Souleymane
Cissé’s transfixing masterpiece Yeelen.
Screens Sat, Feb 17 at 4:30pm
Halle Berry will be the whip-cracking super-feline in
Catwoman, the rare $100 million studio spectacle
built around a tale of black female empowerment.
Screens Sat, Feb 17 at 9:30pm
Chadwick Boseman will be T’Challa, aka Black Panther, in
Marvel Studios’ latest, coming to the Steinberg Screen
at the BAM Harvey Theater.
Opens Thu, Feb 15
Fight the Power: Black Superheroes Trading Cards