Black Stories: Celebrating the Past, Present, and Future!

Kara Warren, Clubs Editor

 Being black in entertainment doesn’t just mean representing the community, but also depicting the developments after the many struggles throughout history. Behind the camera, artists design pieces to compliment the diverse traits of actors and ignite feelings in the audience. Beneath the stage light, black actors dedicate themselves to portraying their characters, without letting go of their virtues. Regardless of the aspect of entertainment taken on, being black in the media leads the way for future generations to come. Check out this list of black performers & film-makers that bring their stories to your screen. 


   Angela Bassett: Power is the only word that can capture the essence of Angela Bassett’s work. While portraying roles of influential women in productions such as Black Panther and Boyz n the Hood, the actress has had the privilege of telling the stories of strong Black women, and encouraging her viewers to live fearlessly. Senior Leanna Brereton revealed that she’s always been a fan of how much power Bassett carries through her beauty, intellect, and strength. The senior states, “Angela Bassett’s always been a great actress and an important figure for black people, specifically black women in the entertainment industry since we are typically the minority.”

   Lupita Nyong’o: Giving black performers and filmmakers a platform to authentically express themselves is critical, but showing all aspects of what it means to be black is even more important. The lack of representation for darker-toned individuals and coiled curl patterns has been a lifelong struggle, but Lupita Nyong’o has suppressed that standard for entertainment. Throughout her career, Lupita has brought attention to natural African features and changed the standard of a black woman’s beauty. With her breathtaking execution of her roles in Black Panther, Us, Star Wars, and 12 Years a Slave, senior Julie Michel praises her for changing Hollywood’s perception of beauty forever. “In her career, I’ve seen Lupita rock so many hairstyles with her natural curl pattern and length, which you don’t see often. Having a dark-skinned woman star in so many movies and series is a breath of fresh air. It’s inspiring to see that she’s been able to move forward in her career despite all the discriminatory preferences in the industry.”

   Donald Glover: Donald Glover, more widely known by his stage name, Childish Gambino, has taken on all aspects of entertainment—including music, film, production, and more. With appearances on shows like Atlanta, Community, and The Lion King reboot, students like Sonia Ally have been amazed by the versatility of his character. The junior expressed, “Donald Glover has shifted how the music industry is today because he’s combined different influences from a variety of cultures and ideas into his music. The evidence is in the tracks he samples from different time periods, which really shows his experimentation in both music and television.”

   Keke Palmer: Keke Palmer has had a lifelong impact on the black community. Her vibrance and humor has not only debunked the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype, but also leads as an example to young black girls that there is no limit to what they can do. One of these girls, Anaya Andre, mentioned that she watched the actress for as long as she can remember. The junior also admitted that Keke’s been one of the largest influences when trying to make it as a singer. “Keke Palmer has always been a big figure for me, even in my childhood. Watching her grow into more complex characters over the years has encouraged me to continue pursuing my hopes of becoming a performer. From the days where she played on Nickelodeon to now being a main role in Nope, Keke’s always been a great example of what black excellence looks like!”

   Quinta Brunson: Quinta Brunson has become one of the leading actresses & creators of the latest sitcom, Abbott Elementary. Quinta’s ability to show the bitter realities of attending an underprivileged school, while appealing to a white audience, has given her and her co-stars the platform to advocate for the inclusion of black stories in media. Her character has also been known for having the optimistic, can-do attitude that inspires black youth to never let obstacles get in the way of reaching their goals. For Lady-Zuriel Ayebah, being a junior and BSU Secretary, Quinta’s influence on black media has been brief, but still great. “She started from working at Buzzfeed to now creating a Golden Globe award winning and Grammy nominated show. She shows time and time again that black people, especially black women, can start from nothing and become something if you have the right determination. Abbott Elementary is great for younger viewers as well and I think it’s cool that the younger generation below us get to see more shows with diversity, more black women in power, and seeing issues that happen today in a funny and creative way.”