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Films About African Americans In Africa (Things That Make You Go Hmm…)

Films About African Americans In Africa (Things That Make You Go Hmm...)

The Black Folk Don’t… web series we featured here on S&A got me thinking… one of the episodes was titled Black Folk Don’t Travel; watch it below first, and continue reading underneath.

So… it got me thinking about the myriad of films we’ve covered here on S&A over the last few years that feature, most often, a Caucasian man or woman (usually American or from continental Europe) in an African country; We’ve seen quite a number of films about white Americans or white Europeans either already living in Africa, or visiting some African country, in search of something or someone – whether it’s salvation, redemption, inspiration, vacation, themselves, their spouses, children, friends, their dogs, cats, apes, whatever; and it’s rare that they’re villains, nor in positions of inferiority.

Also, those that are historically based usually involve white *settlers* (or remnants of colonialism) who come to see themselves as native to the land that their ancestors once occupied. 

And in thinking further about this, I realized that I couldn’t come up with many titles of fictional narrative feature films that centered on stories about African Americans in Africa; it’s not like black Americans don’t travel right? Or more specifically, it’s not like black Americans don’t travel to/visit/live/work in African countries right? I know more than a few. 

Their reality just isn’t reflected on our screens, big and small; as is the case for much of the so-called black experience, so nothing terribly shocking. But just making an observation. I’m speaking in the spirit of what we call Pan Africanism. 

If Hollywood movies are any indication, one would think that white people were the only “race” of people who traveled internationally.

One recent example that immediately comes to mind is Sex And The City 2, in which the characters spent much of the movie in Abu Dhabi, and, by most accounts (I haven’t seen the film), do some purportedly ignorant, cringe-worthy things that insult the emirate and its people.

So there I was wondering… it’d be refreshing to see more films about African Americans outside the USA, specifically in Africa (although let’s face it, it’ll be just as refreshing to see a wider variety of films about African Americans in America). I couldn’t think of many films with that as a basis for the story.

Does Shaft In Africa (photo above) count? Haile Gerima’s Sankofa is another. And, to be clear, I don’t mean films that star African Americans playing Africans (there are certainly numerous examples of those); nor am I including documentaries. I’m thinking of narrative fiction feature films with stories centered on black Americans either visiting a country (or several countries) in Africa for whatever reason, or who are already living in an African country.

Can you name any? Maybe I’m suffering from some form of temporary amnesia, and just can’t remember any films that fit the criteria.

Discussions abound about unifying the Diaspora; it’s not quite happening in real life from where I’m standing; but at least, in the fantasy, make-believe world of the cinema, we can pretend, or show what could (or could not) be :).

Black folks travel don’t they?

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Comments

Kayla Harvey Nasca

lol I’m black and I love to travel. Also, I’m from Buxton, MAINE! But I do admit, we are few in the Pine Tree State.

THE PRESENCE

Kin (2000) starring Isaiah Washington http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0195857/ about an African American laywer living in a small village in Namibia, who falls in love with a white South African woman, as he deals with local townsfolk, elephant poachers and the woman's obsessive brother.

THE PRESENCE

Kin (2000) starring Isaiah Washington http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0195857/ about an African American laywer living in a small village in Namibia, who falls in love with a white South African woman, as he deals with local townsfolk, elephant poachers and the woman's obsessive brother.

Sportsbruh

HBO did a series with Jill Scott called the #1 ladies Detective Agency.

filmed in southern Africa and nambia

DGB360

The only two categories of Black travelers are college students and educated grown folk. Black people are afraid to be out of there element. Europe is out, to hard to handle the language. All of the other continents, black folk don't want to embrace these unfamiliar cultures. I'm a world traveler, I hear this all the time from black folk. We as a people need to branch out, like the student who went to Nepal. My daughter lives in Austraila. Branch out black people learn something new. naaaww man that cost to much. Ninja rather by BEATS HEADPHONES and an IPAD. Ninja just spent over a thousand dollars….Me…? I'm on the beach in BAHIA Brazil.

Donella

Orlando Bloom in Primeval (Gustave). It's about a man-eating crocodile.

Chuck

I'm thinking…
Not a feature film but a documentary – BLACKS WITHOUT BORDERS, about Black Americans living in South Africa.

Other cose to mind is the HBO show – THE #1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY with Jill Scott. The Jill and the other actors were playing characters in Mozambique but one episode had a American Black women in search for her son that moved there.

still thinking…

Lonny

I don't have a "good" example, but …. Mo'Nique's film "Phat Girlz" included her character going to Africa in the end after meeting an African man in Florida and finding out that he did not hold the European standards of beauty popularized in America. The writer/director was an African woman. It was a thinly plotted film with good intentions. Pretty uneven
….and the ones others have said

Tamara

"I'm thinking of narrative fiction feature films with stories centered on black Americans either visiting a country (or several countries) in Africa for whatever reason, or who are already living in an African country." — ALI (2001), IN MY COUNTRY (2004), MR. BONES (2001)

Cyril

Naomie Harris in "Blood & Oil" does that count?

Donella

Ice Cube in Dangerous Ground?

nessaj

There's a French film called Beyond the Ocean/Apres l'ocean, about a couple of guys from Ivory Coast working in various countries in Europe. They're more just trying to make money than travelling for leisure though. I think the director is white.

BONDGIRL

Wow, I have had this on my mind for a while, and I will be writing a screenplay on my vacation to Senegal and Morrocco as a teenager. I had a life-threatening car accident while there, as well as many other experiences that should make for an entertaining film.

Laura

I don't know the synopsis of the film, but what about Danny Glover in "Bamako" I know it is not a Hollywood film.

Jd

Good topic. Denzel was just running over tin roofs in South Africa with his white sidekick in Safe House. That count?

Brasi

The upcoming Ties that Bind, directed by Leila Djansi and starring Kimberley Elise.

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