One of the things I love about Google alerts is that I get to check out different websites, blogs and news articles that I would have never found on the net just doing a google. One article I saw today was about a film reviewer who has created a new website called iloveblackmovies.com. The site was created by film critic Shawn Edwards.
Local film critic Shawn Edwards has been on a roll of late with his documentaries about African-American cinema — “The 100 Best Black Movies (Ever)” and “No Joke: The 50 Funniest Black Movie Comedies (Ever).”
Now he’s parlaying his affection for black cinema into a new Web site, http://www.iloveblack movies.com.
“The idea came from doing research for the documentaries,” Edwards recalled. “I had such a time struggling to find out any information about black movies on the Web. There weren’t that many sources out there no matter what search engines I was using. It was barren.”
Edwards envisions his site as a one-stop market for reviews, essays, photos and even merchandise about black-themed movies.
“We’re trying to build up a reference source that people can use. Right now most of the stuff on the site is things I’ve written, but I’m not arrogant enough to think I’m the sole source of information on black movies, so we’re making it wide open. I want to build up a list of regular contributors.
“We want essays, historical documents … eventually we’d like to create a Black Movies Hall of Fame. Most important, we want to get people talking about contemporary and historical black movies.”
In two months of operation iloveblackmovies.com already has found an audience, Edwards said. “We’re getting hits from all over the country. People like the idea. The most common response we get is ‘It’s about time.’ Which is sad in 2008 but at least shows we’re moving in the right direction.”
One of the things he has had to wrestle with, Edwards said, is what constitutes a black film. It could be a movie written, directed and produced by African-Americans. It could star one or more black actors. It could be about the black experience.
Or it simply could be a film that resonates with black audiences.
“A month back we featured “Sex and the City” because of the large number of African-American women couldn’t wait to read about it.”
Edwards is operating the site largely out of his own pocket. Eventually he hopes the operation will pay for itself, either through advertising or sale of merchandise.
The site also serves as a platform for publicizing Edwards’ documentaries about black cinema. He’s working on a new one, “Our Heroes: The 25 Best Black Sports Movies (Ever),” whichpremieres during Black History Month in February.
The documentaries have gone over so well locally that Edwards hopes to take them on the road, mounting shows in other cities.
An on-air film critic for WDAF-TV since 2000, Edwards is co-founder of the African-American Film Critics Association. Earlier this year his “100 Best Black Movies” was named best TV entertainment feature by the L.A. Press Club’s National Entertainment Journalism Awards. In the same competition Edwards and co-host Russ Simmons were named best TV film critics for a “Screening Room” segment aired on WDAF.
I do have a list of favorite films, but after checking out this site I decided to create my list of favorite black films. This list could be very long but I decided to limit the list to my top 15 favorite black films:
- The Color Purple
A Soldier’s Story
What’s Love Got To Do with It
A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
Which Way is Up?
Waiting to Exhale
Let’s Do It Again