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The Equalizer 3 assets

Source: Courtesy / Sony Pictures

What a year we had in Black Hollywood!

As 2023 comes to a close in just a few days, many people are using this period of limbo between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to reflect back on the moments that moved, shook and entertained us over the past 365 days.

Theatrical releases made a comeback in a huge way this year, so we figured the best place to start was by looking back on the amazing films we saw in 2023 spearheaded by strong Black leads.


Good Burger 2 asset

Source: Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon Studios

The Color Purple production stills

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Equalizer 3

Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment

The Blackening production still

Source: Lionsgate


RELATED: The Color Purple [REVIEW] / American Fiction [REVIEW] / Chevalier [REVIEW] /  A Thousand And One [REVIEW]

Melanin popped all down the isles of your local theaters, from comedies led by ensemble casts to dramas that brought out surprising emotional performances by fan-favorite actors and actresses in our culture. With 2024 promising even more powerful leading roles for our people — The Book of Clarence! The American Society of Magical Negroes! Beverly Hills Cop 4! — we look back on this year with pride in the foundation laid forth and, quite simply, the immense talent we witnessed on the big screen.


You People key art

Source: Parrish Lewis / Netflix


Source: General / Fox Searchlight Pictures

They Cloned Tyrone assets

Source: Netflix / Netflix


Major highlights included returns from veterans like Denzel Washington, who only made one movie appearance this year but made sure to make it memorable, as well as Jamie Foxx following his health scare that had Black America on edge for months. Fantasia surprisingly made her big screen debut almost 20 years since coming into stardom as the season three winner of American Idol. Two decades later, the 39-year-old singer/actress is still proving that there’s no limit to her God-given talent. Jeremy Wright on the other hand, after years of taking on serious roles with HBO’s Westworld (2016 – 2022) and The Batman in 2022, lightened up to much pleasure in a satirical take on Black stereotypes released just last week.


Jeffrey Wright in 'American Fiction'

Source: Claire Folger / 2023 Orion Releasing LLC

A Thousand And One

Source: Focus Features / A Thousand And One=

While the films we chose to highlight may not be shoe-ins for Oscar season — a few are for sure if you ask us! — each without a doubt were award-worthy titles within many Black households across America. We salute the talent, and only pray it continues to prosper in the foreseeable future.

Major props to the 2023 Black box office!


Haunted Mansion poster and production stills

Source: Jalen Marlowe / Disney

The Little Mermaid assets

Source: Disney / Disney


Keep scrolling for our year-end list of 2023 films with Black leads that really brought the wow factor this year — let us know if you agree:


The post 2023 Recap: Black-Led Films That Wowed Us This Year appeared first on Black America Web.

2023 Recap: Black-Led Films That Wowed Us This Year  was originally published on

1. You People

Release Date:
January 20, 2023

WOW Factor:
Eddie Murphy’s return to Black Hollywood.

2. The Color Purple

Release Date:
December 25, 2023

WOW Factor:
Fantasia Barrino and that voice!

3. Chevalier

Release Date:
April 21, 2023

WOW Factor:
Kelvin Harrison Jr. leading us in a much-needed history lesson.

4. They Cloned Tyrone

Release Date:
July 14, 2023

WOW Factor:
The miraculous return of Jamie Foxx.

5. The Blackening

Release Date:
June 16, 2023

WOW Factor:
Dewayne Perkins as both screenwriter and standout star. 

6. American Fiction

Release Date:
December 15, 2023

WOW Factor:
The code-switching comedy of Jeremy Wright.  

7. The Equalizer 3

Release Date:
September 1, 2023

WOW Factor:
Denzel…badder than ever.

8. A Thousand And One

Release Date:
March 31, 2023

WOW Factor:
Teyana Taylor channeling her inner New Yorker as the lead in a soul-baring coming-of-age inner city story.

9. The Little Mermaid

Release Date:
May 26, 2023

WOW Factor:
Halle Bailey boldly giving the legendary mermaid some much-needed melanin.

10. Haunted Mansion

Release Date:
July 28, 2023

WOW Factor:
LaKeith Stanfield’s spooky, surprising and spot-on performance as a supernatural leading man.

11. Good Burger 2

Release Date:
November 22, 2023

WOW Factor:
The long-awaited reunion of Kenan & Kel