Reflections on Black Hollywood//
The most successful Black films were always honest and insightful films that inspired the hope of a class as much defined by race as by economic status. I remember seeing films like Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, and The Wiz  — films that captured the spirit, strength, and character of Black people.
What was most impressive about these films is that they weren’t Black films. They were just films, peeps into one aspect of humanity no different from their White counterparts.
LStB and Mahogany were products of Motown Hollywood, a venture in which founder, Berry Gordy, decided that he wasn’t necessarily interested in making Black films. Rather, he was interested in making films with mostly Black stars. Though it may seem innocuous a feat, the goal to highlight the talents of Black actors was something that not many people were interested in back in the 70s.
Gordy did just that, using Motown starlet, Diana Ross, to promulgate his new business venture. Along with her, the likes of Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, and Richard Pryor expanded the reach of the film industry and gave rise to a slew of films full of Black actors that were insightful, earnest, and, most importantly, entertaining.