'Akeelah and the Bee'
Directed by Doug Atchison, this 2006 film stars Keke Palmer as a young girl from Los Angeles trying to make it to the National Spelling Bee. Reuniting again for third time are Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, who play her mother and her mentor, respectively.
Directed by Spike Lee in 1994, and starring Alfre Woodard and Delroy Lindo, is this vibrant semi-autobiographical portrait of a school teacher, her stubborn Jazz musician husband and their five kids living in Brooklyn during the '70s. Also starring in the film are Isaiah Washington, Vondie Curtis-Hall and RuPaul.
Diahann Carroll received a best actress Oscar nomination for her role in this 1974 film about a black woman who tries to provide for her six children in Harlem while on welfare. Directed by John Berry, the film also starred James Earl Jones as her love interest, Roxie Roker and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. Curtis Mayfield wrote and produced the film's score and soundtrack, and the vocals were performed by Gladys Knight & the Pips.
'Lean on Me'
Morgan Freeman star in 1989's 'Lean on Me,' which was loosely based on the story of Joe Clark, a real-life inner-city high school principal in Paterson, NJ, whose school was at risk of being taken over by the state. This film's title refers to the 1972 Bill Withers song of the same name. Also starring in the film are Beverly Todd, Alan North, Robert Guillaume and the late Lynne Thigpen.
Probably the greatest African American miniseries aired on television, 'Roots' is a 1977 dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line, from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendents' liberation. The series featured household names such John Amos, LeVar Burton, Ben Vereen, Louis Gossett Jr. , Edward Asner, Leslie Uggams and Cicely Tyson.
'School of Rock'
Jack Black scored a hit in this 2003 Richard Linklater film about a wannabe rock star in need of cash who poses as a substitute teacher at a prep school and tries to turn his class into a rock band. Also starring in the film are Mike White, Joan Cusack and Miranda Cosgrove of 'iCarly.'
Whoopi Goldberg starred in this 1992 comedy hit about a lounge singer who enters protective custody in a San Francisco convent after a mob boss puts her on his hit list. Also starring in the film are Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy and young Lauryn Hill. The film was followed by a 1993 sequel, 'Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.'
'The Lion King' & 'The Incredibles'
Two of Disney's blockbuster animation films were the 1994 chart topping 'Lion King,' which is the highest grossing 2-D animation film of all time in the United States, and the 2004 computer-animated superhero film 'The Incredibles.' In 'Lion King,' a guilt-ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future king after being tricked into thinking he killed his father, while 'The Incredibles' features a family of undercover superheroes forced into action to save the world.
'The Pursuit of Happyness'
Will Smith and his son Jaden scored a monster hit in this 2006 film, in which a struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he's poised to begin a life-changing professional endeavor. Directed by Gabriele Muccino and also starring Thandie Newton, the film is based on the true story of Chris Gardner.
With an all-star cast that included Diana Ross, the late Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross, this 1978 adaption of 'The Wizard of Oz' captured the essence of the African American experience.