biggerI was getting my daily Shadow & Act fix when I ran across an interesting question by Tambay. Although there have been several films about Africa, you rarely see films depicting African Americans traveling to Africa…and beyond.

He writes:

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.

Aside from Shaft in Africa as Tambay mentioned, and Phat Girlz, there are very few films that show African Americans in the motherland. Why?

One glance at the travel articles here on Clutch and it’s clear that black folks do, in fact, travel. Our readers and writers have traveled to every inch of the globe and often take up their passports and head off on international jaunts. But aside from How Stella Got Her Groove Back, we rarely see ourselves traveling on screen.

To be fair, these days we rarely see ourselves doing much of anything positive on screen, so I’m not surprised. But wouldn’t it be nice to have our own Eat, Pray, Love?

Off the top of my head there are several books that could easily be turned into films about black folks seeing the world. Black Girl in Paris, Searching for Tina Turner, and Kinky Gazpacho. But still no films. 

While it’s clear Hollywood doesn’t care about what black audiences actually want, I’d love to see an independent black filmmaker tackle this topic.

How about you?

Do you know of any travel films with black leads? If so, share…we’ll add them to our list! 

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  • Dela

    What is even more rare is a black African woman (I’m South African) portrayed as a traveller or anything other than a victim of disease or poverty.

  • Marisa

    We have been through this people yall know how it goes, black people do a lot of things that don’t get depicted onscreen. We are can only be onscreen as crackhead/junkie/hookers/crooked cops/mammies/maids/side pieces/white people hand holders. For instance Christ Tucker was in Silver Linings but, unless you looked hard enough you wouldn’t really know it and he was Bradley Cooper home boy, Eat Prey Love anybody remember Viola Davis was in that yep she was Julia Roberts home girl. The entertainment industry and the viewing audience at large have shown they will not support in mass anything from black people unless it involves some stereotype. Also sometimes our own people don’t want to watch something that is positive that is the reality. If we want to see a movie were black people do some soul searching through traveling we will need to make it ourselves.