The National Black Movie Association hosted a screening of {Respect} starring Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor
mgreen@afro.com

A lot of instances in the Black  community did not gain  full R-E-S-P-E-C-T until the whole narrative was exposed in art- and often through film. 

On Aug. 11 at the AFI Silver Spring, the National Black Movie Association hosted a private screening of the new MGM film Respect starring Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson playing the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.

In Respect audiences get a deeper look into the life, bravery, talent and activism of Franklin, a true musical icon who died August 16, 2018 at the age of 76.

Agnes Moss, founder and president of the National Black Movie Association shared why the organization felt it was important to highlight the new film and the narratives it reveals and unveils.

“The screening of Respect is more of a celebration of culture versus a celebration of a movie,” the president of the organization explained.

“Aretha Franklin was so much more than a music icon.  If you look at her life, she was influential in many aspects of Black history. She was a civil rights activist, an actress, a producer and a trailblazer in fashion.  She was bold and fearless until the very end. These are the stories and experiences we want to uplift and celebrate,” Moss said. 

The National Black Movie Association is all about highlighting and celebrating Black stories and cinematography, especially in a Hollywood filled with White narratives, directors, producers, executives and casts.

“The National Black Movie Association exists to preserve the rich legacy of Black films and Black filmmakers, and to support the next generation of Black storytellers. The organization was founded due to the lack of diversity in Hollywood,” Moss said.

Moreover, the president of the organization emphasized the importance of African American narratives furthering Black representation throughout the world.

“It is important to have Black representation and inclusion as our stories are developed and amplified on a global scale.  When that doesn’t happen, Black culture is often misrepresented.  The organization uplifts Black culture by facilitating and empowering a community to own our narratives and to ensure Black voices are heard,” Moss continued. 

Moss also added that screening Respect furthers the mission of the National Black Movie Association to continue amplifying the power and importance of Black films and filmmakers.  A film like Respect, will bring Black crowds and Black dollars, but it’s up to people and organizations such as the National Black Movie Association to move the needle further- to ensure that more stories are told.

“From a movie consumer standpoint, the Black community invests in Black films. If the stories are produced, we will go see them. Our goal as an organization is to facilitate meaningful conversations and experiences around the stories that don’t end when the movie is over,” said the organization’s president.  

“The National Black Movie Association is about much more than watching a movie.  The organization is invested in making sure Black culture is well represented and Black stories and experiences are well understood,” Moss added.

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Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor