Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Kampus Production.
10 Black Travel Movies That Capture the Beauty of Summer
There are dozens of Black films that showcase the beauty of Summer travel. Whether the protagonist is on the run from the cops or a wholesome father is embarking on a road trip with his daughter to check out colleges, there are plenty of movies that capture Black culture in the midst of traveling from point A to point B. This summer when you and your family are looking for a good flick to unwind and watch, check out this list of 10 Black travel movies that capture the beauty of Summer.
1. Are We Done Yet? (2007)
The sequel to the 2005 family comedy Are We There Yet?, Hip Hop legend Ice Cube reprises his role as Nick Persons in the 2007 film Are We Done Yet? In the film, Ice Cube is surprised that his wife, played by Nia Long, is pregnant. The couple realizes they need more space to accommodate their now family of five and embark on a journey into the country to find a new home.
Unlike the original film which is set during the Christmas season, Are We Done Yet? takes Ice Cube and his family through the summer-draped countryside to a rundown house that Ice Cube spends the entire film trying to renovate. The family encounter wild deer in the forest, gigantic fish, and beautiful sunset backdrops as they commute from their cramped city apartment to a spacious countryside mansion in the middle of the woods.
As stated by Ice Cube during the movie, Are We Done Yet? is filled with fresh air and open spaces from beginning to end with witty banter between the characters, extreme comedic edge, and the love of Black family all tied into one.
2. Poetic Justice (1993)
Directed by John Singleton, Poetic Justice became an instant Black classic when it was released in 1993. Not only does the film capture the beauty of summer, but it also features an all-star cast including Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Regina King, and Joe Torry.
Centered around a young, Black woman named Justice played by Jackson, Poetic Justice follows the young woman’s struggle with depression after the loss of her boyfriend to gun violence. To cope with the murder, Justice can be heard reciting her poetry throughout the film. Hoping to cheer her friend up, King invites Justice to join her boyfriend (Torry) and his friend (Shakur) on a road trip from South Central LA to Oakland in a mail truck. Needing to head to Oakland for a hair show but with no transportation, Justice obliges and their adventure begins.
Poetic Justice is a beautiful film that captures the essence of Black culture in the 90s and the magnificence of Summertime on the West Coast. The journey from South Central to Oakland takes viewers through some amazing scenery in California and glimpses of mountain ranges and ocean views can be seen throughout the film. One of the most iconic moments in Poetic Justice is the family reunion scene. A nostalgic moment for viewers, this scene takes you back to that time when life was simpler and when family mattered. Poetic Justice is the West Coast travel film you must have in your collection.
3. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
Based on the best-selling book by Terry McMillian, How Stella Got Her Groove Back was an iconic film for Black women everywhere when it premiered in 1998. The film starred Angela Basset, Whoopi Goldberg, and was Taye Diggs’ film debut. The story follows a successful stockbroker (Basset) in desperate need of a vacation. Pressured and stressed, she joins her friend (Goldberg) on a trip to Jamaica where she meets a young man (Diggs) 20 years younger than her who reshapes her perspective and gives her a fresh outlook on life and living.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back brings viewers face to face with the fresh blue waters of Jamaica. The main character travels from San Francisco to the islands and as her location changes, so did her mindset. This film showcased the beauty of Jamaica during the warmer months and will entice anyone looking for days filled with beaches, laughter, dancing, and fun to visit the island.
4. Ride (1998)
Known as the wildest trip of the year back in 1998, Ride takes viewers on a journey from New York City to Miami. The movie follows the story of an NYC film student working as an assistant for a big shot music video director. When budget cuts are made, the student nearly losses her job until she agrees to escort a group of showbiz wannabes to Miami for a music video shoot.
Ride takes viewers to the dirty south on a rinky-dink bus and on an adventure with an all-star cast that includes John Witherspoon, Fredro Starr, Malik Yoba, and Snoop Dogg. As the aspiring musicians, singers, and dancers travel south, you can catch views of the country going past through the bus windows as they take the commute of a lifetime to fulfill their dreams.
5. Girl’s Trip
Another classic American comedy, Girl’s Trip is the ultimate friend’s reunion tied together with some of your favorite actresses in Hollywood. Produced by Will Packer, Girl’s Trip tells the story of four female friends from college who reunite for a long overdue girl’s trip to New Orleans for Essence Fest. The movie stars Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Tiffany Haddish as the ladies get into all types of mayhem and fun in the streets of the Big Easy.
With Essence Fest being in the heart of the Summer months, Girl’s Trip perfectly captures the wonder that is New Orleans during the warm season. From dance battles in nightclubs to enjoying the inspiring Essence Fest festivities, Girl’s Trip is an excellent depiction of the fun and friendship while traveling during the Summer.
6. Queen & Slim
A tragic love story from screenplay writer Lena Waithe, Queen & Slim is an American road crime drama that touches on topics like racial injustice, police brutality, and equality in America. Although they are never named until the end of the film, Queen & Slim follows two young Black millennials who are on the run after shooting a cop during a traffic stop. The movie takes the pair on a life of death journey that begins in Ohio. They also travel through Kentucky, New Orleans, and Florida as they fight to make it to Cuba so they can find refuge.
Queen & Slim is a multilayered film that transcends travel. A modern-day story of Bonnie and Clyde, this movie takes viewers on a thrilling ride through southern America during the Summer. Despite the plight that has befallen the lead characters, viewers still can see highlights of summertime in the US throughout the film even until the very end of the saga.
7. College Road Trip
In College Road Trip, comedian Martin Lawrence stars as Officer Porter whose high school daughter preparing to graduate and attend college in the Fall. Unfortunately, Porter is extremely overprotective and interrupts his daughter’s plans by taking her on his own, specially crafted college tour to Washington DC.
Although his daughter, played by Raven Simone, keeps her heart set on attending Georgetown throughout the film, that doesn’t stop him from taking her across the country on a road trip she’ll never forget. A wholesome, family travel movie, College Road Trip shows the good, the bad, and the ugly of traveling by car in the Summer heat.
8. Coming 2 America
The sequel to the Eddie Murphy 1988 classic Coming to America, this movie shines a light on the beauty of traveling during the Summer to Africa as the long-lost, American son of Prince Akeem of Zamunda travels there to meet his father. Beautiful safari scenery can be seen surrounding the African palace and much exotic wildlife is also found throughout the film. The voyage from Queens to Zamunda is a life-changing journey for the son and sets him on a trajectory toward royalty.
If you want to take a trip to Zamunda right from your living room, Coming 2 America is the perfect film to check out this Summer.
Life came at Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence fast in the 1999 comedy-drama Life. The film follows two New York City men who have gotten in trouble with a local gangster. To save their lives, the pair agrees to travel south to Mississippi to illegally transport bootleg liquor back up north. Unfortunately, misfortune befalls them, and the two land in prison for life.
Life tells the story of the two men traveling south and their journey through their prison sentences. During their commute to Mississippi, viewers catch some great glimpses of the southern United States during the Summer.
10. Soul Plane
If car rides aren’t quite your style, then Soul Plane may be the perfect Summer travel movie for you. Starring Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg, and Monique, Soul Plane follows the lives of multiple passengers having different experiences while traveling Nashawn Wade Airlines.
Check out Soul Plane if you’re tired of the traditional road travel films and take to the skies for a plane ride you’ll never forget.