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Black slave movies are proven winners in Hollywood

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Last year, Django Unchained, a film based on the fictional character of a run-away slave in the mid 1800's, was one of five films nominated for Best Picture in the 2013 Academy Awards. It was a monumental achievement for director Quentin Tarantino who garnered his second Oscar win for Best Writing, Original Screenplay.

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For Hollywood, bringing life to the historical saga of African slavery has always been a profitable venture for both the actors and the film studios. Roots, an eight-part television series that aired in 1977, was a documented journey of American author Alex Haley's search for his African heritage.

The series aired on ABC-TV and received unprecedented Nielsen ratings which still holds a record as the third highest-rated US television program. It won Golden Globe Awards for Best TV Series-Drama and a Best TV Actress-Drama for Leslie Uggams, in addition to 9 Primetime Emmy Awards and 37 Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

Since the airing of Roots, the movie industry continues to delve into the slavery experience, attracting the best cinema story tellers in the industry, like Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

From the above list, some have participated in the production of at least two slave films; Chiwetel Ejiofor performed in Amistad and 12 Years A Slave; Morgan Freeman performed in Glory and Amistad; and Steven Spielberg directed both Amistad and Lincoln.

The following list of movies are the most popular African slave movies to date and featured in the attached slide-show:

Glory (1989)
Amistad (1997)
Beloved (1998)
Lincoln (2012)
Django Unchained (2012)
12 Years A Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave, a historical film of a free African American man in the 19th century who is kidnapped and forced into slavery, received top honors at the Golden Globe Awards this past weekend, winning the award for Best Motion Picture, Drama.

Directed by British filmmaker Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave has already topped the nominations list for the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, scheduled to air live on January 18. The SAG nominations are one of Hollywood's first major announcements on the long road to the March 2nd Oscars.

During an interview with The Voice, film director McQueen believes that the slave story is an important part of our history. "We (black people) have to recognize our past in the same way that other ethnics group like the Jewish community has," expresses McQueen.

"They believe in the saying 'never forget' when it comes to the Holocaust, and I think we should be the same when it comes to slavery. It's important."


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