If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that representation matters. Our society continues to work towards a more just system where people of color can feel safe and welcomed in any and every scenario. This has bled over to the entertainment industry, with more films showing representation across all backgrounds, ethnicities, and people.
As many across the country celebrate Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday, we here at Go.Verizon.com take a closer look at some of the most searched films with a strong black lead in every state, not only the 10 states in which Verizon internet service is available. Black Panther, The Hate U Give, and Moonlight are just some of the recent popular films that have gotten people curious about the black experience.
- Wakanda forever — Black Panther was by far the most searched movie with a black lead, with 17 states looking for a way into Wakanda. After his unexpected death, people sought out Chadwick Boseman’s work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in an additional two states.
- Searching the Sunken Place — 12 states searched the most for the acclaimed horror film Get Out. The award-winning film took a closer look at the racially motivated anxiety black people feel in a predominantly white society.
- An excellent book adaptation — The Hate U Give was a best-selling book before it became an award-winning film. No wonder seven states had this movie in their crosshairs, especially after the killing of George Floyd in 2020. Though released in 2018, this movie was timely in 2020, tackling racism and police brutality during a time of civil unrest.
- Black animation celebration — The only two animated films on this list are also award-winning films in their own right. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Soul both garnered high search volume in two states each, featuring black leads Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) and Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), respectively.
- Don’t sleep on Moonlight — While only Rhode Island searched in the most, Moonlight (2016) is still regarded as one of the best films of the decade, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2017,wat even if the award show botched the announcement. It also sits with the highest Metascore across all the listed films with a 99 out of 100.
We looked at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to find the most popular movies with a black lead released in the past five years. When choosing movies, we looked at feature films released between January 1, 2015, through today. We only looked at movies with a user rating between 7 and 10 and a rating count of at least 10,000 in the United States (Sorted by Popularity Ascending).
After we got all the films that met our criteria, we sorted them by the Metascore (a weighted average of many reviews coming from reputable critics; the Metacritic team reads the reviews and assigns each a 0–100 score, which is then given a weight, mainly based on the review’s quality and source) to get our top 9 films. We then used Google Trends to determine which states searched the films most over the past 12 months.