Black Star, the UK’s biggest ever celebration of Black Screen actors



Chapter, Cardiff: Let Paul Robeson Sing!

Paul Robeson’s impact on Welsh life will be celebrated in Cardiff with a performance from a Welsh choir and vocalists at a screening ofThe Proud Valley, from newly remastered material, and a panel discussion on Robeson and how he is remembered today in the BAME communities of Wales. The event will be led by Chapter in partnership with Welsh National Opera and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

At a special event held at BFI Southbank in London with comedian Gina Yashere and DJ Norman Jay MBE, the BFI tonight unveiled BLACK STAR, the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors. BLACK STAR celebrates the relationship between stars and the audiences who love them, spotlighting great performances by black actors on screen.

Heather Stewart, Creative Director of the BFI said: “Imagine cinema history without Paul Robeson, Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier, Pam Grier, and Samuel L Jackson – some of the greatest actors to light up our screens with their charisma and talent. Now imagine how much richer our shared memory would be, had the opportunities available to black actors matched their abilities. With BLACK STAR we are celebrating great performances and bringing them back to the big screen for everyone to enjoy. And we are also asking searching questions, of our industry and of ourselves, driven by a passion to meet the expectations of audiences who rightly expect to see their stories and aspirations reflected on screen.”


BLACK STAR aims to bring strong characters and trail-blazing performances to the widest possible audience. The season will spotlight:

Boyz N the Hood (1991)

BLACK STAR will be available to audiences everywhere in the UK; in cinemas including BFI Southbank, on BBC Television, on DVD/Blu-ray and online via BFI Player from 17 October – 31 December, with further projects planned to celebrate the contribution of black practitioners working across film and TV in the coming years.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Highlights of BFI BLACK STAR include:

The release of two major films into cinemas across the UK (with a third to be announced soon):

– John Singleton’s game-changing, Oscar®-nominated BOYZ N THE HOOD (1991), starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long and Angela Bassett, will be re-released during the season in association with Park Circus and Sony Pictures

– Park Circus will re-release Norman Jewison’s multi Oscar®-winning IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967), starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger and Warren Oates



The BFI will re-release, in association with Park Circus and Sony Pictures, John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood (1991), depicting life in South Central LA, and starring Ice Cube in his first screen role alongside Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. Writer-director John Singleton was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, making him the youngest ever nominee for Best Director at just 24, and the first African-American to be nominated for the award. Also being re-released during the season will be the powerful thriller In The Heat of the Night (Norman Jewison, 1967) starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger as a homicide detective and a bigoted local sheriff who must work together to solve a murder investigation. The film will be re-released by Park Circus in selected cinemas across the UK.  A third major re-release will also be included in the project and will be announced in due course.


Following the great success of the global symposium in partnership with Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Women in Film & TV at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival (LFF), the Festival will once again host an agenda-setting Symposium, to drive forward industry debate about representation on the big screen. The Symposium will be attended by invited guests from across the UK’s film sector (including producers, directors, writers, commissioners, financiers, distributors and exhibitors), as well as visiting international filmmakers and industry professionals. It is intended to stimulate debate and support change, complementing the work of the BFI Film Fund’s Diversity Standards.

A United Kingdom (2016)

The LFF’s public programme will open with A United Kingdom (dir. Amma Asante) starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike (on general release in the UK from 25 November) and announced today as one of the Festival’s headline galas is Queen of Katwe (dir. Mira Nair) also starring David Oyelowo alongside Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.



Dreamgirls (2006)

Foxy Brown (1974)


The Bodyguard (1992)

Ali (2001)


The Nollywood Star – Nse Ikpe-Etim in Conversation – Nigerian screen queen Nse Ikpe-Etim reflects on her career and the Nollywood star system in conversation with Nadia Denton.

One of Nigeria’s most sought-after actresses, Nse is known for her roles in popular Nigerian films such as Mr. And Mrs., Phone Swap and Fifty. Her recent work includes Tess (Dir. Meg Rickards) based on the novel Whiplash (Tracey Farren) in which she plays a refugee who comes to South Africa after suffering horrific war-time in the Congo.

The Doctor’s Orders, Time Out’s ‘kings of the capital’s Hip Hop scene’ join BFI Southbank to present a range of club nights for adults, a Hip Hop pub quiz to celebrate the BFI’s re-release of Boyz N The Hood, and a special Sunday morning club event called Fun DMC, for kids and parents, to accompany BFI Family screenings. The Doctor’s Orders’ Spin Doctor will also create a special Hip Hop soundtracks mix in association with Mixcloud to celebrate the BLACK STAR season.

BLACK STAR programmer Ashley Clark will introduce a special screening of Spike Lee’s scathing satire of race and the mediaBamboozled (2000), and be present afterwards for a signing of his book Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (The Critical Press).


The BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) will deliver over 275 bespoke screenings and events in over 90 different locations right across the UK.

Working in tandem with October’s BASS Festival, the UK’s leading annual Black music festival, led by Birmingham-based Punch Records and the Birmingham city centre’s Electric Cinema, this series of screenings will offer a rare chance to see some landmarks from the 1970s boom in black exploitation cinema, all in glorious 35mm. Offering contextual introductions, live music and dressing-up, the programme will help to inject life into the city’s late-night film culture and bring a new cinematic dimension to an established arts festival.


BFI Player will present the work of some of film’s biggest black stars to audiences right across the UK. With a collection of over 50 titles, the BFI Player BLACK STAR collection will be divided into a number of themes including:


The BFI is proud to collaborate with BBC Arts in a major multi-channel editorial partnership across BBC radio and TV, including BLACK STAR Movie Night on BBC Two in November, films on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer, and a broadcast of a Paul Robeson documentary to celebrate this towering figure in US and UK film history in the 40th anniversary of his death.


BLACK STAR DVD and Blu-ray releases span brilliant thrillers, ground-breaking musicals, and more – and many previously unavailable in these formats.



The latest book in the BFI Compendium series, a fully illustrated 160-page BFI compendium published to accompany the season, will explore the theme of black stardom in film and TV. It features a range of new writing by contributors including film scholars and critics, as well as poets such as Claudia Rankine and novelists such as Kit De Waal. Available October 2016.

Malcolm X (1992)


An exciting and ambitious programme for all ages, including several collaborative events with our education delivery partner, Into Film. Highlights include:

BLACK STAR is a collaborative project developed over two years with expert advice from partners, organisations and figures in the UK and beyond. The BFI would like to thank the BLACK STAR Advisory Group for their ongoing consultancy in the creation of this project.

Our distinguished members include:

Karen Alexander (Curator, Writer and BLACK STAR Programme & Legacy Consultant), Samantha Asumadu (Media Diversified), Jan Asante (Curator, Black Cultural Archive), Marc Boothe (B3 Media), Dominic Buchanan (Bold Films), Topher Campbell  (Theatre & Filmmaker), Nadia Denton (Film Programmer & Writer), Pierre Godson-Amamoo (GRM Daily, Liberty Mount), Iyare Igiehon (S.O.U.L), Kunle Olulode  (Exhibitor and Film Historian, Voice4Change), Adah Parris (Marketing and Personal Branding Djembe Consulting), Dean Ricketts (The Watch-Men Agency), Chardine Taylor-Stone (Cultural Producer, Activist and Writer), Patrick Vernon OBE (Every Generation Media), Nelson Abbey (BBC Worldwide).  

Our valued partners include:

13th Gen; Academy Film Archive; African Odysseys; BBC Arts, BFI Film Academy; BFI Film Audience Network; BFI NET.WORK; Black Cultural Archives; California Newsreel; Chiz Schultz; Cineworld; CNC; Cohen Media Group; DCM; Entertainment Film Distributors; Entertainment One; Film Forum; Future Film; Gary Biller; George Eastman House; HBO; Hollywood Classics; ICO; Icon Film Distribution; INTO FILM; Jennie Livingston; Kino Lorber; Liberty Mount; Library of Congress; Lobster; Media Diversified; Milestone; Miramax; MOBO; MoMA; ODEON; Palgrave Macmillan; Paramount; Park Circus Films; Picturehouse Cinemas; Rene Chateau; Sankofa; Scala Productions Ltd; Slovenian Film Center; Sony Pictures; S.O.U.L – Screening Our Unseen Lives; Separate Cinema Archive; Spike Lee; STUDIOCANAL; Terry Jervis; TF1; The Doctor’s Orders, Twentieth Century Fox; Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment; UCL; UCLA Film and Television Archive; UNCSA; Universal UK; Universal USA; Verve; VUE; Walt Disney; Warner Bros.; Women Make Movies.

Press Contacts:

Emma Hewitt – Deputy Head of Press and PR, BFI / 020 7173 3256

Judy Wells – Head of Press and PR, BFI / 020 7957 8919

Liz Parkinson – Press Officer, BFI Cultural Programme / 020 7957 8918

About the BFI

The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter.

The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.