We all know the story of growing pains and girlhood drama all too well. This coming-of-age Black girlhood story is relatable and bound to bring back waves of nostalgia. Filmmaker Stefani Saintonge’s short film Seventh Grade, which won the inaugural Essence Black Women in Hollywood Short Film Contest, is a story that reflects the power of friendship while trying to get through middle school.
Between obsessing over 90s hip-hop culture, trying to get through senior year of high school and getting into tons of trouble (sometimes gang related), Dope is the hilarious coming-of-age story that will make you laugh, think and reminisce about your years as a teen trying to figure it out.
Troy (Zelda Harris) was a sassy, nine-year-old who had quite a bit to say in this Spike Lee joint. We loved watching her story unfold and still cry when she loses her mom Carolyn (Alfre Woodard).
Cooley High is THE quintessential high school movie. This coming-of-age story about the escapades of high school seniors Cochise, Preach, Pooter and their crew resonates with everyone. And who can forget ‘It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday?’
Monica (Sanna Lathan) and Quincy’s (Omar Epps) bond over basketball, their love for each other and the realness of their rough patch is why we can’t ever skip this one when it comes on.
Friendship, loyalty, trust and betrayal were the lesson’s learned in 1994’s Juice. Tupac showed his acting chops and we saw a young Omar Epps in one of his first major movie roles.
John Singleton deliveres one of many classics with the tale of young Black men growing up in South Central Los Angeles, California. Ricky (Morris Chestnut), Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Ice Cube lead the heartbreaking story that offers a glimpse into a world where people “don’t know, don’t show or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.”
We can all relate to the extreme akwardness that new environments, new people and new crushes can bring. The Wood captures teenage angst pefectly and we just love that these brothers’ friendship stood the test of time.
X (Bow Wow) just wants to hang out with his friends and skate in this coming-of-age comedy based in the 70s. When his manhood and skating skills are challenged he doesn’t fail to step up to the plate.
If you were a kid growing up in the early 2000’s ATL is the story of your life. Rashad (T.I.) leads the diverse characters, all looking for something different, as they grow up, learn lessons and flourish in the end.
Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) is the newly appointed head coach of a football team at desegragated T.C. Williams High School. The story of tense race relations, tragedy and triumph make it a definite favorite.
Kid n Play, Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell and A.J. Johnson join forces for one of the most memorable films of the 90s. House Party captures the essence of the era and what it means to be true to yourself and keep it real.
A young Larenz Tate plays Drew Tate, a shy 16-year-old from upstate. In one troublesome summer he blossoms while visiting his family in Martha’s Vineyard. Jada Pinkett Smith, Morris Chestnut, Duane Martin and Vanessa Bell Calloway round out the classic cast.