Movies that will inspire you to travel the world – the black list

Yesterday a study abroad group tweeted an article from the Business Insider, 30 Movies that will inspire you to travel the world

I responded to the tweet by saying, “Love many of the movies listed (think “Wild” and “Slumdog Millionaire”) but didn’t see a single black traveler. We need to add to our idea of who travels.” They responded by asking me what movies I would add to the list.

I was stumped. I’m no movie buff, so it’s not surprising that I couldn’t come up with a long list, but I couldn’t think of a single title. Perplexed, I posted the question on my personal Facebook page and the black adventuristas and iluv2globetrot group pages.

The responses came in like lightning. Some people were as stumped as I was, while others offered a list of movie titles – some fitting the criteria and others, well, not so much.

So here I give to you 10 movies with black main characters that will inspire you to travel the world. Summaries come from IMDb.

1. stella“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”
Duh, of course I should have thought of this one.
“Stella is a highly successful, forty-something San Francisco stock broker who is persuaded by her colorful New York girlfriend Delilah to take a well deserved, first-class vacation to Jamaica. As she soaks in the beauty of the island, she encounters a strapping, young islander, Winston Shakespeare. His pursuits for her turn into a hot and steamy romance that forces Stella to take personal inventory of her life and try to find a balance between her desire for love and companionship, and the responsibilities of mother and corporate executive.”

2. intouchables“The Intouchables”
A beautiful movie set in Paris.
“After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver.”

3. karate“The Karate Kid”
We’re talking the 2010 version with Jaden Smith
“Work causes a single mother to move to China with her young son; in his new home, the boy embraces kung fu, taught to him by a master.”

4. mahogany“Mahogany”
Tracy, an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world’s top designers. Her ambition leads her to Rome spurring a choice between the man she loves or her newfound success.

5. last holiday“Last Holiday”
“Upon learning of a terminal illness, a shy woman (Queen Latifah) decides to sell off all her possessions and live it up at a posh European hotel.”


Did you know that Books&Wanderlust is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships for books and study abroad programs for minority and low-income students? We are raising $8,000 to help send Brenton on the Miami University London Theatre study abroad program. Read our previous post to learn more about Brenton and his dreams. Help us add to the face of who travels. Perhaps Brenton will one day star in a black male version of “Into the Wild”. Please donate to help this young man study in London. Every bit helps and all donations are tax-deductible. Brenton

6. get on the bus“Get on the Bus”
“A disparate group of African-American men travel by bus to Washington, DC for the Million Man March.”

7. miracle“Miracle at St. Anna”
“Set in 1944 Italy, the story of four black American soldiers who get trapped in a Tuscan village during WWII.”


8. “The Inkwell”
the inkwell“In 1976, Drew Tate is a young teenager who has trouble dealing with life after he accidentally sets his house on fire. His parents Kenny and Brenda decide to go to Martha’s Vineyard to spend Fourth of July weekend with Brenda’s sister Francis, Francis’ black Republican husband Spencer and their son Junior. While there Drew falls for a self centered girl named Lauren and befriends a married lady named Heather. While on their vacation, Drew deals with his parents attempts to save their marriage as well as with his own troubles. Eventually all of this leads to a life changing event for Drew as well as his parents.”

9. white nights“White Nights”
“An expatriate Russian dancer is on a plane forced to land on Soviet territory. He is taken to an apartment in which a black American who has married a Russian woman lives with her. He is to become a dancer for the Bolshoi again, but he wishes to escape, but can he trust the American?”

10. “The Bucket List”
“Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.” bucket list

In addition, here are the other movies that people mentioned. I have not seen many of them so I cannot say if they are inspirational. And some titles I believe were added jokingly, but I’ve included them.

“Shaft in Africa”, “Zulu”, “Love and Basketball”, “Red Tails”, “Why Did I Get Married Two”, “Paris Blues”, “The Nephew”, “Are we There Yet 2”, “College Road Trip”, “Johnson Family Vacation”, Rush Hour 2 and 3″, “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol”, “Die Another Day”, the “Fast and Furious” movies that were shot outside of the States, “The Golden Child”, “Grand Canyon”, “Away We Go” and “Coming to America”.

The saddest response I received touched on the general lack of movies available that portray blacks in normal human situations instead of as sidekicks or as comedic relief. “A black version of “Eat Pray Love” or the one where the girl moved to Italy and buys a house (“Under the Tuscan Sun”). We just aren’t portrayed that way in movies.” Also, “The Bucket List” stirred up some controversy on my post. Is Morgan Freeman’s character equal to Jack Nicholson or was he just another version of the black sidekick? What everyone could agree on is that there is a need for more travel movies featuring black characters. It’s time to show the world that we too can live under the Tuscan sun.

What movies would you add to the list?

And please, if you know how enriching travel is, don’t forget to donate to help Brenton!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *