With much anticipation, Alice Walker’s powerful 1982 novel The Color Purple will be receiving yet another revival on film following Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated 1985 film of the same name. This time adapted from the 2005 Broadway iteration, 2023’s The Color Purple is sure to be filled with tons of great musical moments.
That’s not even considering the star-studded soundtrack, which was recently revealed to include musicians like Mary J. Blige, Megan Thee Stallion, Jennifer Hudson, Coco Jones, Mary Mary, Missy Elliott, lead star Fantasia Barrino and a handful of others. Alicia Keys provides the lead single with a new track titled “Lifeline.”
As we prepare to jam along in our seats when The Color Purple officially hits theaters on Christmas Day, the soundtrack preview got us thinking about Black cinematic history and the music that oftentimes helped make the movies. Who could imagine The Bodyguard, movie or soundtrack alike, without Whitney Houston’s dual prowess as both a talented actress and even more phenomenal vocalist? Where would EGOT-winning Jennifer Hudson be without her career-defining role and performance on the soundtrack of Dreamgirls? We look at both of those film soundtracks and a collection of others that truly made movie magic through the gift of song.
We rounded up 15 soundtracks from classic Black films that are masterpieces in their own right, in some instances even outshining the movie itself — music from The Wiz and Super Fly for example superseded the movie’s success by tenfold! Ranging from the blaxploitation era of the ’70s to the peak golden era of the ’90s, take a look below and see if we hit the right note with these selections.
Keep scrolling for our list of the 15 Black film soundtracks that we believe are as good as the film it originally came from, and feel free as always to sound off with your own suggestions:
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