oprah forrest the butler*There are legions of film critics who claim that Hollywood still caters to white folk.

Well, we have shocking news for you … that notion is 100 percent–right! Despite the supposed shift in social consciousness taking root in America, black actors have a better chance of doing the tootsie roll with Jesus than being offered a leading roll in a major motion picture (especially not alongside a white supporting cast–that’s blasphemy in the western world).

However, in the past year, an increasing number of “urban” biopics–over a half dozen–have provided audiences with the African-American experience. They include the new film “12 years a Slave,” Lee Daniel’s “The Butler,” 42: “The Jackie Robinson Story, “Fruitvale Station,” and others.

That’s progress, right? It might be a tad hasty to call this onslaught of black entertainment a renaissance. But it’s the start of something, says Gil Robertson, co-founder of the African-American Film Critics Association.

“Certainly 2013 has been a banner year with regards to the number of films that feature African-American themes,” Robertson explained during an interview with CNN. “Those films all really arrive at the threshold in terms of the quality that will seriously put them in the running for Oscar consideration.”

Not only do the movies portray the African-American experience, but they’re also created from the ground up by today’s most prominent black filmmakers and actors. Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker, who played the lead role in “The Butler,” says the trend in Hollywood allows for a more diverse storytelling.

“There are so many projects where people are being able to have their voices heard,” Whitaker said. “I think that’s hopefully going to continue to expand in the African-American community … and all the voices can be heard in the tapestry of who we are as people.”

Hollywood has not seen such an emphasis on African-American story lines since the 1980s and ’90s, with Spike Lee and John Singleton’s street dramas like “Do the Right Thing” and “Boyz n the Hood.”

Let’s hope this resurgence of black cinema stands the test of time (or at the very least, continues through 2014).

Reade the rest of this story at CNN.

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