15 Black and Latina Women Who Need Biopics ASAP

Female Biopics

It doesn’t seem like Hollywood is ever going take the idea of creating more female biopics seriously–unless it’s Cleopatra for the 15th time, played by a woman with alabaster skin (shade). However, there are so many diverse and dynamic women who have impacted pop culture and society in major ways hiding in plain site. They need proper commemoration, damnit!  So, here’s our list of awesome women who should have biopics, just in time to end Women’s History Month with a big fat salute!

Grace Jones

GraceJones

The Jamaican singer, actress and model broke down barriers in what was considered beautiful by being fierce and fearless. Her signature androgynous style is credited with influencing the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s. She has also inspired some of today’s pop divas from Rihanna to Patra to  Lady Gaga. At 65, she’s still fine, with a thriving music career where she gives high energy performances of hits like “Pull up to the Bumper,” “My Jamaican Guy,” “Night Clubbin” and more at venues around the world.

I’m just putting this out there but…I’d love to see Lupita Nyong’o SLAY this role. Yes, please.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

She is the godmother of freedom. Without our beloved Araminta, the Underground Railroad probably wouldn’t have been a success and I hope I don’t really have to explain why this dynamic woman deserves a movie. This one is loooooong overdue.

Susana Baca
SusanaBaca

This Afro-Peruvian singer-songwriter is a two time Latin Grammy Award winner who has been largely credited with the revival of Afro-Peruvian music. She is also an activist at heart. In 2011, she was named Peru’s Minister of Culture in the Ollanta Humala government, making her the second Afro-Peruvian minister in the history of the country’s independence. She was also elected for the OAS (Organization of American States) to be the President of the Commission of Culture that same year.  And her music is beautiful. Get into it.

Queen Latifah
QueenLatifah

Miss U.N.I.T.Y. went from a Jersey girl with humble beginnings to one of Hip-Hop’s biggest stars to one of the world’s biggest stars as a rapper, actress and business woman. Seriously, she should make this biopic herself, especially since she already has an autobiography and a wildly successful production company! She has been a majorly influential force of inspiration for brown girls and girls who don’t fit the rigid ideals of standard beauty everywhere.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Sirleaf

The United States still hasn’t had a female president but meanwhile, other countries have been there done that. Enter the Nobel Peace Prize-winning President Sirleaf of Liberia. She is the first elected female head of state in Africa. Um…do you know how big the continent of Africa is? Africa can fit the US, India, China and several European countries inside of it. Yeah, kind of a big deal.

Diana Ross
dianaross

This one is also a no-brainer, yet it’s still not here. In related news, I’d love to see Tracee Ellis Ross tackle this one.

Katherine Dunham
KatherineDunham

I’m going to geek out a little here as a former dancer who came up on the NYC Black dancing school circuit. Dunham is one of the the G.O.A.T.’s when it comes to the dance world–Black, White, yellow, period. She was a dancer, choreographer, author, educator and social activist who has had one of the most successful dance careers in history. She peaked in the 1940s and 50s and was critically acclaimed throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States. She maintained the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, the only self-supported African-American dance troupe at one point in the U.S., for over 30 years, and is an innovator in Black modern dance, as well as a leader in dance anthropology. She is known as the matriarch of Black dance for her unique technique (Dunham Technique) which combined many of the Afro-Caribbean influences she picked up during her travels to Caribbean countries like Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago.

Dunham Technique is still taught at dance schools around the country (namely Alvin Ailey), and it is no joke! It’s nice to look at but not easy, and if you can do it well you are the King of the World. So yeah, Miss Dunham needs a movie like, now.

Lauryn Hill
laurynhill

The now reclusive, but forever talented Lauryn Hill is one of hip-hop’s most peculiar but influential talents. She’s not the same Lauryn Hill we fell in love with back in the Fugees and Miseducation days but we can’t stop talking about her, speculating about her and hoping that we get some new music (I’m off that bandwagon but some of you still believe). Plus, there’s plenty of drama in her life (*coughs Wyclef, Rohan) that would probably do well on the big screen.

Condoleezza Rice
Rice

She may not be a fan favorite based on her affiliation but there’s no denying that she is a phenomenal woman with accomplishments that are still difficult for many women to achieve. She became the first female African-American secretary of state, as well as the second African-American secretary of state period, for the W. administration.
A dynamic woman in politics affiliated with a controversial presidency means there were probably lots of highs and lows that make for a great story.

Rita Moreno
Moreno
The Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer overcame Hollywood’s blatant discrimination to have a successful career in entertainment. One of her most iconic roles was that of Anita in the 1961 film adaptation of Westside Story. This is another should be no-brainer that is long overdue. Hopefully it’s in the works and we just don’t know it yet.

Honorable Mentions:

Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt

Our Lady Cat Woman, Queen Mother of Badassery gets an honorable mention because word on the street is, Zoe Saldana has been tapped to play her in a movie. The movie would be nice, just not starring Zoe Saldana. No shade to Miss Saldana but…I’m skeptical about this because I’m not sure that she can be dynamic enough. Then again, she might surprise us. Either way be on the look out.

Pam Grier
pam grier

Pam Grier is the Queen of badass women in action films on screen. She’s not the first woman to star in Blaxploitation era films but she’s the one who got noticed, and is still relevant today. Without Pam Grier there would be no Lara Crofts or Colombianas or Alice (from Resident Evil). Grier’s biopic is in the works, and the script is complete.

La Lupe
lalupe
This Cuban diva who sang boleros, guarachas and Latin Soul is said to have a biopic in the works starring Lauren Velez.

Celia Cruz

Celia
There’s a film script in the works in commemoration of this salsa legend’s life. We can’t wait.

Oprah
oprah winfrey

We know her story but it would be nice to see it in motion. She could make it herself if she really wanted to so maybe we’ll just be waiting until next neveruary Hopefully not.

What woman would you like to see get a biopic? Hopefully we’ve inspired some independent filmmakers out there to get some crowd funding going to make this happen! Do-it-yourself never hurt anyone.

About the author

Starrene Rhett Rocque is co-founder of The Hollywood Shuffle. She's an experienced entertainment journalist based in Brooklyn, New York.