17 Black Cult Classic Movies That’ll Remind You Why the ‘90s Were Amazing

Come reminisce with us.

By: Michael Arceneaux

Now that we talked about Black films of the 1980s, it is time to delve into arguably the most influential decade in Black Hollywood—the ‘90s. You can’t see me, but I am putting on armor and blessing myself with holy oil (okay, coconut oil) in order to prepare myself for the potential slaughter. The debates over these films have gotten pretty heated in the Black Twitter universe, so I’m expecting to hear from some of you after this.

Seriously, for those of you (you know who you are) that might be lost on why these movies register an insane level of zeal from fans you must understand some very important points. This was a sacred time for Black people. Our influence on pop culture in the ‘90s was monumental. Many of the Black superstars of today got their big breaks during this decade. Many of the films on this list influence the slang, memes, gifs and opinions of the ‘90s babies that live on Black Twitter. If someone tells you otherwise, you tell ‘em “Bye, Felicia.”

Having this understanding will give you some clarity as to why fans of these films will look at you crazy if you voice an unpopular opinion. Even worse, don’t be the person in the room who hasn’t seen a majority of these movies. Now let’s jump into all this amazing nostalgia from the ’90s.

  • 1 Boomerang (1992)
    Paramount Pictures
    Fuccbois everywhere could still learn a thing or two from watching Eddie Murphy’s O.G. player tactics in this hilarious romantic comedy.

  • 2 Friday (1995)
    New Line Cinema
    First, we miss Chris Tucker as he was in this movie. Second, no film from this decade has given us more culturally relevant catchphrases and useful material for Twitter. “Bye, Felicia,” “You got knocked the f— out,” “Puff puff, give” the list goes on.

  • 3 Love Jones (1997)
    New Line Cinema
    If you haven’t gotten your Netflix and chill on to this film yet, then you’re not doing it right. The chemistry and drama between Larenz Tate and Nia Long is all of us at some point in life.

  • 4 New Jack City (1991)
    Warner Bros.
    Every rapper and trapper professing to be the mightiest of drug lords owes a tip of the cap to anti-hero that is Nino Brown. The brash drug kingpin played by Wesley Snipes became the blueprint for many hip-hop personas throughout the decade and beyond.

  • 5 The Five Heartbeats (1991)
    Twentieth Century Fox
    The rise and fall of this R&B group is still a cautionary tale we get emotional over. Now every time we see a music star battling addiction we wonder if we’ve got an IRL Eddie Kane on our hands.

  • 6 Boyz n the Hood (1991)
    Columbia Records
    This coming of age masterpiece opened our eyes to gang culture in Los Angeles in a way that Hollywood had never shown us. The fruits of this film’s success opened the door for more movies like it and inspired future LA-bred storytellers like Kendrick Lamar.

  • 7 The Best Man (1999)
    Universal Pictures
    All the things that made this film a success—secret hookups, shady friends and a messy tell-all—are all relevant topics that would have Black Twitter lit on any given day.

  • 8 Menace II Society (1993)
    New Line Cinema
    If Boyz n the Hood was us opening the door to take a peek into L.A.’s gang life, then Menace kicked the door in and made us watch a more jarring side of it. The consequences of being a gangbanger had way more jolting outcomes here.

  • 9 What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)
    Touchstone Pictures
    There will never be another human who will slay a Tina Turner role like Angela Bassett. Period. And because Jay Z and Beyoncé are still making references to this film we’re pretty confident you get why it’s on the list.

  • 10 Set It Off (1996)
    New Line Cinema
    Before this film it was rare that we had an opportunity to root of the Black woman playing the villain. Thankfully, the legacy of these shereos with complex relatable issues lives on in Cookie Lyon and Olivia Pope today.

  • 11 Juice (1992)
    Paramount Pictures
    So Tupac Shakur ended up becoming a little like Bishop, the ruthless hothead character he played in this film. Then after Pac’s death, pretty much every rapper wanted to be Pac. Talk about life imitating art.

  • 12 Dead Presidents (1995)
    Buena Vista Pictures
    If there is one thing we must thank Hollywood for it’s giving us all this Larenz Tate in the ‘90s. His character here was a very appealing mix of O-Dog (Menace II Society) meets Darius (Love Jones).

  • 13 Poetic Justice (1993)
    Columbia Pictures
    Janet Jackson’s braids, Tupac working as a postal worker and the way Regina King’s ratchet ass holding a 40 ounce is everything that makes this film a forever classic. Shout out the folks still showing up to Black family reunions to get food while not being related to a single person on the premises.

  • 14 Waiting to Exhale (1995)
    Twentieth Century Fox
    If this film came out in 2016 we’re certain it would fit right under the appropriate hashtag, #BlackGirlMagic.

  • 15 The Player’s Club (1998)
    New Line Cinema
    This film gave strippers everywhere hope that life post the pole can be splendid too. We see you Blac Chyna. We see you Amber Rose.

  • 16 House Party (1990)
    New Line Cinema
    House Party is a ’90s staple for very good reason. From the fashion to the music, but namely the dance scene with Tisha Campbell and A.J. Johnson.

  • 17 Soul Food (1997)
    FOX 2000 Pictures
    We have our concerns about the unhealthy consumption of food in this movie. Like, how does grandma lose a leg to diabetes and y’all continue to make the same sh-t that took her out the game? Still, the family drama in this film was all of our lives at some point.