10 Black Women’s Book-to-Film Adaptations*

Maya Angelou, Alice Walker and Gloria Naylor were early trailblazers for cinematic adaptations of Negress stories. Adaptations of their autobiography, novel and stories catapulted their work and names to national prominence their Harlem Renaissance and Black Power Movement predecessors were unable to enjoy in their lifetimes. Since then, we have seen a steady stream of Black female novelists, screenwriters and writer/directors who give women of my generation and younger so much more than our elders had to look forward to on-screen.

These titles are among my favorite books, and some are also among my favorite films. It is my hope you discover some books and films to enjoy for excellent storytelling, deep characters and legendary writers.
Women of Brewster Place
Watch PRECIOUS, adaptation of PUSH
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (book 1969/tv miniseres 1979)
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (book 1982/film 1985)
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor (book 1982/film 1989)
Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan (book 1992/film 1995)
Beloved by Toni Morrison (book 1987/film 1998)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (book 1937/tv miniseries 2005)
PUSH by Sapphire (book 1996/film titled Precious, 2009)
Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice (book 2008/film title Sins of the Mother, 2010 )
for colored girls by Ntosake Shange (book 1975/film 2010)
Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson (book 2001/tv miniseries 2012)
Addicted by Zane (book 1999/film 2014)

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3 thoughts on “10 Black Women’s Book-to-Film Adaptations*

    1. Thanks for reading! Yes, Carleen’s book and movie as well as Miracle’s Boys are lesser known because they appeared on television. Not the big screen. I have also revised the post to correct a major, major boo boo: the omission of Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place, also a television miniseries but a very successful and oft-repeated one. Blessings, Kalisha


      1. Ah I LOVE The Women of Brewster Place! Great addition…the book and t.v. series are classics.

        I also really liked Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor. Would love to see that adapted for film, but I wonder if some of the subtleties (and weird stuff like the necrophilia) would get left out?


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