Black people are making moves on camera, in production and now it just makes sense that we get a piece of the theater dollar, too. Next Act Cinema is the first Black owned movie theater in Baltimore. The 3,000 square foot theater opened its doors last month, instantly creating a new destination for DMV moviegoers. This is a really big deal.
Next Act Cinema offers 85 seats of luxury with cupholders and trays, full meals and snacks, which can be served to patrons in their seats (or to be consumed in the theater’s dining area). Customers even have the ability to order blankets, for their comfort. Red wine, domestic beer and artisanal popcorn are available, also. There is absolutely nothing lacking from this theater experience. The theater’s sound system is state-of-the-art, offering a true movie experience.
The theater’s location is significant. Baltimore Mayor Barry Mahool once said, “Blacks should be quarantined in isolated slums in order to reduce the incidents of civil disturbance, to prevent the spread of communicable disease into the nearby White neighborhoods, and to protect property values among the White majority.” In 1910 Mahool signed into law a racial zoning ordinance, a first in American city life. The impact of such actions still resonate today — recall the story of Freddie Gray and the unrest following.
Next Act Cinema is part of a much needed movement of Black entrepreneurs attempting to bring life to their city. As a former resident of Baltimore, I’m personally excited to see it. We have the power to rebuild our communities, create jobs for ourselves and empower our young people, simply through our purchasing. Next Act Cinema presents an amazing opportunity to do so.