A NIGHT AT THE DRIVE IN: Black-Owned Edition

photo courtesy of Space City Shows



Movies In Noire


Siree and Ayana Morris, the founders of the Newark Moonlight Cinema, and kids. Courtesy of Newark Moonlight Cinema

 It is officially fall in the United States, however due to COVID-19, so many of our fall activities have to be changed  or all out canceled. Entire industries are suffering, pivoting, and facing the idea of a completely changed future. 

But there is always a bright side, and some industries are being revitalized due to the pandemic. The new successes are often niche businesses that offer something providing a healthy alternative to activities that are now unsafe. One of those niche industries is drive in theaters.


With the large companies like AMC and Regal unable to have full capacity indoor screenings, and consumers rightly being afraid of catching a deadly disease, many people have been flocking to the nostalgic idea of sitting in a car with loved ones or friends and enjoying a movie!

Drive In theaters are often small and family owned, and recently more of them are Black-owned! Ayana and Siree Morris recently opened Newark Moonlight Theaters in Newark, New Jersey in August. Ayana, a filmmaker, was inspired to begin this endeavor when one of her films was showcased at an outdoor film festival screening.

In an article with NJ.com, Siree noted, “We think that now is a time when Black business, Black entrepreneurship, Black imagery is on the forefront.” Newark Moonlight Cinema can hold 350 cars per screening, and each movie is a showcase of Black entertainers and filmmakers. Find more info and tickets at their website: www.newarkmoonlight.com.


Khairi Sharif, owner of Space City Shows, courtesy of blackbusiness.com

Newark is not the only city with a newly Black-owned movie theater… Texan movie goers can also enjoy a night at the newly opened Space City Shows, a drive in theater in Houston, Texas, owned and operated by Khairi Sharif.

Opening on September 4th, 2020, Khairi was inspired by his own personal love of moviegoing. “I enjoy going to the movies, whether it’s to see a new movie or even an old movie,” Sharif said in a feature with the Houston Chronicle. “You know, the blue ICEE, some nachos, some candy. I wasn’t able to do that with coronavirus going on. So my mind got to wandering, and I thought of [starting] a drive-in movie theater.” The theater grounds feature a live DJ set pre-showtime, food trucks and more! Find more info and get tickets here: https://www.spacecityshows.com/

The movie going experience is one of the leisure activities hit hard by the pandemic, more and more are popping up around the country and I hope Black entrepreneurs will continue to throw their hats in the ring. Comment what movie you would like to see in a Black owned drive in!

You can’t be what you can’t see.- Marian Wright-Edelman