The Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) is pleased to announce the launch of its Community Drive-In Cinema Saturday, on July 11, at The Shrine of the Black Madonna, with the screening of Claudine, a heart and soul comedy starring James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll.

Culminating two months of planning and negotiations with film studios led by HMAAC Film Curator Jasmine Jones, the Community Drive-in is one of the ways the museum is responding to the COVID-19 environment that is preventing HMAAC’s Film Series from being hosted inside the museum.

The Film Series at HMAAC is not just an evening at the movies. It’s a communal cinematic experience that lifts up and transports audiences to every corner of the African Diaspora. According to Jones, “We have such a dedicated film audience at HMAAC, and we knew we had to find a way to continue to serve that audience.”

Recognizing that there are no minority owned theaters in Houston, and limited cultural entertainment options in the low-income communities the museum serves, HMAAC is partnering with the Shrine of the Black Madonna and church venues in low-income neighborhoods of the city to host Saturday night film screenings. Tickets will be limited to 100 cars and sold via Eventbrite at $10 per car.

John Guess, HMAAC CEO Emeritus added, “With the surge in COVID here in Houston, we were looking for ways to continue to expand our community footprint and allow families to have some fun entertainment, and the Shrine is an absolutely wonderful partnering venue.”

HMAAC, “a museum in a building and in the community,” has an extensive history of adding cultural value in low-income neighborhoods including creating message murals on the Johnson Funeral Home in the Third Ward and the Lewis Medical Professional Building in Sunnyside.  The museum has created a message mural inside Wheatley High School in the Fifth Ward. It also partners with Prairie View A&M University Northwest Houston campus to provide a community gallery for museum exhibitions and gives financial support in partnering with other cultural assets of color to provide cultural options in underserved communities.

After the July 11 opening, the museum will continue to provide drive-in movies beginning in August.  Movies will include THE HATE U GIVE, CARMEN JONES, and sing-along/quote-along screening of THE FIVE HEARTBEATS.