Now we can’t talk about iconic Black Cinema Month without including Cooley High. And this inimitable song, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” is from the soundtrack of Cooley High. In 1975, it was probably the saddest song many people had ever heard.  ⁠

The classic song was written by Motown husband-and-wife songwriting team Freddie Perren and Christine Yarian. In the film, the song is performed by Motown artist G.C. Cameron, whose rendition peaked at number 38 on the Billboard R&B singles chart that same year. Freddie Perren also composed the instrumental score for Cooley High, and the B-side to “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” features two of his score compositions from the film.⁠

The composition was recorded in an a cappella rendition by contemporary R&B Motown group Boyz II Men 16 years later. Released as a single, Boyz II Men’s recording of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number one on the Hot R&B Singles chart in December 1991. The track was included on Boyz II Men’s first album, Cooleyhighharmony, its name a reference to the film from which the song originated.⁠

The cast of this film IS ICONIC as well! Directed by Michael Schultz, the cast includes Glynn Turman, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Garrett Morris, and Cynthia Davis.⁠

Cooley High is one of those films that I believe accidentally revolutionized the black cinema at the time. It was one of the first movies that gave the perspective of the black intercity youth. The situation was realistic enough. The disparity and struggle against hopelessness pull at your heart as you watch on. The youthful adventure and slim chance of achieving hope was realistic enough for you to cheer on the characters. ⁠

Check out the other classic films that we’re celebrating for Black Cinema Month. You might rediscover an old favorite or discover something new!

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