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Black History Month: 25 Impactful And Uplifting Movies About Black People

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Black excellence in filmmaking should be celebrated every month. However, Black History Month – which comes around every February, is a time to celebrate the achievements and diverse stories of Black Americans, reflect on the past and work toward a future free of oppression and systemic racism.

With films honoring the legacies of Black leaders and trailblazers, and others depicting beautiful love stories, these binge-worthy flicks are sure to inspire, educate and entertain. From dramatic fare to modern day horrors, Black History Month provides a good occasion to either reacquaint yourself with some of these treasures of Black cinema or discover them for the first time.




So here’s a List of Impactful and Uplifting Movies to watch (and where to stream) in order to explore the triumphs and challenges of the Black experience during the Black History Month.

Da 5 Bloods

Spike Lee’s latest  war adventure drama starring Delroy Lindo in a critically lauded performance, sees four Black vets journey back to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide, facing antagonism from soldiers and nature upon their return. (Streaming on Netflix)

Moonlight

moonlight

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, the film was written and directed by Barry Jenkins, the film presents three stages in the life of the main character: his childhood, adolescence, and early adult life. It explores the difficulties he faces with his sexuality and identity, including the physical and emotional abuse he endures growing up. (Streaming on Netflix)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

In what would be his final role Chadwick Boseman stars opposite Viola Davis in a film that depicts the rising tensions and temperatures at a Chicago music studio in 1927 when blues singer Ma Rainey joins her band for a recording session. (Streaming on Netflix)




The 40-Year-Old Version

Writer-director-star Radha Blank is a down-on-her luck playwright who reinvents herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, alternating between the worlds of hip hop and theater to find her true voice as she approaches turning 40. (Streaming on Netflix)

Related to Black History Month: The 40-Year-Old Version Review: An Incredibly Funny Stylish Comedy

I Am Not Your Negro

Based on the iconic novelist James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. The film, directed by Raoul Peck and narrated by Samuel J. Jackson, takes viewers through a powerful exploration of what it has meant to be Black in America. (Streaming on Netflix)

One Night in Miami

Adapted from Kemp Powers’ play, Regina King’s directorial debut speculates that Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown got together to celebrate Cassius Clay’s heavyweight champion win, becoming an evening of oscillating debate on their place in the civil rights movement. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)




Selah and The Spades

Selah Summers power-trips her way through senior year at the prestigious Haldwell boarding school as a leader of the students’ most powerful faction (the Spades), all the while preparing her next heir and steadying their drug-selling operation without losing grip. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)

Small Axe

Black History Month

Set from the late ’60s to the ’80s, Steve McQueen’s passionate film anthology series features five unique stories that depict how unjust political systems were for the West Indian community living in London. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)

Coming to America

The classic rom-com centers on the wealthy African prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) who flees to the United States to escape an arranged marriage in search of a wife who will love him despite his grand title. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)




Sylvie’s Love

Set in an aesthetically enchanting ’60s New York City, it follows Sylvie and Robert, who have a chance to reconnect after a summer romance five years ago. Both work in music, and the film’s soundtrack, featuring Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and more, helps transport you to this glowing place. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)

If Beale Street Could Talk

Based on the novel by James Baldwin set in early ‘70s New York City, Tish and Fonny are lifelong friends turned lovers whose future is derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. (Streaming on Hulu)

United States v. Billie Holiday

Directed by Lee Daniels, this story follows one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Billie Holiday (starring singer Andra Day). The film chronicles Holiday’s career while she is being targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics. Her controversial and powerful ballad, “Strange Fruit” put Holiday on the FBI’s radar because the song compared the bodies of Black men lynched in the American South to fruit hanging from trees. (Releasing on Hulu on Feb. 25)




Girl’s Trip

Laugh out loud with Tiffany Haddish in her breakout role alongside Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith as they play four best friends reuniting at Essence Festival, resulting in endless debauchery and remembering their true selves. (Streaming on Hulu)

Sorry to Bother You

In a wildly imaginative alternate future version of Oakland, Cassius (Lakeith Stanfield) is a telemarketer who uses his “white voice” to propel his way up the corporate ladder, abandoning his values in the process. (Streaming on Hulu)




BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee-directed “BlacKkKlansman” follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first Black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who aims to make a name for himself by infiltrating and exposing the Ku Klux Klan. (Streaming on Hulu)

Judas and the Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah - Still 1

Related Read to Black History Month: Judas and The Black Messiah Sundance Review

The real life story of Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, and what happens when an FBI informant (Lakeith Stanfield) is sent to infiltrate the Party. (Streaming on HBO Max)

Just Mercy

Based on Bryan Stevenson’s autobiography “Just Mercy,” this up-close and personal tale tells the story of a man (Michael B. Jordan) who, in the face of injustice, relentlessly fights to save the life of a wrongly-convicted man (Jamie Foxx) on death row. (Streaming on HBO Max)

Us

Jordan Peele’s horror-thriller about the human-like Tethered, who are seeking world domination starting with eliminating one vacationing family, features a killer soundtrack, action-packed sequences and equal parts levity and jump scares. (Streaming on HBO Max)




On the Record

Featuring record producer Drew Dixon, this poignant documentary examines the sexual assault allegations against hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and centers Black women’s often-ignored experiences with misogynoir. (Streaming on HBO Max)

The Photograph

Set in New York City and New Orleans, this Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield-starring Valentine’s Day flick is emotional and magnetic, perfect to watch with your significant other or long over the relationship depicted on screen. (Streaming on HBO Max)




Black is King

A visual companion album to “The Lion King: The Gift,” Beyonce’s striking celebration of African tradition and Black beauty reimagines Simba’s coming-of-age story as an allegory of the African diaspora. (Streaming on Disney +)

Soul

Black History Month

Related Read to Black History Month: Soul Review: Pixar’s Latest Is A Gorgeous Meditation On Living And Dying

Pixar’s latest tour de force follows the life of a Black man named Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) who comes close to the face of death and discovers how to live every day to the fullest. (Streaming on Disney +)

The Proud Family Movie

Watch the grand finale of the original series, which sees the Prouds come head-to-head with a come-to-life cashew army and mad scientist Dr. Carver, who tries to steal Oscar’s secret Proud Snack formula. (Streaming on Disney +)




Black Panther

Some would argue this is the best Marvel movie made to date. Remember the late Chadwick Boseman as the titular Black Panther, ruler of Wakanda, a thriving African kingdom untouched by colonialism. One of the powers of big-screen Marvel superhero Black Panther is his suit’s ability to soak up the punishment from any attack — and then fire it right back at the attacker. (Streaming on Disney +)

Cinderella (1997)

This fan-favorite take on the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic features Brandy as Cinderella aided by Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother, supported by an all-star cast that includes Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, Victor Garber and Jason Alexander. (Streaming on Disney +)




Credit Source: Variety

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