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37 Black History Movies – What to Watch During Black History Month

37 Black History Movies – What to Watch During Black History Month
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1

Malcolm X (1992)

Warner Bros. Pictures

This biopic about the Black Nationalist leader, born Malcolm Little, explores all aspects of the activist’s life, including his life as a petty criminal, his conversion to Islam, and his eventual assassination.

Watch Now on Prime Video

2

The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

the tuskegee airmen
HBO

The Tuskegee Airmen follows the events of African American pilots who, despite opposition due to the color of their skin, went on to become a truly powerful fighter group during World War II.

Watch Now on HBO Max

3

4 Little Girls (1997)

4 little girls
HBO

This documentary tells the heartbreaking story of a deadly church bombing during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 that killed four African-American children: Addie May Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Rosamond Robertson.

Watch Now on HBO Max

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4

The Color of Friendship (2000)

the color of friendship
Disney Channel

This underrated DCOM tells the true story of two teen girls from opposite sides of the world — one living in the United States and the other living in apartheid South Africa — who meet after one American family mistakes a white girl named Mahree for an African exchange student.

Mahree is a fish out of water in America and begins to see the damage her country’s apartheid has on its people and society in general.

Watch Now on Disney+

6

Good Hair (2009)

good hair
Roadside Attractions

Chris Rock co-wrote and stars in this documentary that provides an in-depth look at African-American hairstyles and its relation to what society considers “beautiful.”

Watch Now on Prime Video

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8

Freedom Riders (2010)

freedom riders
Firelight Media; PBS

Not to be confused with the 2007 movie Freedom Writers, this documentary tells the story of the brave people who rode interstate buses into segregated Southern states that ignored the laws passed stating segregated public buses were unconstitutional. The historical event took place in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement.

Watch Now on PBS for free

9

Dark Girls (2011)

dark girls
IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT

Dark Girls is a documentary about the deep-rooted colorism in the Black community — as well as outside it — that surrounds lighter skin versus darker skin.

Watch Now on Prime Video

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10

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 years a slave
Fox Searchlight Pictures

This drama tells the horrifying true story of Solomon Northup, a free-born Black man who is kidnapped from New York and sold into slavery in the South.

Watch Now on HBO Max

11

42 (2013)

42
Warner Bros. Pictures

Baseball player Jackie Robinson made history when he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, becoming the first African-American to play in the MLB. However, not everyone is thrilled about his accomplishment, and Jackie is forced to deal with racism from both audiences and his own teammates. “42” refers to his jersey number.

Watch Now on Prime Video

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14

Get On Up (2014)

get on up
Universal Pictures

Chadwick Boseman plays famous musician James Brown in this biopic that explores his rise from humble beginnings to international fame.

Watch Now on Netflix

15

Selma (2014)

selma
Paramount Pictures

Selma is a historical drama that tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight to acquire equal voting rights for African Americans. The title refers to the town of Selma, Alabama, where the march for equality begins, ending in Montgomery, Alabama, the state’s capital.

Watch Now on Prime Video

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16

3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets (2015)

3 1 2 minutes 10 bullets
HBO Documentary Films

This documentary chronicles the murder of Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old Black high school student who was shot by a white man after playing music too loudly with his friends.

Watch Now on HBO Max

17

A Ballerina’s Tale (2015)

a ballerina's tale
Sundance Selects

A Ballerina’s Tale is a documentary about Misty Copeland, the first African-American woman to hold a main role at the American Ballet Theater.

Watch Now on Prime Video

18

Bessie (2015)

bessie
HBO

Queen Latifah gives a knock-out performance in this biopic of Bessie Smith, a famous blues singer of the 1920s and ’30s.

Watch Now on HBO Max

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19

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

straight outta compton
Universal Pictures

Straight Outta Compton is about rap group NWA’s rise to fame in the 1980s. The group’s music revolutionized the industry and created the mega stars we know today, such as Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.

Watch Now on Prime Video

20

13th (2016)

13th
Courtesy of Netflix

This Netflix documentary explores the prison system in the United States and how racism, slavery, and the United States Consitution all play a part in it.

Watch Now on Netflix

Headshot of Stacey Grant

Stacey Grant is a senior editor at Seventeen who runs the brand’s Snapchat Discover channel. She also covers entertainment topics specializing in nostalgia, such as classic ’90s and ’00s Disney Channel and Nickelodeon content.

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