Features

Documentaries, TV Shows, and Films Appropriate for “All Year-Long” Black History Month

BY Dora Dzaka February 26, 2024 5:17 PM EDT
Photo Source: pluggedin.com

Black History Month is a celebration rather than just an annual event as it is a time when people celebrate the accomplishments and legacies of black leaders, intellectuals, and trailblazers who paved the way for later generations.

To mark the occasion, streaming services, cable networks, and broadcast networks normally put together a lineup of films, TV series, specials, and documentaries that highlight black experiences.

Netflix has a black-inspired collection, which includes over 50 films about racial injustice and the experiences of Black Americans. This is a great place to start your education or celebrate events like Juneteenth and Black History Month, and these collections are accessible all year long.

Other new releases underway, include Donald Glover’s eagerly awaited Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which co-stars Maya Erskine and debuts on Prime Video.

The second season of Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur debut on Disney+. Hulu will host the premieres of the original documentaries The Space Race and Sacred Soil: The Piney Woods School Story, while National Geographic, Disney+, and Hulu will all release Genius: MLK/X at the same time. 

Netflix does offer some highly entertaining content, though, including the Grammy-winning films Homecoming by Beyoncé, Oscar Rustin, American Symphony, and Dolemite is My Name, which is a nominee for a Golden Globe. The Last Dance, Kevin Hart & Chris Rock: Headliners Only, and Oscar nominee 13th are just a few of the incredible documentaries.

Check out these black-themed films that would make excellent additions to any year-round Black History Month celebration.

Bessie (2015)

Bessie Smith dubbed the “Empress of the Blues,” was a highly regarded Blues vocalist who rose to fame in the 1920s and 1930s. The voice and narrative of the well-known singer are brought to life in this Emmy Award-winning HBO TV movie by Queen Latifah. 

Hidden Figures (2016)

The amazing true story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson—three black women who worked at NASA—is told in the film Hidden Figures. Their mathematical calculations were crucial to the Space Race and the Friendship 7 mission, which launched astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The film was selected as one of the top ten films of 2016 by the National Board of Review, and it also won a Screen Actors Guild Award. 

Black Art: In the Absence of Light (2021)

This film explores black art from the perspective of two centuries and features the creations of several black American artists, such as Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, Betye Saar, Carrie Mae Weems, and Faith Ringgold. The movie draws inspiration from “Two Centuries of Black American Art,” which was the first significant exhibition to honor black artists whose contributions to American art had previously gone unacknowledged making it a good pick for Black History Month.

The Banker (2019)

In The Banker, Matt Steiner, a white man posing as the company’s face, assists two black businessmen named Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris in creating a real estate empire. The three men set out to buy a local bank in Texas after successfully desegregating several Los Angeles neighborhoods by selling homes to black families. This movie, which stars Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Nia Long, is based on actual events that happened in the 1950s and 1960s and is watched during Black History Month.