16 Amazing Black History Month Movies to Help You Appreciate Your Heritage

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Although Black History is marked in February, African descendants should celebrate black stories, culture, and arts all through the year. You can do this by watching inspiring black movies and documentaries. Continue reading to discover the 16 Black History Month movies that’ll take you back memory lane.  

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Malcolm X (1992)

Malcolm X (1992) Official Trailer. Video Credit: @RottenTomatoesCLASSICTRAILERS

Sometimes styled X, Malcolm X is a 1992 epic drama film about Malcolm X, an African American activist. Co-written and directed by Spike Lee, the movie stars Denzel Washington in the title role as well as Delroy Lindo, Angela Bassett, AI Freshman Jr., and Albert Hall. Lee has a supporting role, while Bobby Seale, Nelson Mandela, and AL Sharpton make a Cameo appearance.

The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

The Tuskegee Airman Trailer 1995. Video Credit: @VideoDetective

Directed by Robert Markowitz, the ‘Tuskegee Airmen‘ is a 1995 HBO movie based on the exploits of the first African American combat pilots in the United States Army Air Corps, who fought in World War II. 

When the black men started training, almost no one in the army wanted them there. Owing to this, they had to prove that they were tougher, stronger, and better files than most white pilots in the army at that time. 

People Also Read: Black Excellence: 10 Interesting Action Black Movies Based on True Stories

4 Little Girls (1997)

4 Little Girls- Kerri Edge film trailer. Video Credit: @aldotcom

4 Little Girls‘ is a 1997 American historical movie about the assassination of four black girls – Cynthia Wesley, Addie May Collins, Carol Denise McNair and Carole Rosamond Robertson. They were murdered in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963. 

Spike Lee directed the movie, while HBO distributed it. ‘4 Little Girls’ received an Award nomination for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. 

The Color of Friendship (2000)

The Color of Friendship – Mahree and Piper Fight. Video Credit: @dcomclips7195

Written and Directed by Paris Qualles and Kevin Hooks, ‘The Color of Friendship‘ is a 2000 film based on actual events about the relationship between two young girls – Mahree & Piper, one from South Africa and the other from apartheid South Africa. Mahree & Piper learned about tolerance and friendship. 

Remember the Titans (2000)

REMEMBER THE TITANS Trailer (2000) Denzel Washington Movie. Video Credit: @classicmovietrailers8101

Remember the Titans‘ is a 2000 American biological sports movie directed by Boaz Yakin and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The movie written by Gregory Allen Howard is loosely about the true story of Herman Boone. 

Denzel Washington played the role of the coach when he tried to integrate the T. C. Williams High School football team in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971. On the other hand, Will Patton played the role of Bill Yoast, Boone’s assistant coach. 

Good Hair (2009)

GOOD HAIR – Official US Theatrical Trailer in HD. Video Credit: @RoadsideFlix

This movie is a 2009 American HBO documentary movie directed and produced by Jeff Stilson and Chris Rock Production respectively. ‘Good Hair‘ centers around how black women have perceived their hair over the years and styled it. 

The movie explores the 21st-century styling industry for African American women, images of what seems perfect and desirable for black women’s hair in the US and their link to African American culture.

Notorious (2009)

Notorious (2009) – Biggie Snaps. Video Credit: @corethrathompson3344

Notorious’ is an American biological drama movie based on the life of The Notorious B.I.G., a Brooklyn-based hip-hop artist. Most of the movie dramatized notable events in Biggie’s life – his criminal lifestyle, arrest, and release from prison. 

Notorious stars Jamal Woolard as Wallace, with Derek Luke, Angela Bassett, and Anthony Mackie in supporting roles. Voletta, Biggie’s mother served as the movie’s producer, alongside Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts, his former managers.

People Also Read: 7 Uplifting and Inspiring Black Movies for When You’re Feeling Low

Freedom Riders (2010)

“Freedom Riders” Trailer. Video Credit: @AmericanExperiencePBS

Produced in 2010, ‘Freedom Riders‘ is an American historical documentary movie. The movie is based in part on the book ‘Freedom Riders’: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. Stanley Nelson directed the movie and it marked the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Ride in May 1961. 

Dark Girls (2011)

Dark Girls (2011) Movie Trailer HD. Video Credit: @RottenTomatoesTRAILERS

This movie documents colorism within the African American community. ‘Dark Girls‘ contains interviews of black women talking about the role colorism has played in their daily lives, with famous African Americans including Viola Davis also speaking about her experiences. 

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 YEARS A SLAVE – Official Trailer (HD). Video Credit: @searchlightpictures

Directed by Steve McQueen, ‘12 Years a Slave‘ is a biographical drama movie. The screenplay is based on the 1853 slave memoir ‘Twelve Years a Slave’ by Solomon Northup, a black man who got kidnapped in Washington DC by two con men and sold into slavery in 1841. Solomon Northup was placed to work on plantations for 12 years before he regained his freedom. 

42 (2013)

42 – Official Trailer 1 [HD]. Video Credit: @WarnerBrosPictures

This is a black biographical sports movie about Jackie Robinson, a former baseball player. He was the first African American athlete to play in the Major League Baseball (MLB) during the modern era. Brian Helgeland wrote and directed ‘42‘. In ‘42’, Chadwick Boseman starred as Robinson. 

Marshall (2017)

Marshall Trailer. Video Credit: @RottenTomatoesTRAILERS

This is a 2017 biographical legal drama movie. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice. The Marshall project was announced in December 2015. Then, in mid-December 2015 principal photography started in Los Angeles and moved on to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York City. This film is among the Black History Month movies that you should watch to mark the celebration.

One Night in Miami 2020

One Night in Miami… | Official Trailer. Video Credit: @PrimeVideo

Directed by Regina King, ‘One Night in Miami’ is a biographical legal drama film. The movie is a fictionalized account of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke’s meeting on February 25, 1964, in a room at the Hampton House.

The Butler 2013

The Butler Official Trailer. Video Credit: @FilmIsNowMovies

This movie is loosely based on Eugene Allen’s real life, who worked in the white house for many years. ‘The Butler’ stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a black who is a witness of notable social and political events of the modern-day during his more than two-year tenure serving as a White House butler.

Fruitvale Station 2013

Fruitvale Station (2013) Official Trailer [HD]. Video Credit: @Roadshow

Ryan Coogler wrote and directed ‘Fruitvale Station’ in 2013. The movie is his feature debut directorial movie. And the storyline is based on the event that led to the death of Oscar Grant, a young guy killed by Johannes Mehserle, a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer. 

Moonlight 2016

Moonlight | Official Trailer HD. Video Credit: @A24

This is a coming-of-age drama movie written by Barry Jenkins. The movie focuses on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. It stars Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, Jharrel Jerome, and André Holland.

Additional Movies to Celebrate Black History Month

Besides the 16 Black History Month movies covered here, you can watch many others to celebrate mark the celebration. These movies include: 

  • ‘Black Panther,’ 
  • ‘Selma’
  •  ‘Hidden Figures’, 
  • ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’
  • ‘Fruitvale Station’

The good thing is that you can easily stream these Black History Month movies on platforms like Amazon, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max, and Netflix.

From ‘Malcolm X’ to ‘42’, the United States of America movie industry has delivered some touching depictions of real Black lives and events. They have documented almost all issues concerning black culture, including the civil rights movement, voting rights and even NASA exploits, and FBI investigative movies.

People Also Read: Here Are 8 Black Romantic Comedy Movies to Fill Up Your Christmas Season

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Uchenna Agwu
Uchenna Agwu
Hi there! I’m Uchenna Agwu, and I love to write. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me reading books or watching documentaries (I’m a bit of a nerd). But I also like to get out and explore – whether that means going on hikes or checking out new restaurants.

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