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7 Netflix Movies to Watch During Black History Month

February 5, 2020 3 min read 12 Comments

As the world keeps evolving into a kaleidoscope cultures, traditions, and people, now seems like the perfect time to start a new feature that highlights various heritage months throughout the year.

From in-depth documentaries to riveting biopics, Netflix has a range of titles that offer compelling takes on our first entry — Black History Month.

Dive into notable historical moments, shed a spotlight on familiar names, or just learn more about those who overcame great oppression as they helped shape and create a rich culture and movements that changed the world.

To get you started on this journey, here are a few titles to add to your library:

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

From being raised in the rural segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas to growing to be one of the most lauded and prolific writers in American history, this documentary gives a sense of the momentous sweep of Maya Angelou’s life.

Mudbound

If you’re a sucker for period dramas then this is a movie to add to your list. Set in the rural American South during World War II, the story follows two families — one black and one white —  as they fail to make ends meet while farming as neighbors in the Mississippi Delta. Despite their similar circumstances, members of the white family hold on to racist beliefs of superiority.

However, when a member of each family returns from the war, the two veterans start a friendship from their shared experience igniting the town as the deeply held racism of the area comes to a head in the Jim Crow South.

13th

This eye-opening documentary takes a look at how the modern American prison system, which incarcerates African American males at an alarmingly disproportionate rate, has been built on a long legacy of discrimination as well as racial injustice. 

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the documentary in its entirety, you’ll understand the correlation between the 13th Amendment, the abolishment of slavery, and the state of incarcerated African-Americans today.

Paris is Burning

A renowned documentary, this 1990’s piece focuses on the gay and transgender communities, comprised of African Americans and Latinos, which made up the mid-to-late 80’s ball culture. While looking at the L.G.B.T. (subculture) existing in the face of intense discrimination, Paris Is Burning offers a glimpse at influential figures as they navigate this time in history. 

You not only get a birds-eye view but also a chance to witness their unwavering strength and support of each other.

Teach us All

This documentary takes a look at how school segregation didn’t truly end with Brown vs. Board of Education examining the ways in which education continues to fail students of color. 

Featuring interviews with students and education professionals, the film is a testament to the importance of — and the ongoing struggle for — equal access to quality education for all.

When They See Us 

Though the story of the Central Park Five has certainly been covered extensively by the media, this documentary follows a more in-depth and holistic view of what happened. Starting from the initial accusation to where they’re at now, When They See Us gives a look at their lives as they fought for exoneration.

Black Earth Rising

Okay so this isn’t a movie but I still think this should be on the list! Recently released on Netflix, the series tells the story of a woman, Kate Ashby, rescued from the Rwandan genocide as a child by human rights lawyer Eve Ashby who adopts and raises her in London.

Kate, seeking to learn more about her past, finds herself in a great deal of turmoil when her relationship with her adopted mother is strained after she (her mother) takes the case of a controversial militia leader. 

What movies would you recommend?

12 Comments

  • Wella February 15, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    I’m definitely bookmarking this! I’ve seen Mudbound and it’s a good movie (although sad) but it teaches us a lot about how racism affects us whatever color skin we have. Definitely interested in When they see us and Maya Angelou. Funny I’ve been looking for movies to watch during my “relaxing time” before bed time and this showed up. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • annaelleliz February 16, 2020 at 1:30 pm

      Aww, that means so much! Mudbound was great, wasn’t it! I definitely cried a bit during it too, but it was such an important movie to watch and just really reminds you about the struggles that were faced during that time!

      Ugh, 10/10 recommend both of those other movies too! If you want a series When They See Us is perfect and keeps you hanging on to the story. The Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise is magnificent especially if you’re a fan of her work!

      So glad you liked the suggestions, I’m always open to hearing other movies picks. Any favorites you have?

  • Angela Campos February 6, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    These are all great picks! I need to see the Maya Angelou movie!!

    • annaelleliz February 6, 2020 at 11:05 pm

      If you love her work, I would 10/10 recommend! It was so inspiring to see how she went from humble beginnings in a segregated town to being so prolific and impactful to so many!

  • Amber S Battishill February 6, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Just added a few more to my list! We are always looking for new movies to watch. When They See Us is one I’ve been dying to watch!

    • annaelleliz February 6, 2020 at 11:03 pm

      Ugh, it was such a good series! It had my mind thinking on so many different levels about really important topics like social injustice. It’s so flawlessly made that you almost feel like you’re there experiencing the same thing just watching it.

  • Ashley R February 6, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    I really like Love and Basketball. A good love story. I’ll check these out! A great list.

    • annaelleliz February 6, 2020 at 10:58 pm

      Oh, haven’t seen that one! I’ll make sure to watch it soon!

  • Marina February 6, 2020 at 6:47 am

    Such a great list of films just added them to my movies list. Thanks for sharing x

    • annaelleliz February 6, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      Yippee! I really loved Mudbound and would recommend it to start off, especially if you’re into period pieces!

  • Heather February 5, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    I can’t believe I haven’t seen any of these! I’m putting them all on my list!

    • annaelleliz February 5, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      So glad! I love adding diversity to my movie lists, plus they were so enlightening to watch!

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