You’re reading Black History, a Shorthorn series that explores the culture, achievements and legacy of Black Americans.
Black History Month is upon us, and a part of celebrating this month is consuming and appreciating Black art in all its forms.
Here’s a list of recommendations for Black films that celebrate the past, present and future of Black culture.
Malcolm & Marie
This Netflix original film was written and directed by "Euphoria" creator Sam Levinson, and co-stars John David Washington and "Euphoria" lead Zendaya.
In this romantic drama, Washington plays a film director with Zendaya as his partner. After the premiere of his film, the two come to a head in their relationship as secrets and revelations arise.
This film was made over quarantine in the summer of 2020. It is set to release Feb. 5 on Netflix.
If Beale Street Could Talk
This romantic drama was directed and adapted by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins. The film was adapted from James Baldwin’s 1974 novel and stars KiKi Layne, Stephan James and Regina King.
Layne and James play a couple in ’70s Harlem who must fight for their relationship and Layne’s freedom when he is imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. If Beale Street Could Talk is available for streaming on Hulu.
Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield star in this 2020 romantic drama directed by Stella Meghie.
Rae’s character loses her mother, a famous photographer, and then finds a photograph in a safety deposit box before finding herself on a journey into her mother’s early life.
Stanfield plays a rising journalist writing a story about Rae’s character’s mother, and the two become romantically involved. This movie is available for streaming on HBO Max.
Judas and the Black Messiah
This film depicts the lives of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton (played by Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya) and LaKeith Stanfield (William O’Neal), the man who turned him over to the FBI.
This film was directed and written by Shaka King and it is set to be released Feb. 12 in theaters and on HBO Max.
The United States vs. Billie Holiday
This Hulu original is a biopic about the life of jazz singer Billie Holiday. The film depicts her career, being targeted in a drug sting and her relationship with Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher.
Holiday is played by Andra Day and Fletcher is played by Trevante Rhodes. This film was directed by Lee Daniels, who also directed The Butler and Precious, and will be available to stream via Hulu on Feb. 26.
One Night In Miami
Regina King’s directorial debut is a fictional account of the night that icons Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown spent together in Miami, Florida, in the ’60s.
This film stars Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr., and is an Amazon Original available now.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
This Netflix Original biopic stars Viola Davis, and was the late Chadwick Boseman’s final performance.
The film explores the life of blues legend Ma Rainey and her battles with her band against white management that tried to box her in. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is available now on Netflix.